Milford is a city in Clermont and Hamilton counties in the U.S. state of Ohio, along the Little Miami River in the southwestern part of the state. It is a part of Greater Cincinnati. Milford, an abbreviated form of mill ford, was so named because it was the first safe ford across the Little Miami north of the Ohio River, and was the only way for many people to reach the local mill. The population was 6,709 at the 2010 census. The Little Miami Bike Trail, which runs from Newtown to Springfield, Ohio, runs through Milford where several major hiking trails converge, including the American Discovery Trail, the Sea to Sea Long Distance Hiking Route, and the Underground Railroad Cycling Route. The city is served by the Milford Exempted Village Schools.
Milford has been inhabited since prehistoric times. A field along Gatch Avenue on what was once the farm of John Gatch has yielded large numbers of artifacts for several generations; it is now believed to have been the site of a Native American village during the Woodland period. Today, the field is an archaeological site known as the "Gatch Site."
The areas known as Milford, Old Milford, and Miami Township were built on a survey by John Nancarrow, a Revolutionary War veteran from Virginia. Miami Township was named after the Little Miami River and the tribe of Native Americans who once controlled this area. Miami Township was originally named O'Bannon Township in honor of the county's first surveyor. The first United Methodist Church in the Northwest Territory was founded in Milford by Robert J. Gaible in 1798. Because of financial troubles, Nancarrow never visited Milford, and instead sold his share of of land to Philip Gatch on December 20, 1802, for a total of $920.00. Four years later, Gatch decided to sell to Ambrose Ranson who, soon after, sold to John Hageman. Hageman became the first permanent settler and named the area Hageman's Mills. By 1815, Hageman had left for Indiana, and the name "Milford" had come into popular use. In 1818 a wooden bridge across the Little Miami was completed, making the ford obsolete. More than a century later, on January 1, 1920, the mill that was the city's namesake burned down.
At the end of the 1960s Milford was the typical American small town. Small grocery stores, a butcher shop, five & dime, drug store, barber shop and a taxi company that doubled as the fire dispatcher for the volunteer fire department, served as the hub of community activity. Today, Milford seeks to maintain its own urban identity, having developed into a suburb of nearby Cincinnati throughout the 1980s and 1990s, with many of its residents working in Cincinnati. Milford remains Clermont County's only city besides Loveland, which includes parts of Hamilton County.