The sign on the Post Office on Hancock Street says "Miller Station." There have several explanations as to how Miller got its name, the most popular having to do with the oldest headstone or marker in Bethel Lutheran Cemetery, or the old Miller Cemetery as it was called for a number of years: "John S. Miller, age 3". The 1850 census of North Township, the jurisdiction that Miller belonged to then, shows the family of Samuel and Susan Miller with a three year old son John. Samuel is listed as "Innkeeper." The Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad came through in 1852 and it seems fair to surmise that Samuel may have put up railroad workers or fed them as they stopped for coal and water. Samuel and his family up and moved to California in 1855. Neither Samuel Miller, nor any other Millers, were found on the 1860 census. The very first post office came in 1865 and was designated "Millers Station" by the U.S.Government.
RED BLUFF DAILY NEWS: 13 OCT, 1930 page 1:3
“FRANCES WILSON, 75 YEARS RESIDENT OF COUNTY, SUMMONED
Death, yesterday, claimed another of Tehama county’s covered wagon pioneers in the passing of Mrs. Frances Wilson, 89, who had been a resident of the county for the past 75 years, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. George Damsell, in the antelope district, following a long illness. Mrs. Wilson, born March 25, 1851, at Millers Station, Indiana: made the long trip across the plains with her parents, the late Samuel and Susan Miller, when but four years of age. Deceased was the widow of the late James Wilson, a rancher in the Antelope district for many years...(continued)
Mrs. Esther Pearson, writing a history of Miller in 1970 gives a different version claiming that Miller was named for John Miller, a construction supervisor who lived in a house on Miller Ave. Given the census returns that this author has studied I think she had been confused by some stories that she'd heard, but here's her rendition, which is close, but it was Samuel Miller, an innkeeper and not a construction worker.
There are several stories on how Miller got its name. Many of the stories and many records say that it was a milk station and that milk was left here at the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern depot and picked up there and carried into Chicago and they called it the Millers Milk Station. But here is another version which I will read to you because I think this is the true one. This is an article of an interview with Mrs. William Nelson Graham. “Mrs. William Graham; 621 Huntington Street, related the following story of how Miller was named. It was told to her by her grandfather, George William Cook, who served as the first Station Agent in Miller following the Civil War”. And for that reason I think this is more really the true story. “A man by the name of John Miller, she said, was Construction Engineer for the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad in 1851. He came to Miller at that time and built a home at 6025 Miller Avenue." Now that home, you will see in one of my folders has been remodeled and i s now a Doctor's Office. “A son, John S. Miller, was the first person to be buried in the Miller Cemetery.” Read more.
That was in July 1851, and you will also see a picture of the tombstone of this child in the folders. “At that time trains had to stop every thirty miles for water and wood for the engine boilers. There Mr. Miller lived at the midway point of thirty miles from Chicago and La Porte. In February of 1852 the first stop was made near his home," which was 6025 Miller Avenue," and that was right near the tracks. The stop was made near his home for water and wood. It then became customary for members of the railroad crew to say 'Our next stop is Miller'. This story is fully authenticated by the name Millers on the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad station at Lake Street and Miller Avenue less than a block from the old Miller home and that station of course is still there. Miller (sic) and Mrs. Graham discredited the stories of milk pickups being made in Miller. “Miller was not a farming community,” she said”, maybe a few families had one or two cows but they kept them for their own use.” I always considered that the true source of the name Miller. Less.
As mentioned on the railroad page Miller was once called "Vanderbilt." Cornelius Vanderbilt's New York Central had gained control of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad, and when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad came through in 1874, Vanderbilt used his influence to have the post office changed to "Vanderbilt." According to The Postal History of Indiana published in 1976 the "Miller's Station" Post Office was established on February 7th, 1865, but on September 8th, 1874 the name was changed to "Vanderbilt" and then back to "Miller's Station" on June 13th, 1879 it was changed back to "Miller's Station." Then in 1882, it was shortened to "Miller," which it was officially known as until 1927. One wonders how that all went down. According to a current Post Office publication, "Historically, local communities suggested the name for their Post Offices, subject to the approval of the Post Office Department." What exactly happened after 1927 is a bit confusing since it was absorbed into various Gary delineations, but the sign on the Post Office today reads "Miller Station."
Despite all of that official stuff, the residents of the Miller over the last several decades have commonly referred to their community as "Miller Beach" and it's unlikely that the sign on the Post Office will be changed. The sign has been missing one letter for quite a while now.