Milford native recalls life growing up in old Milford

Jul. 20—Anna Moenning is one of two people left in Milford who lived in Milford before the town moved to its current location. She was in her late 20s when the community moved to its current location due to the construction of the Milford Lake dam and still has some memories of growing up and living in old Milford. She has spent her entire life in Milford in one incarnation or another.

She was born in 1936 and while she said she doesn't have any particular spectacular memories, but she does remember some things about what life was like when she was young.

Moenning was an only child.

"I didn't know I was an only child, because cousins were always close by," she said.

Moenning remembers spending time with her friends downtown in old Milford.

They used to walk downtown to Main Street, she recalls.

"There was a sign over the old grocery store," Moenning said. "All the kids would go by and jump — see if they could hit that sign. Which, there (were) apartments upstairs and I think (residents) didn't appreciate it. But nothing special — just growing up."

There was a general store on the corner that sold a little bit of everything and down the street from there was a lumber yard, a "beer joint," a meat locker and the Milford Post Office.

"There wasn't much going on," she said. "Just walked downtown to see what other kids (were) there."

Saturday nights were big nights in old Milford, when they would show movies in the park.

Moenning enjoyed that.

She said she enjoyed reading comic books and magazines about movie stars who were popular when she was a child.

Moenning said one of her favorite things to watch growing up was Little Rascals.

In her life, Moenning has lived in three houses in the Milford area, she said.

"The one I was born in was right across from the grade school," she said. "They've torn it down."

Moenning attended school there, graduating from Milford High School which no longer exists.

The town moved due to concerns about flooding and due to the construction of the Milford Lake dam in 1964, when Moenning was 28. Moenning, who has five children, was pregnant with her third child when it was decided that Milford would move to its current location. She doesn't recall exactly how she felt about the town moving but imagines she most likely "didn't like it at the time."

Old Milford was to the south of its current location. When the dam was built, the town was scooted over to avoid flooding problems. Where Flagstop Resort is now located used to be part of old Milford.

"Where old Milford was at is not covered with water, but it's close," she said.

She's content where she is right now. Milford is "the only thing I've ever known," she said.

The community has changed over the years.

"Milford is not like it used to be," she said. "It used to be you knew everything about everybody and all of their business, but it's not like that anymore."

The people have changed, with many residents moving away.

"When I was a kid, the Johnston family was a big family and now there's just a few left," she said.

Her own children — all but one daughter — have moved away as well, though they're still in contact.

One other resident of old Milford is still living in present-day Milford, Gary Shandy. Shandy has not yet responded to attempts to contact him for an interview.