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The town of Milton originated in 1872, after W.S. Frazier established land for a town site. M.V. Wormington constructed the first residence in the area in 1873 and, by consensus, the fledgling community was named Milton. By 1882, the settlement encompassed a population of 400 with several businesses and mills, along with a schoolhouse, railroad station, two churches, a post office and an express office. Milton was incorporated as a city soon after in 1886.

Freewater was established in 1889 by a group of men discontent with the path Milton was on, one reason being the prohibition of sales of alcoholic beverages. Initially named “New Walla Walla,” the name “Freewater” resulted from an advertising slogan used to attract new residents – “Free Water For all Home Sites.” The new town, which was also known for its saloons, was incorporated as a city in 1902.


While Milton and Freewater remained separate cities for several decades, the two communities began to grow closer, paving the way for many residents to advocate for a merging. The Consolidation Club was formed after World War II, with J.T. Monahan elected chairman. Not everyone accepted the new idea, which created a challenge as state law mandates a majority vote to pass the edict. An election in 1950 led to a favorable move for consolidation, and thus the new city of Milton-Freewater was founded. The rest is history!

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