Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin
42° 46.588′ N, 88° 56.195′ W
Erected in 1844 by Joseph Goodrich, this frontier inn is constructed of grout -- a mixture of gravel, lime, and water. An important stagecoach stop and transfer point, it was also a pre-Civil War station in the underground railroad, and is still connected by a secret escape tunnel to the old log cabin. In 1949 the Goodrich family donated the inn to the Milton Historical Society for a museum.
The marker is located on northbound South Janesville Street / State Highway 26 / 59, at its intersection with Storrs Lake Road, at 18 South Janesville Street, Milton, Wisconsin 53563.
NOTE: Because of its role in the pre-Civil War underground railroad, the house is listed at a National Historic Landmark.
Milton House Museum
Joseph Goodrich's Milton House and the Underground Railroad
Aboard the Underground Railroad: Milton House
Death of Hon. Joseph Goodrich
Wisconsin Historical Society Architecture and History Inventory
Milton House: 18 South Janesville Street, Milton
Reference Number 27353
Year Built: 1844
Wall Material: Grout
Architect: Joseph Goodrich
The foregoing content used with generous permission of the Wisconsin Historical Society.The Milton House is made out of lime stone mortar and is one of the only two 19th-century hexagonal structures still in existence in the U.S. Dating from 1844, it contained a hotel, the Goodrich family residence, and adjoining shops. Orson Fowler exulted that this structure’s walls were “as hard as stone itself, and harder than brick walls,” adding that “the superiority of this plan must certainly revolutionize building, and especially enable poor men to build their own homes." The Milton House’s first-story walls are fifteen inches thick, and the upper walls measure twelve inches; all the walls are grout covered with stucco.
The building has changed significantly. The hexagonal inn portion originally stood just two stories tall, but Goodrich added a third in 1867. The two-story wing to the south once included five units, but during an attempt to alter the wing in 1948, most of these collapsed. The truncated portion was the Goodrich family’s dwelling, while other sections housed stores and craftsmen's shops downstairs and living quarters above.
Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the Goodrich house is the tunnel that runs forty feet from the southeast corner of the basement to the Goodrich Cabin behind the inn. Goodrich was a vocal abolitionist in the decades before the Civil War, and his inn was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Southeastern Wisconsin was a refuge for slaves fleeing toward Canada and other safe havens. The tunnel beneath Goodrich’s property has fueled speculation that he was one of the sympathetic Northerners who hid fugitive slaves and helped spirit them to freedom.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 as an early example of grout construction, a method of construction developed by Joseph Goodrich in Milton in 1844.
These markers are also at this location:
The marker is located on the grounds of Milton House Museum.
The property is a distinguished National Historic Landmark.
Milton House is located in Milton, Wisconsin.