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Middletown Life

Middletowns across the country

Mar 31, 2015 01:55PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Middletown, as a place name, suggests a location in the middle of something, whether it be a state, a county, or just two points along a road.

Middletown, Del., started as a tavern stop midway along an old cart road extending from Appoquinimink Creek in Odessa to Bohemia Landing on the Bohemia River in Maryland. Before the completion of the C&D Canal, this was the shortest route between the Chesapeake Bay and the Delaware River and Bay.

When Middletown was incorporated in 1861, it was decided the town should be one square mile, and the borders were determined by extending the town half a mile in each direction from the center of the crossroads.

Today, Middletown, at 6.4 sqare miles, is its own destination known for its residential communities, retail centers, and manufacturing/industrial facilities. Over the past decade, the town has tripled in population. The 2000 census showed a population of 6,161, and by the 2010 census, the population had grown to 18,871.

There are other Middletowns across the United States, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia.

The name Middletown is a form of the more proper Middleton. You can find Middletons in Arkansas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

How does our Middletown compare to these other Middletowns across the country?

It's about in the middle in population and land size. It's as old as the oldest towns and villages. It is the only Middletown to host a Peach Festival. It is known as the town where the movie "Dead Poets Society" was filmed, and it's the home of the Hummers Parade. Our Middletown leads the pack in recent growth.

Highlights of a few of the other Middletowns (and Middletons):

Middletown, Conn.

Middletown is located along the Connecticut River, in the middle of the eastern part of the state, about 16 miles south of Hartford. It was the county seat of Middlesex County, until county government in Connecticut was abolished in the 1960s. Middletown's original name was Mattabeseck, named after the Indian tribe that originally inhabited the area. The name was changed in 1653 to Middletown, as it was hoped the town would become a major shipping port and anchor city of the Connecticut River, just as London had become in England.

Although the original plans never materialized, the city served as an industrial center. Today, the city is mostly residential, with a population of 47,481. It is the home of Wesleyan University. The top five employers are Aetna, Pratt and Whitney, Middlesex Hospital, Connecticut General Hospital, and Wesleyan University. The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Connecticut's Middletown as one of five "Most Romantic Main Streets" in the nation.

Famous people associated with Middletown, Conn., are Woodrow Wilson; Bill Rodgers, a Wesleyan graduate and five-time Boston Marathon winner; Anthony Braxton, Wesleyan faculty member and noted jazz composer; Thomas Macdonough, Commodore of the Battle of Lake Champlain in the War of 1812; and Joss Whedon, Wesleyan graduate and creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

More information about Middletown, CT is at

Middletown, Ill.

Middletown is the oldest town in Logan County, founded in 1832. At one time is was considered as a location for the capital of Illinois. Instead, it became the midpoint, overnight stop for legislators traveling between Springfield and Peoria. The Stage Coach Inn, located in Middletown, is the oldest wooden structure in the state. It is believed Abraham Lincoln surveyed the site which became the town. The 2010 census population was 324, down from its 2000 census population of 434.

Middletown, Ky.

This Middletown is very similar to Middletown, Del. The earliest references to Middletown, Ky., indicate the town was the midpoint between two early shipping points along the Ohio River. Merchandise was floated down the Ohio River to Westport, unloaded onto ox carts and hauled to Shippingport, where it was reloaded onto flatboats. Middle Station was the overnight stopping point between these town river ports.

Today, the city is proud of its 200-year heritage. It had a population of 7,218 people in the 2010 census. The town is mostly residential, with its people commuting to Louisville and Shelbyville for employment.

Learn more about Middletown, Ky., at

Middletown Township, N.J.

Located in the middle of New Jersey, in Monmouth County, Middletown Township is the 16th largest town in New Jersey, with a population of 66,522. In 2006, 2008 and 2010, Middletown, N.J. was voted in the Top 100 in CNN Money's "Best Places to Live."

It was founded in 1693. It was a stronghold of the British during the Revolutionary War. With the coming of the railroad and automobile, the town changed from an agricultural and fishing village to a suburban area, where workers would commute to cities in northern New Jersey and New York City.

Among famous personalities born, raised and/or living in Middletown Township are Debbie Harry, lead singer of the band Blondie; Maury Povich, talk show personality; Brian Williams, NBC News anchorman; and Jon Bon Jovi, musician.

Middleton, Mich.

Middleton, Mich., is an unincorporated place within Fulton Township, Michigan. It has a population of 897 people. It is one of the only places named Middleton that is directly in the middle of the state. It's a rural/agricultural community. Among the highlights are the Fulton High School, the Maple State Game Area, and Michigan Agricultural Commodities corn storage silos.

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