Dressed John Milton Statue – Milton, Delaware - Atlas Obscura
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Milton, Delaware

Dressed John Milton Statue

A statue of the English poet for whom this Delaware town is named is ritually dressed in seasonally appropriate clothing. 

The sleepy old shipbuilding community of Milton, Delaware, has a quirky and charming local tradition. Along a path called “The Governor’s Walk” is a life-sized statue of the English poet John Milton, the town’s namesake. Sitting peacefully on a bench, the statue can be found dressed handsomely in seasonally appropriate clothing, updated throughout the year by anonymous townsfolk.

Mr. Milton has been spotted wearing winter jackets in December, tropical clothing in July, and in April he was spotted holding a single tulip to celebrate the start of the spring bloom. Interestingly, no group or individual has claimed responsibility for these friendly acts of vandalism. Some locals say that it’s Milton’s ghost that keeps the statue’s wardrobe up to date—a way for the Paradise Lost author to inspire a bit of human optimism from the grave? Others say that members of the nearby Milton Historical Society started the tradition in the ’70s and have carried on the tradition ever since.

Now headquartered in an old Methodist Church built in 1857, the Milton Historical Society has permanent and rotating exhibitions ranging from nautical history, past button making operations, and the area’s love of beer with an original Dogfish Head Craft Brewery brew kettle on display. Maybe even a wardrobe just for Milton’s outfits can be found on site.