"Most people who are living here don't know that Milford was actually founded in 1787, which goes all the way back to the Constitution,” Kenton said. “We're an old river town and we have a tremendous amount of history."
David Kenton is taking a trip down memory lane. He’ll lead a May 13 walking tour of the city to explore the northern part of town along the Mispillion.
“Most people who are living here don’t know that Milford was actually founded in 1787, which goes all the way back to the Constitution,” Kenton said. “We’re an old river town and we have a tremendous amount of history.
“We’re trying to get people actively involved in the history of Milford. We wanted to make an annual event and advertise it so more people could jump on.”
The Mispillion riverside is the site of Milford’s first main street, along NW Front Street with early merchant homes. It’s also the birthplace of Walnut Street — the business epicenter of Milford.
A second tour June 10 will explore the southern half of the riverfront.
This will give residents an opportunity to explore the Causey Mansion, where Peter F. Causey, a merchant and governor of Delaware from 1855 to 1859, lived. This part of the Mispillion was home to the original Milford ballpark and lumber yards.
A history lesson
When Kenton graduated from the University of Virginia in 1980 he felt he’d returned to an uninformed city.
He thought joining the Milford Historical Society would quench his thirst for knowledge — it did not.
“I kept asking a lot of the old timers where this was and where that was and what happened on the Mispillion River,” he said. “A lot of the questions didn’t get answered, so I did my own research.”
Over the years he’s made a name for himself as the resident expert. Eventually, people started asking him the same questions he had asked 30 years ago.
This gave him the idea to host the historic tours.
Participating in the tour isn’t just about increasing a knowledge of the city, he said. He thinks all Milford residents should have a basic understanding of the city’s past so they can pass on the message to would-be residents.
“There are a lot of people who drive by the [Causey Mansion] that don’t know their history,” he said. “That’s where I come in.
“If you’re going to live in a town you got to feel some ownership,” he said. “You have to be able to tell your friends what you know about it, and if you don’t know anything about the town then you just only live here.”
Kenton said he never gets tired of visiting the historic parts of town.
“Getting to walk in the Parson Thorne Mansion where some of the earliest Milford founders lived is really quite exciting. We have the key to get in there and I think everyone is going to enjoy it.”