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Black Earth in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Patrons’ Mercantile Co-op

Oldest Cooperative in the Nation

 
 
Patrons' Mercantile Co-op Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, April 23, 2011
1. Patrons' Mercantile Co-op Marker
Inscription. Town of Vermont farmers, beset by a depressed economy in the early 1890's, organized a company to obtain quality products at fair prices. Amos Thorsrud was the first general manager. He and Nels Simley toured local farms to sell $10 shares in a company store, raising $1800 capital to finance an inventory of farm supplies. A share of the profits would be returned to the patrons.

The store opened April 9, 1894 in a rented building. In 1897, the business moved to this site. Fire destroyed the old store in February, 1933. Rebuilt by November, "The Store" operated here until 1994.

The Co-op's purpose has always prevailed: "Ownership by the patrons and affordable products."
 
Erected 1994 by the Dane County Historical Society. (Marker Number 30.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Dane County Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 43° 8.289′ N, 89° 44.886′ W. Marker is in Black Earth, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is at the intersection of Mills Street (State Highway 78) and Spring Street, on the right when traveling south on Mills Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1202 Mills Street, Black Earth WI 53515, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Patrons' Mercantile Co-op Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, April 23, 2011
2. Patrons' Mercantile Co-op Marker
At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Vermont Creek (approx. 1.9 miles away); Old Halfway Prairie (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Train Wreck of 1906 (approx. 3.3 miles away); Festge Park (approx. 3.4 miles away); Lynch and Walker Flouring Mill (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Turntable, The Engine House, The Water Tower (approx. 3.4 miles away); Crescent Street Factories, Mazomanie Blacksmiths, Coal Buildings (approx. 3.4 miles away); John F. Appleby (approx. 3 miles away).
 
Also see . . .  The History of Cooperatives in Wisconsin. From the Wisconsin Stories web site of Wisconsin Public Television: "The oldest continuous co-op in Wisconsin is Premier Co-op, a farm supply cooperative headquartered in Mount Horeb. Founded in 1893 as Patrons Mercantile Cooperative of Black Earth, it merged with Mount Horeb Farmers Co-op and changed its name to Premier in March 2000." (Submitted on April 24, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 24, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 878 times since then and 85 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 24, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.
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