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Milton, Delaware
House in Milton Historic District
House in Milton Historic District
Location of Milton in Sussex County, Delaware.
Location of Milton in Sussex County, Delaware.
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Coordinates: 38°46′39″N 75°18′36″W / 38.77750°N 75.31000°W / 38.77750; -75.31000Coordinates: 38°46′39″N 75°18′36″W / 38.77750°N 75.31000°W / 38.77750; -75.31000
Country  United States
State  Delaware
County Sussex
Founded 1763
Incorporated March 17, 1865
 • Total 1.89 sq mi (4.89 km2)
 • Land 1.79 sq mi (4.63 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
10 ft (3 m)
 • Total 3,291
 • Density 1,842.67/sq mi (711.35/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 302
FIPS code 10-48330
GNIS feature ID 214325

Milton is a town in Sussex County, Delaware, United States, on the Delmarva Peninsula. It is located on the Broadkill River, which empties into Delaware Bay. The population was 2,576 at the 2010 census, an increase of 55.5% over the previous decade.

It is part of the rapidly growing Cape Region and lies within the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area. Delaware Route 5 passes through Milton.


Located at the head of the Broadkill River, which enters Delaware Bay, Milton was first settled in 1672 by English colonists. It became important for shipbuilding. The town was known by various names until 1807, when it was named for the English poet, John Milton. The Delaware General Assembly passed a charter in 1945 that recognized the Town of Milton as a municipality.

Milton Public Library
The Sussex County Library, in Milton, is located on Union Street.

History and Milton's shipbuilding heritage remain very important to the town, which is home to some of the finest Victorian and Colonial architecture in Delaware. Many of the homes have been restored to their original form, particularly those on Union and Federal streets.

Milton has 198 contributing structures listed within its Federal Register Historic District. Significant buildings and sites are the Lydia Black Cannon Museum, the Governor James Carey home, the Chestnut Street Cemetery, and the Governor David Hazzard Mansion. The Hazzard House and Gov. James Ponder House were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The Milton Historic District was added in 1982.

Milton serves local residents and summer tourists in the Milton, Broadkill Beach and Primehook Beach areas with family-operated businesses and new office and shopping complexes. Several local businesses in the area are served by the Delaware Coast Line Railway, which operates a branch that extends to Milton from Ellendale. Recreational opportunities abound with the Broadkill River, Wagamon's Pond, Diamond Pond and Lavinia Pond. Public boat docks and fishing piers are also available. It is within an easy drive to the coastal resorts of Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

A footpath known as the Governors Walk follows the Broadkill River in central Milton. The Nature Conservancy established a preserve along the river downstream of Milton in 1998. As of 2005, an annual canoe and kayak race was being held on the river in Milton. The river passes through and feeds Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge to the east before entering Delaware Bay.

Independence Seaport Museum 151
Thomas Winsmore, 1890 schooner built in Milton

Milton is the home of the Dogfish Head Brewery, a well-known East Coast beer-maker.


Milton is located along the Broadkill River.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which, 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (8.62%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 780
1870 824 5.6%
1880 1,026 24.5%
1890 1,074 4.7%
1900 948 −11.7%
1910 1,038 9.5%
1920 898 −13.5%
1930 1,130 25.8%
1940 1,198 6.0%
1950 1,321 10.3%
1960 1,617 22.4%
1970 1,490 −7.9%
1980 1,359 −8.8%
1990 1,417 4.3%
2000 1,657 16.9%
2010 2,576 55.5%
2020 3,291 27.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,657 people, 700 households, and 438 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,568.5 people per square mile (603.6/km2). There were 804 housing units at an average density of 761.1 per square mile (292.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 67.11% White, 24.32% Black, 0.24% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 6.04% from other races, and 1.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.93% of the population.

There were 700 households, out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 20.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.6% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $32,368, and the median income for a family was $40,313. Males had a median income of $26,065 versus $23,269 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,016. About 12.8% of families and 18.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those age 65 or over.



It is in the Cape Henlopen School District. The Milton School District was consolidated into the Cape Henlopen district in 1969.

Two elementary schools, Milton Elementary School and H. O. Brittingham Elementary School, serve sections of Milton.

Cape Henlopen High School is the sole comprehensive high school of the district.

Notable people

  • Joseph M. Carey, Governor of Wyoming from 1911 to 1915.
  • David Hazzard (1781-1864), politician, Delaware Governor.
  • Robert G. Houston, publisher, lawyer, politician.
  • James Ponder (1819-1897), politician, Delaware Governor.
  • Bryan Stevenson, lawyer, activist, author, law professor; founder and executive director of Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Jimmie Allen, country singer

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