Milan, New York

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Milan (pronounced /ˈmaɪlən/)[1] is a town in Dutchess County, New York, United States. The Town of Milan is in the northern part of the county.



The area that comprises Milan today was the western part of the Little Nine Partners Patent of 1706. The area was first settled around 1760 when Johannes Rowe, the son of a Palatine immigrant, bought 911 acres (3.69 km2) from Robert Livingston. He built a stone house around 1766 which remained just under 200 years and is now gone (see photo to right and external links).

Milan was established from part of the Town of North East on March 6 (sometimes shown as March 10) 1818. The session laws stated that the first town meeting would be held the first Tuesday of April and was at the home of Stephen Thorne who was elected Town Supervisor along with John F. Bartlett, Town Clerk.

Milan was largely a farming and mill town giving birth to its name today[citation needed]. Known by many as the "Mill Lands" for its rolling farmland and numerous gristmills. The main thoroughfare for the community ran from the Hudson River to Salisbury, CT. and travelers referred to the road as the "turnpike" it later became recognized as the Salisbury Turnpike and sections of the road still exist today and bear that name.

The early population peaked in 1840 at 1,745 residents and went into decline until 1930 with only 622 residents. It was the influence of the railroad and the move to river cities and the west that caused the decline. Also, Milan's soil was hilly and rocky and tough to farm. During the Great Depression, these poor farming conditions led to instances of starvation and disease in the town. The town was quarantined for six months in 1934 due to an outbreak of smallpox, which was exacerbated by the difficulty of a small community in obtaining the vaccine during this period. Then following the 1930s the population grew again, due in part to the construction of the Taconic Parkway which ended in Milan at the time, and then the post World War II boom. The 1840 population level was reached again in 1980, some 140 years later.

From the 1980s to the turn of the new century population has had moderate growth.

Sources: US Federal Census Records; "History of Dutchess County New York," James H. Smith, 1882, D. Mason & Co. publisher; "History of Little Nine Partners," Isaac Huntting, 1897.

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