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A Brief History of the Town of Milan
Incorporated March 31, 1818
The Town of Milan is a rural community located at the northern edge of Dutchess County. It is a strong and independent community of 2,453* residents occupying an area of 36 square miles (approx. 23,000 acres).
The community is conveniently located near to the Taconic State Parkway, providing easy vehicle access to NY State’s Capital in Albany and the world’s center of commerce and finance New York City.
Milan’s history, like much of Northern Dutchess, is based on agriculture. There are few commercial or industrial enterprises in the town, however, there is a growing base of professional and home based businesses.
The hamlets of Lafayetteville and Rock City, (Jackson Corners was formerly a defined hamlet) are not heavily developed and preserve a piece of Milan’s historical character. Milan continues to be an attractive community with small town character because of its strong zoning and planning guidelines.
Formally incorporated as a township in 1818 from Northeast and comprised the western tract of land originally owned by the Little Nine Partners Patent. As the town grew in the nineteenth century a number of hamlets developed; they were located in various parts of the town and included Rock City and Lafayetteville (named above) Milanville, Jackson Corners, Shookville, Thorndale, Enterprise and Maplehurst. Most hamlets had a general store; blacksmith and some had a post office, gristmill, sawmill and schoolhouse. Some of the schoolhouses and hamlet business buildings survive today as residences. (See historic map).
The Milan Town Hall, perhaps the most attractive Greek revival structure used as a public building in Dutchess County, is located on a bluff just off NY Route 199 with breathtaking views of the rolling countryside. The original land and building were the gift of Mrs. Irene Kilmer Wilcox in 1966.
Population (US Census Data)
Milan had a peak in population in 1840 which then declined steadily until 1930 because of migration to the US west and to industrial cities and river towns. The 1840 population level was not seen again until the 1980’s. Between 1990 and 2000 Milan had the second-fastest growth-rate in Dutchess County -24%.
1840 = 1,725 population
1930 = 622
1990 = 1,895
2000 = 2,356
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