Wisconsin August 25, 2017
This is The Last Underground Railroad Station You Can Tour In Wisconsin And It’s Incredible
Milton is a small town just outside of Janesville that’s absolutely full of interesting history. Founded in 1838 by Joseph Goodrich, Milton sat at an important crossroads on the military road between Chicago and Madison as well as the road from Janesville to Fort Atkinson. Add in its proximity to the Rock River and this small town from the 1800s was far more important than you’d ever imagine a Wisconsin town of 5,000 people could be.
Built in 1845, this is how the building looked in 1885. According to Wikipedia, The Milton House is a grout building consisting of a three-story hexagonal section with a two-story hexagonal wing. The hotel's main rooms are located within the tower, which has a central spiral stairway with rooms on the sides; the common rooms are on the first floor, while the upper floors and the wing contain guest rooms. It is believed to be the first grout building in the country.
Today, Milton House looks much the same and visiting is definitely a trip back in time.
And while the homestead itself has great historical significance, what makes this guesthouse so interesting is that it was once an important stop on the Underground Railroad.
Fugitive slaves would follow the Rock River into Wisconsin before making their way to Racine where they could board a boat headed for Canada.
There is a hidden underground tunnel connecting the main house to an outer cabin and this tunnel was crucial for hiding people when necessary.
Goodrich was an abolitionist, so Milton House's role in helping slaves towards freedom was a natural fit. He even hosted Sojurner Truth when she visited Milton in the 1860s. The Milton House is part of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.
Visiting Milton House is totally worth a trip. They have tons of special events, including arts and craft fairs, historical reenactments, Twilight Tours and more. You'll see tons of artifacts, from era-appropriate appliances to early bits of Milton history. See how the table would have been set for travelers, who would have paid an extra 25 cents for a hot meal.
This house sits kitty-corner to Milton House and was built in 1867 by Joseph Goodrich's son Ezra.
Milton House is open 10 am to 4 pm every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day with tours running every 30 minutes seven days a week. During the off season, they are open Tuesday through Friday from 1 pm to 4 pm, Labor Day to Memorial Day. Please call ahead to schedule a tour in the off season so they can make sure they have staff. Tours are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for kids.
Milton House is located at 18 S Janesville St, Milton, WI 53563.
Learn more here on their website.