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18 S JANESVILLE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
18 S JANESVILLE ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:MILTON HOUSE
Reference Number:27353
Location (Address):18 S JANESVILLE ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1844
Survey Date:19782013
Historic Use:hotel/motel
Architectural Style:Octagon
Structural System:
Wall Material:Grout
Architect:Joseph Goodrich
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Milton House
National Register Listing Date:2/1/1972
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation. See also the "Grout Buildings of Milton" site file.

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.

Covenant/Easement: In Perpetuity. Effective 8-26-2007. A 'covenant file' exists for this property. It may contain additional information such as photos, drawings and correspondence. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, State Historic Preservation Office.
Bibliographic References:MILTON COURIER 8/10/1995. HISTORICAL SITES AND POINTS OF INTEREST IN ROCK COUNTY, WISCONSIN BY THE ROCK COUNTY TOURISM COUNCIL, 5/1994. FORT ATKINSON DAILY JEFFERSON COUNTY UNION 3/11/1996. Watertown Daily Times 11/10/2001. Milton Courier 5/28/1998. Edgerton Reporter 10/7/1998 and 5/6/1998. Fort Atkinson Daily Jefferson County Union 10/7/1998 and 5/6/1998. Beloit Daily News 10/7/1998. Wisconsin State Journal 4/19/1999. Milwaukee Journal 7/25/1943. Wisconsin State Journal 2/18/1951. Jefferson County Union 12/13/1962, p. 3. Wisconsin State Journal 1/11/1954. Janesville Daily Gazette 4/16/1954. Wisconsin State Journal 3/5/1954. Chicago Tribune 12/12/1954. Janesville Daily Gazette 4/29/1954. Wisconsin State Journal 5/9/1954, section 2, p. 3. Milwaukee Journal 5/30/1954. Wisconsin State Journal 8/1/1955, section 2. Wisconsin State Journal 8/2/1955. Wisconsin State Journal 9/28/1956, section 2. Janesville Daily Gazette 12/31/1964. Wisconsin State Journal 4/30/1962, p. 8, section 1. Milwaukee Journal 4/7/1968. Janesville Gazette 2/20/2000 and 5/9/1998. Sheboygan Press 2/21/2000. Koshkonong Campers' Courier 6/2000. Edgerton Reporter 12/13/2000. Milton Courier 5/24/2001. Fort Atkinson Daily Jefferson County Union 5/2/2001. Edgerton Reporter 12/5/2001. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 11/25/2001, B1. Janesville Gazette 8/26/2001. Milton Courier 4/18/2002. Milton Courier 5/2/2002. Janesville Gazette 3/20/2002. Milton Courier 3/21/2002. Janesville Gazette 11/16/2003. Edgerton Reporter 3/17/2004. Janesville Gazette 3/26/2004. Janesville Gazette 7/17/2003. Fort Atkinson Daily Jefferson County Union 6/17/2003. Historic Milton, Wisconsin Tour Guide, Milton Historic Preservation Commission, 2009. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. Perrin, Richard W. E., Historic Wisconsin Architecture, First Revised Edition (Milwaukee, 1976). Milton Historic Preservation Commission, History in Progress: Hiking/Biking Tour of Historic Milton, Wisconsin, n.d.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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