Downtown Milford in 2010
|Motto(s): "Small town living with room to grow"|
Location of Milford, Texas
|• Total||2.47 sq mi (6.39 km2)|
|• Land||2.46 sq mi (6.38 km2)|
|• Water||0.008 sq mi (0.02 km2)|
|Elevation||617 ft (188 m)|
|• Density||296/sq mi (114.2/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||1341604|
The town is located 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Hillsboro and 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Waxahachie. The community received media attention due to a Chevron gas pipeline explosion and resulting town evacuation which occurred in 2013.
Settlement and early history
Milford dates back to the 1850s, when several men from Cherokee County came to the Mill Creek valley and bought land at 50 cents an acre from Ellis County landowner Arvin Wright. Milford was named by William R. Hudson after the factory town of Milford, Massachusetts. During 1853 the first house, a combined residence and general store belonging to William R. Hudson, was built, along with a two-story schoolhouse which served as church and community hall until it burned during the Civil War. In 1854 Wright, Hudson, and J.M. Higgins laid out town lots atop a ridge. In 1857, a gristmill began operation at the community. Milford was incorporated in 1888, with W.R. McDaniel serving as the first mayor. In 1890, the tracks of the Dallas and Waco Railway (later acquired by the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad) reached the community, which became an important shipping point for area cotton farmers.
By 1892 Milford had grown to a population of 800, and had three churches, a bank, a hotel, two cotton gins, and approximately two dozen other businesses, as well as a weekly newspaper. There were now two schools in Milford, Mollie Poe's private Lone Star Institute and the community-financed Milford Academy. In 1902 the Presbyterian Synod of Texas accepted the town's offer to open the Texas Presbyterian College for Girls in Milford, and by 1925 the Dallas-Waco electric interurban railway had reached the town. The town continued to flourish, with the population soaring to 1,200 by 1929, but the population saw a slow decline due to the Great Depression, and the Presbyterian college closed due to lagging enrollment. By 1931 the population of Milford was 747, and would continue to decline as the population reached a low of 490 in 1968. The town would grow once again, and by 1990 the population was back up to 711, before dropping to 685 in 2000.
2013 gas pipeline explosion
Explosion and fire
Just after 8:30AM CDT on November 14, 2013, an explosion and resulting fire occurred near the intersection of U.S. 77 and FM 308 when a Chevron Corporation liquefied petroleum gas pipeline was punctured by a Chevron drilling crew. The five man crew abandoned the rig and escaped the explosion unharmed.
Due to concerns about harmful air quality conditions due to the burning pipeline, and the proximity of the fire to another larger gas line, the entire town of approximately 700 residents was forced to evacuate, including Milford ISD staff and students, to the nearby town of Italy as a 1.5-mile (2.4 km) evacuation zone was established.
While some residents were permitted to return to the town temporarily under police escort, the town remained evacuated through November 16 as the pipeline continued to burn. The fire also caused the postponement of a six-man football playoff game scheduled for November 15 as the players could not retrieve their gear.
The company issued several statements through their website expressing their sincere regret to people impacted by this event which included a toll-free claims hotline which residents affected by the incident could call. The company also provided overnight accommodations at local hotels for residents due to conditions not allowing them to return home.
As of the census of 2000, there were 685 people, 260 households, and 169 families residing in the town. The population density was 374.6 people per square mile (144.5/km²). There were 311 housing units at an average density of 170.1 per square mile (65.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 62.63% White, 27.88% African American, 0.58% Native American, 0.88% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 4.53% from other races, and 3.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.99% of the population.
There were 260 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.8% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $23,500, and the median income for a family was $35,625. Males had a median income of $30,625 versus $24,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,241. About 16.0% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.4% of those under age 18 and 23.7% of those age 65 or over.
From 1902-1929, the town was home to the Texas Presbyterian College for Girls. Milford gave the school 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land and $25,000 to assist in its founding. It was later expanded to 40 acres (16 ha) before closing in 1929 and merging with Austin College in Sherman, Texas.
In pop culture
Milford is the setting of the 2015 sci-fi, action comedy film Lazer Team. This movie was the first feature-length film ever created by a company founded, and located in Texas called Rooster Teeth. The movie was entirely crowd funded and was given a PG-13 rating. In this movie, the Milford High School mascot is the Mustangs rather than the Bulldogs. And the school colors are red and white rather than the blue, gray and white.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Milford town, Texas". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
- David Minor: Milford, TX from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved January 08, 2014.
- Evacuations in Milford After Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion CBSDFW.COM, 2013-11-14. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- Residents Briefly Allowed Back Into Evacuated Central Texas Town KWTX, 2013-11-15. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
- Chevron Texas Pipeline Incident Statements Archived 2014-02-02 at the Wayback Machine. Chevron.com, 2014-1-24. Retrieved 2014-1-25
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.