Milford began at a point where Pettibone Creek flows into the Huron River. It started when the Ruggles Brothers, Elizur and Stanley, built a sawmill on the Huron River in 1832. The Huron River, and Pettibone Creek flowing into it, provided waterpower for the 14 mills built in the area in the 19th and 20th centuries. The presence of the waterpower allowed Milford to become one of the earliest communities in Michigan to have a system of electric lights, in 1892. The local weekly newspaper, The Milford Times, was founded in 1871 by Isaac Jackson. It continues to this day and is the oldest continuously published newspaper in Oakland County. The invention of the automobile had a great effect on Milford. Mr. Bacon brought the first car to Milford in 1900 and after that car dealerships, gas stations, car repair businesses and even several businesses manufacturing car parts came into being. Frank Orvis even invented a car in 1917. General Motors put in its Proving Ground in 1928, creating jobs and bringing in new residents.

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