A Northumberland County Treasure
The story of Milton revolves around its industrial heritage and the people who have met the challenge of keeping the historic town moving forward. The narrative is preserved in the diverse architectural styles of its Front Street homes and post office, its Historic Downtown Walking Tour, and its public library at Rose Hill. Facade murals bring history to life, and buildings that survived fire and flood have been refurbished to house modern enterprises and a model train museum.
Milton's development as an industrial power relied on its proximity to forests and waterways. Andrew Straub, who founded the town in 1791, was a millwright and miller. Other industries, including a tannery, lumber and grist mills, carriage works, and a flynet factory developed in the early 1800s. Abundant streams and the Susquehanna River provided energy for factories and a means to move goods. The West Branch Canal, opened in 1830, provided even greater access to markets. Trains replaced canal boats, and Milton became a transportation hub for the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads and home to steel and knitting mills. It is also home to ACF Industries that built the world's first railroad tank car. "Chef Boy-Ar-Dee," Hector Boiardi, started manufacturing Italian style foods here in the 1930s; the company has expanded and continues operation today as ConAgra. Trucking replaced rail transportation and remains well represented in Milton today.
Things to See and Do
- The Historic Downtown Walking Tour offers a capsule history of Milton. Among the 14 kiosks along the way are the Veterans Memorial and the site honoring Governor James Pollock, a Milton native who suggested the phrase "In God We Trust" on US coins.
- The Milton Post Office on North Front Street has notable artistic features both inside and out. It is part of an 11-stop our Central PA Post Office Art Road Trip.
- The town itself features over 40 examples of diverse architectural styles. These styles can be found in homes, churches, and commercial buildings.
- Lincoln Park, on the banks of the Susquehanna River, boasts Milton's signature gazebo. The site hosts the summer Music in the Park series and many other community gatherings.
- The Milton Model Train Museum provides fun and nostalgia for young and old alike. The O-gauge trains let visitors take their imaginations on a ride through history.
- Cameron House, home of the Milton Historical Society, is a three-story brick Federal style farmhouse unusual to this region. It was named for James Cameron, who lived here after 1841 and was killed at the First Battle of Bull Run in 1861.
- Mural Tour of Downtown Milton - Murals bring history to life in visual form. Milton's first mural depicts the town's Transportation History, including canal boats, trolleys, rail, and trucks. The Capitol Theatre is the subject of the second mural. The Milton YMCA building provides the latest series of murals - four panels that depict various YMCA activities.
- The replica of the world's first rail tank car sits outside the modern ACF Industries building on Arch Street. ACF was originally Milton Car Works, the town's oldest industry.
- Rose Hill is home to the Milton Public Library and the site of many cultural and civic events. It was originally built on a 6-acre tract in the 1880s by Charles Dickerman, a Pennsylvania Congressman and President of the First National Bank of Milton.
- Milton State Park sits on an 82-acre island in the Susquehanna River between Milton and West Milton. Home to migrating song birds and waterfowl, it also features soccer fields, picnic areas, and hiking trails.