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History of Garver Feed Mill in Madison, WI

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The Romanesque arches and tower looked royal, hence the nickname | Photo from Wisconsin Historical Society

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Currently the home of Ledger Coffee Roasters, Calliope Ice Cream, and NessAlla Kombucha (to name a few), Garver Feed Mill’s reopening in 2019 marked a new era for the turn-of-the-century building.

Sugar beet factory

The 200,000 sqft “Sugar Castle” was constructed in 1906 by the United States Sugar Company for sugar beet processing. What is sugar beet? A crop that offered an alternative to Caribbean-imported sugar cane. Designed by Law, Law, & Potter, it was the largest factory in Madison at the time, in service only four months out of the year until operations ended in 1924.

Feed mill era

Purchased by James Russell Garver in 1929, the building was converted into the Garver Feed and Supply Co. The mill and granary supported the state’s agricultural industry with modern innovations. Until its closing in 1997, the feed processing plant served 40 Wisconsin and Illinois counties.

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The graffiti was left from the decades it sat empty. | Photo by @passportsandspice

Renovations + beyond

For the 18 years the space sat empty, the city mulled over ideas to turn it into an arts incubator or tie it into Olbrich Botanical Gardens. In 2015, the building was sold to Baum Revision to turn it into a “local artisan food production facility.”

Construction began in 2017, with an official opening in November 2019. The award-winning space features 14 tenants, an events space + patio seating, making it a foodie and wellness destination for the city.

See the space for yourself at upcoming community events:

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