The storied history of the village of Milton begins with the decision by Joseph Goodrich to homestead on the Du Lac Prairie from his native state of New York in 1838. Goodrich staked his claim at the crossing of two militia trails still worn from the Blackhawk War six years prior. It was at this crossing where Goodrich built his Milton House inn, a decision that not only resulted in the construction of what still stands as Rock County’s only National Historic Landmark, but also spawned two villages that eventually grew into one city and a small liberal arts college that fed the minds and hearts of people all over Southern Wisconsin for more than 135 years.

Goodrich’s early inn and family dwelling consisted of two wood frame buildings and a log cabin that was constructed in 1837 about eight miles to the east and moved to its current location. While planning construction of a more permanent inn and home, Goodrich was busily platting a town. He designated land he had secured for a park and square. He gifted other land for a church for the Seventh Day Baptists whose growing congregation had been meeting for services in the Goodrich home. He also dedicated land for a cemetery and school.