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  • Matt Wright

A Little History About Milton, DE

During the Christmas season, farmers in Milton prune their trees and send the holly to urban artisans, who turn the branches into festive red and green for seasonal decoration. Milton became known as the holly capital of the world '' for producing more Christmas wreaths and decorations than any other place in history. Residents and the local Historical Society have sought to keep Milton's history well documented and its artifacts and architecture protected through efforts to preserve historic buildings. [Sources: 0, 9]

In the 17th century, Milton, Delaware (population 1819) was a small settlement on the upper reaches of the Broadkill River. It was known for shipbuilding and was home to many small entrepreneurs and craftsmen. In the 19th century, the city was known not only for its shipbuilding, but also as a center of cultural and political influence. It has produced four governors of Delaware and one governor of Wyoming. [Sources: 0, 3]

Like the rest of Delaware, the city of Milton had many Confederate sympathizers. The population of the area was settled by the English colonists in 1675, who founded the Head of the Broadkill in 1763 at the mouth of the Broadkill River into the Delaware Bay. The town was known as "Milton" and was renamed in 1807 by the Delaware legislature to honor English poet John Milton. [Sources: 0, 4]

For the first two hundred years of Milton's life, the city center was the site of the community's commercial activities. With a population of 1657, the picturesque Victorian shipbuilding village of Milton was a thriving community of small businesses and restored historic houses. The center was located on the upper reaches of the Broadkill River, which flowed into Delaware Bay, and the city was a pleasant tourist destination. [Sources: 1, 13]

Milton is located on the Broadkill River, which flows into the Delaware Bay. The National Historic District comprises 188 buildings and is located in the central business district and surrounding residential area of Milton. According to the United States Census Bureau, Milton has a total area of 3.1 km2, 2.8 km2 of land and 0.26 km2 of water. [Sources: 5, 6]

Downtown is divided by the Broadkill River and contains several historic buildings and the Grand Ole Milton Theater which hosts many live events throughout the year. The area is also home to the original location of Kings Ice Cream, the Lydia Black Cannon Museum and Milton Public Library. Milton serves locals and summer vacationers in the Milton-Broadkill Beach and Prime Hook Beach area with family businesses and new offices and shopping complexes. [Sources: 2, 6]

Several local businesses in the Milton, Broadkill Beach and Prime Hook Beach areas are served by Delaware Coast Line Railway which runs a branch from Milton to Ellendale. These areas are also served by Delmarva Central Railroad, which also operates the branch. A footpath known as Governors Walk follows the Broadkill River in central Milton. [Sources: 4, 6]

Paynter Morris built old wooden rowing boats for residents and donated them to the Donovan family in the 1950s for use at Milton's Wagamom Pond. Built in 1897, the museum building of the Milton Historical Societies served as a Methodist church until 1950, when the family received their beautiful new boat. [Sources: 7]

Today, the Milton Historic District is known for its four stately gubernatorial houses, each occupied by a man who, in one case or another, was governor of Delaware or Wyoming. Milton is located 7 miles from Delaware Bay and is one of the small old Delaware towns that flourished in the 19th century through shipbuilding and shipping. [Sources: 13]

At the same time, Milton residents are working to revitalize the city center in accordance with the principles of the National Main Street Program. On Tuesday evening, a Milton man shared his impressions of the city and told the history of the cities in the past in front of 70 people at the Milton Public Library, showing about 50 historical photos and presentations. Along the way he told stories about the origins of the building, which now houses the Irish Eye, the Milton Historical Society and the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. [Sources: 11, 13]

In the 1970s, the Milton Historical Society's museum building was home to the organization. Church officials said the only Methodist church in the area, Grace Church, which was one of only two Methodist churches in downtown Milton when it was built in 1857, had to give up and move to Union Street to become a non-denominational church as it had been for over 40 years. As more and more houses appeared and Milton's population grew, a Milton man wanted to make sure his new neighbors knew about the history of the city and what it was all about. [Sources: 7, 11]

Milton is a town in Sussex County, Delaware, USA, on the Delmarva Peninsula. It was the birthplace of five governors, a city that divided loyalties during the Civil War, home to many officers who participated in the famous 1812 war, and with rich agricultural and political facts and figures, it is a fascinating area for research. This page is updated several times a day by Milton, Delaware MLS, with Milton Home listings. [Sources: 2, 6, 12]

Milton's commercial land-use pattern was shaped by Broadkill Railroad and Queen Anne's Railway ships and is now influenced by the arterial roads, the new division of labor in the historic city center and the more highway-oriented use of Route 16. Farming has always been an important part of Milton's history, with fresh fruit and vegetables bought every day in the summer by local gardeners and farmers on the streets. [Sources: 9, 13]

If you are considering buying a home in the Milton area please consider hiring me as your agent. I will make the buying process go as smooth as possible while always doing my best to address any questions and concerns that you may have.

-Matt Wright

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