Who We Are – Steeped in Milford History

Carriage Green resident played key role in protecting city’s historic homes

Senior woman posing for photo

Near the center of Milford, Connecticut, is a large Victorian with fourteen rooms and a handful of apartment units in attached outbuildings behind.

Until early this year the quiet queen of the manor was Carol Molloy Smith, a lifelong Milford resident and a force to be reckoned with. She raised 5 children in that house and boasts 11 grandchildren (to whom she’s known as Nee Nee).

She wasn’t expecting to sell the house just yet—but someone was very interested, and the time was right. For a while already she’d been eyeing the assisted living apartments at Carriage Green…and so in the nature of history, the baton was passed, and a new era began.

Local Legend
Little did she know—while wading through the paperwork of selling her historic house—far across town the Junior Woman’s Club was preparing to present her with the Milford Living Treasure Award for her decades of local impact and community service.  Humbled and awed, she accepted the award in front of all her grandchildren (and one great-grandchild) and basked in the warmth of community and fellowship.

For Carol the most important thing is keeping family together—however big it may get—and that starts around the supper table.  “It’s not the big things—it’s what you do every day,” she says. But despite her modesty, behind the scenes she’s been known to achieve some rather big things.

In the mid 1960s, she became president of the Jaycee Wives, organizing art fairs and book fairs for the town’s children, reading groups for the schools, an art display behind the veterans’ hall, and helping build a new library. As part of her personal commitment to her community, she would also  bring her kids to volunteer in order to show them the importance of serving the community and sharing their gifts.

During that time, she attended night school for paralegal studies. Once her kids were off to school, she took a job as a paralegal and worked her way up to administrative manager for a law office in New Haven, running the business for 27 lawyers. Twenty-five years later,  it was time to retire and refocus her efforts on the community.

In 1993, Carol received her bachelor’s degree after again committing herself to night classes after her busy days.

Behind The Scenes
Twenty years ago, in a multi-year effort, she helped raised the required votes from Milford residents to preserve two-thirds of the historic homes in the area between Milford Green and the harbor where some of Connecticut’s first European settlers built their homes.

This wasn’t her first grassroots success. Carol was active in mobilizing a parents’ group to build a new grammar school in Milford Center and established a parents’ group to support the high school’s sports program.  Additionally, her husband and her son both served as state senators — winning elections Carol helped organize.

Even now, Carol is busy transitioning her leadership role and cementing her legacy within the Historic District Commission, which she’s chaired for almost 20 years since organizing and founding Milford’s Historic District No. 2 (aka South of the Green).  The district’s goal is to protect dozens of 18th century homes and other historic landmarks from the greedy clutches of commercial development.

The Next Act
Passive entertainment isn’t Carol Molloy Smith’s thing, even in retirement. She prefers interacting with neighbors, but  she dabbles in painting during quiet moments.

One of the things she appreciates is the stimulating calendar of activities at Carriage Green. “Toniann is the activities director and she’s fabulous. The staff go out of their way for residents.”

“It’s a beautiful facility,” she says. “There’s not another one like it here.”

But she’s still looking for a satisfying (and challenging) Bridge group. Know someone who might be up to the challenge?

Colonial style home

One of the historic homes in Milford’s Historic District No. 2, aka South of the Green.

Carriage Green at Milford