Houston, a town established in 1854, prides itself on the freedoms of a farming community and looks forward to remaining a quiet town on the outskirts of Milford.

The past

According to Houston Councilman Angelo Abbate, the town of Houston was established in 1854 and was named after landowner John B. Houston, who stepped off a train running through the town and decided to settle in the village.

Houston is located off Del. Route 14, also known as Milford-Harrington Highway, right in between Milford and Harrington.

Abbate said that in the 1920s and 1930s, the Libby, McNeil and Libby Cannery in Houston provided enough jobs to support a growing Houston, filled with car dealerships and other stores. Houston at that time even had its own town police, Abbate said. When the cannery closed in 1968, Houston’s businesses and population began to decline.

The present

Houston is a farming community, Abbate explained, and residents are still allowed to have horses and other farm animals, except swine, within town limits. The farm animals cannot be used for commercial purposes, but rather feeding the families and friends of Houston residents.

Houston’s town government currently consists of a mayor, a vice mayor and three council seats, which also serve as the city’s treasurer and secretary/tax collector. Each term runs two years.

Houston’s children attend school in the Milford School District, as the town’s only public school, which now houses the Canaan Full Gospel Christian Church, closed more than 20 years ago. A few small businesses are left in town, including auto shops, a drafting service, a florist, a thrift-store, accountants and other small, home-based businesses.

Abbate said that the town consists of many elderly people, and with their passing comes the population declines seen in each of the last two censuses. He said there was a slight increase in 1990, by about 50 or 60 people, after a resident passed away and his family sold multiple properties to new residents, but since then, there has been so significant growth in population or businesses.

“It’s pretty quiet, and if you like quiet, then you’re in the right place,” Abbate said.

The future

Abbate said Houston is a quiet, little town that is laid back and tucked away from the “hustle and bustle” of larger towns and cities.

“The town is kind of off the beaten path here,” he said. “We’re quiet and it seems like the general consensus that everyone wants to keep it that way.”

According to the town’s 2007 comprehensive plan, the top two priorities for Houston are to preserve and protect its character as an historic railroad-era village surrounded by rural farming and to redevelop and revitalize blighted properties along the town’s railroad corridor.