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The town of Milton, situated eight miles south of downtown Boston, between the Neponset River and the Blue Hills, was first settled by Europeans between 1634 and 1636. At first, it was a farming community. The colonists grew barley, rye, and corn.

By 1662, it was incorporated. In 1674, it became one of the first towns in the colonies to take advantage of water power and set up a mill. Its first mill was a powder mill. Over the next hundred years, it also became home to an iron slitting mill, a paper mill, a sawmill, and the first chocolate factory in the colonies. Other firsts in Milton include the first piano factory in the country (1880) and the first public health drive to inoculate residents against smallpox (1809).

Due to its location at the head of a tidewater, it became a commercial trading center. A lot of wealthy Bostonians moved to Milton to be closer to the mills and trading companies that they owned. Immigrants from Ireland, Nova Scotia, and Scotland also came, mostly to work in the mills.

During the 19th century, the laying of streetcar lines fueled Milton's rapid development into a suburb of Boston. Today, the Southeast Expressway runs through it, and people are more aware of that than they are of the Neponset River. Milton has a reputation for affluence, and it's true that there's plenty of money there. But there's also plenty of lower middle-class paycheck-to-paycheck living.

In 2000, Milton had a population of approximately 26,000. The town has two libraries, four elementary schools, one junior high school, one high school, and a smallish hospital. There are no supermarkets in Milton. You have to go to Boston to do any serious grocery shopping. There used to be a small movie theatre, but that's gone now. The five and dime is gone too.

Milton is the home of several educational institutions, including:

Parts of the 1987 movie, "The Witches of Eastwick" were filmed in Milton. Well-known residents of Milton have included former President George H. W. Bush (I babysat one of his grand-nieces) and Buckminster Fuller. Mark Vonnegut had a pediatric practice there for a while. He removed seven stitches from my upper arm in 1980, after I accidentally shoved myself through a window in a fit of pre-pubescent rage.

Milton is well served by public transportation. It's easy to leave. But if you should become inexplicably stuck there, here are some things that might amuse you:


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