Milford, Delaware

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Milford is a city in Kent and Sussex counties in the U.S. state of Delaware. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 7,201.[1]

The Kent County portion of Milford is part of the Dover Metropolitan Statistical Area, while the Sussex County portion is part of the Seaford Micropolitan Statistical Area.



Milford is located at 38°54′46″N 75°25′46″W / 38.91278°N 75.42944°W / 38.91278; -75.42944 (38.912840, -75.429327),[2] along the Mispillion River.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.6 square miles (14.6 km²), of which, 5.6 square miles (14.4 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.07%) is water.


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. The high point came in 1917 when the four-masted, 174-foot (53 m) long Albert F. Paul was launched from the William G. Abbott shipyard. At one point six shipyards were operating in the downtown area. When the last of the area’s giant white oaks was cut in the 1920s, the shipyards quickly went out of business, although the Mispillion ships sailed on for many years. (The Paul was sunk by a German torpedo in 1942 while sailing from the Bahamas.) The Vineyard shipyard was called into service in both World War I and II to build submarine chasers.

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