Milford Community Page

Milford Community Page





  • The Kent County side of Milford was first settled in 1680 by Henry Bowan on what was known as the Saw Mill Range.


  • A century later the Reverend Sydenham Thorne built a dam across the Mispillion River to generate power for his gristmill and sawmill. 


  • Around the same time, Joseph Oliver laid out the first city streets and plots nearby on a part of his plantation.


  • Soon a number of homes and businesses appeared along Front Street and Milford was born. The city was incorporated February 5, 1807.


  • In the 1770s, a ship building industry was already flourishing on the Mispillion River. Shipbuilding continued to be the major industry of Milford through World War I, bringing considerable prosperity to the town. 


  • During much of the twentieth century Milford served primarily as the commercial center for much of southern Delaware's large agricultural community.


Milford is known as the Gateway to Southern Delaware. Located at the intersection of U.S. 113 and Route 1, it is midway between the state capital, Dover, and the Atlantic beach communities of lower Delaware—Lewes,
Rehoboth, Dewey and Bethany Beaches.  

With a 2010 population of  9559, Milford is the sixth largest city in Delaware. Approximately 20,000 people live within a 5-mile radius of Milford.

Downtown Milford’s crown jewel is the Mispillion Riverwalk, a greenway space designed to preserve the town’s waterfront. Along this walk were once located seven shipyards that produced over 600 wooden sailing ships between 1680 and 1927.

Most of the Downtown Milford’s businesses and organizations such as the city hall, librarymuseum, and senior center are located along or just a short distance from the River Walk.

The area surrounding Milford boasts pastoral beauty and abundant recreational resources. Nearby is Abbott’s Mill Nature Center, which offers environmental education programs and outdoor activities. The Mill itself is one of the few surviving water-powered mills. Walking trails, swimming and other recreational facilities are found in Killen’s Pond State Park. Plus the beaches of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic are just a short drive away.

During much of the twentieth century Milford’s downtown served as the commercial center of a large agricultural community.  But in recent years most retail outlets and business have located outside the downtown area. Today Milford’s historic downtown is finding a new role as the center of community life.