Milano is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and State Highway 36, twelve miles southeast of Cameron in southeastern Milam County. The International-Great Northern Railroad laid out the original site of Milano in 1874 about 1½ miles west of what is now its site. A post office opened the same year, and a Baptist church was soon established; the community became a voting precinct in 1880. Local sources offer several possibilities for the origin of the name. One story suggests that the town was named for Milan, Italy, because of the similarity of the climates; another says that the name was to have been Milam, but the Post Office Department either got it wrong or changed it intentionally because a Milam, Texas, already existed. When the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built the section of track between Brenham and Belton in 1881, it established the town of Milano Junction at its intersection with the International-Great Northern, less than two miles east of Milano. As the focus of local social and economic life gradually shifted to the new town, Milano became known as Old Milano and Milano Junction became Milano. By the 1880s Milano was a commercial center with 500 residents and served as a shipping point for cotton and hides produced in the area. Truck farming became an important industry for Milano in the 1920s, with tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupes as the principal crops. Milano reached a peak in 1939, when 920 residents were reported there. The number of residents began to decline in the early 1940s and fell to a low of 380 by the early 1970s before beginning to grow again in the late 1970s. When Milano was incorporated in the early 1980s, it had 468 residents; its population was reported as 495 in 1988 and 408 in 1990. By 2000 the population was 400.
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