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Grout, a form of poured concrete, was briefly popular as a building material in the mid-nineteenth century. The town of Milton in Rock County has a particularly large concentration of grout buildings thanks to the arrival in the 1840s of Joseph Goodrich from upstate New York. Although Goodrich did not construct all the grout buildings in Milton, he was responsible for the Milton House and the neighboring Goodrich Blacksmith Shop see RO21. Built in the 1840s, they are the oldest known surviving examples of grout construction. The Carl Gifford House see RO21 of 1868 is unusual because it is composed of grout blocks rather than Goodrich’s solid-wall technique. Several grout structures in Milton were built to store wheat, notably the former John Alexander Wheat Warehouse see RO21. The indented mortar joints between the blocks can be seen beneath the thin coat of stucco.

Goodrich’s material and method received a boost in 1854, when Orson Fowler, the proponent of octagonal houses, visited the Milton House. Fowler was so impressed with grout construction that when he revised his book A Home for All and republished it in 1853, he promoted gravel walls for octagonal buildings.

Several grout houses see FD1 constructed in the early 1850s in Ripon by stonemason Marcellus Pedrick are made of grout blocks that look like dressed stone. For his house now the Ripon Historical Society Museum the blocks walls are yellow in color and resemble the local limestone. The Richard and Phoebe Catlin House see FD1 is unusual in that the blocks imitate brick rather than stone.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger and Contributors



Marsha Weisiger and Contributors, "GROUT BUILDINGS", SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 234-234.

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