Milton House

© Photographed July 19, 2015
Erected 1961 by Wisconsin Historical Society
Milton, Rock County, Wisconsin
42° 46.588′ N, 88° 56.195′ W
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has been designated a
This site possesses National significance
in commemorating the history of the
United States of America
National Park Service
United States Department of the Interior

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
Additional Information:
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. 
The foregoing content used with generous permission of the Wisconsin Historical Society.

These markers are also at this location:

The marker is visible on the boulder to the right of center.

The marker is located on the grounds of the Milton House Museum.

Milton House is located in Milton, Wisconsin.

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