Milford is an incorporated rural community located in North Central Texas, in the southwestern corner of Ellis County, Texas, in the United States. The population was 728 in 2010.
Milford is on US Highway 77 and Interstate 35 East, and is located approximately 14 miles (22 km) North East of Hillsboro, Texas and 20 miles (32 km) South South-West ofWaxahachie, Texas. The community is best known of due to the Chevron gas pipeline explosion which occurred in 2013.
Downtown Milford in 2010
Location of Milford, Texas
|Coordinates: 32°7′22″N 96°56′48″W|
Settlement dates back to the 1850s when several men from Cherokee county came to the Mill Creek Vally where they bought land at 50 cents an acre from Ellis county landowner Arvin Wright. Milford was named by William R. Hudson after a factory town he read about in Boston.
Several men came to Mill Vally in 1853 from Cherokee County and bought land from Ellis County landowner Arvin Wright at 50 cents an acre, and the landowners arrived with their families the same year. 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 become incorporated in 1888, with W.R. McDaniel serving as the first mayor and two years later the tracks of Dallas and Waco Railway reached the community, which became an important shipping point for area cotton farmers.
In 1854 Wright, William R. Hudson, and J. M. Higgins laid out town lots atop a ridge just south of the creek, and Hudson named the new community Milford, after a factory town near Boston he had read about. In 1853 the first house, Hudson's combined residence and general store, was built; Hudson was also the first postmaster when a post office was granted the next year. A two-story stone schoolhouse built in 1853 also served as a church and community hall until it was burned during the Civil War. A gristmill began operation at the community in 1857. Milford incorporated in 1888, and W. R. McDaniel was the first mayor. Two years later the tracks of the Dallas and Waco Railway reached the community of 150 and established Milford as an important shipping point for area cotton farmers.
By 1892 Milford had grown to a population of 800, and now had three churches, a bank, a hotel, two cotton gins, and approximately two dozen other businesses, as well as a weekly newspaper (the Courier). There were now two schools in Milford which were Mollie Poe's private Lone Star Institute and the community-finance Milford Academy. In 1902 the Presbyterian Synod of Texas accepted the town's offer to open the Texas Presbyterian College for women in Milford, and by 1925 the Dallas-Waco electric interurban rail line 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.
Just after 8:30AM CDT on November 14, 2013, an explosion and resulting fire occurred near the intersection of Highway 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, Texas as a 1.5 mile 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 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.