Business Activity …

  • The railroad in 1856 created economic opportunities and business ventures soon began.  At first, wheat was the primary commodity and Middleton Station soon had large grain elevators along the railroad.  In the last half of the 19th Century, soil exhaustion and disease took a heavy toll on wheat crops and soon dairying became the dominant form of regional agriculture.
  • Other business activity quickly followed, spurred by the needs of the railroad, its passengers and area farmers.  These ventures included a lumberyard, stockyard, blacksmith shops, hotels, saloons and general mercantile stores.
  • In 1889, William Hoffman established a flour and feed mill on Elmwood Ave. across from the present Gunderson Funeral Home.  On a hot June evening in 1900, a spark ignited grain dust inside the mill and soon a great fire erupted in downtown Middleton that quickly destroyed almost all of the business structures east of Parmenter Street, nineteen in all.  Rebuilding began quickly and the village also formed its first Fire Dept. within the next year.
  • Hoffman’s replacement mill was a major business in downtown Middleton until 1936, when it too was consumed by fire.
  • In 1927, the Schwab and Schwarz General Store opened at the southeast corner of Parmenter St. and Hubbard Ave.  Located in what may have been Middleton’s oldest building, constructed in 1856 by W.A. Wheeler, the new owners used the slogan, “Middleton’s Friendly Service Store.”


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