Historic Charm Meets Industrial Design
The Long, Winding History of Martinson Hall
Erected in 1912, Martinson Hall was first known as the Reilly Brothers Farm Implement Store and was placed in a strategic location just north of the railway in a growing town. During that time, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see Waterloo Boy tractors, barn cupolas, weather vanes and milking stations for sale in the building. By 1919 though, the Reilly Brothers decided to sell their business to Olaus Martinson and his partner, Lingard, who in turn would sell his share to Sever Martinson in 1921.
From that point, the Martinson brothers ran the business as a plumbing and heating supplies store from 1922 to 1935, in addition to operating as the local John Deere dealership. In 1936, Olaus sold his interest to William Thousand, kicking of the next iteration of the business as the Farm Utility Store. It was during this time that it is believed the large Farm Utility sign was painted on the north wall of the building.
The Farm Utility Store continued to sell John Deere implements, plumbing and heating supplies along with general farm needs. Along the way, Sever’s two sons, Willis and Gene, joined him and began working in the family business.
By 1950, the growing business and the larger size of modern farm equipment necessitated the construction of a single-story addition to house a repair shop on the south side of the building.
The Farm Utility Store was operated until 1970 when the John Deere dealership was sold and moved to the edge of town. In 1972, the building was sold once again and for the next 44 years it became used for storage as well home to several small businesses, some of them being R&R Construction, Kittleson Landscaping and Williams Small Animal Clinic.
By 2016, the ravages of time had taken their toll and a failing roof, growing vines, and neglected maintenance threatened this historic space. Like a diamond in the rough though, a local family recognized the potential of its historic charm and industrial feel, so they purchased the building with plans to fully restore it into an elegant banquet space.
The new and aptly named Martinson Hall is ideally located in charming downtown Mt. Horeb and immediately adjacent to the Military Ridge Bike Trail. The next 100 years of service for this building look bright indeed.
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Having our wedding at Century Barn was an absolute dream come true. With the sun setting in the background during our outdoor ceremony, nature provided a more beautiful backdrop than we could have ever created with decorations in a church.
Alli Ranum, Bride