Since the spring of 2007, Magnolia’s version of the popular Taggerts has been the commercial tenant of the Isaac Miller Inn, nearly since the Magnolia Area Historical Society set out to save it.

The history of the old Isaac Miller Inn on the square in Magnolia is being preserved one Bittner at a time.

The Bittner is the classic creation of homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup for which Taggarts Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant is known. Since the spring of 2007, Magnolia’s version of the popular Canton spot has been the commercial tenant of the Isaac Miller Inn,  nearly since the Magnolia Area Historical Society set out to save it.

“We wanted to have a restaurant here so the community had someplace to come and eat, but also to make the building self-sustaining,” said Janet Rogers, president of the historical society, which holds its meetings on the second floor of the building. “We wanted it to be a place people could come to have coffee and a sandwich and ice cream. We didn’t know at the time that we would be so fortunate as to partner with Taggarts.”

The structure into which the restaurant settled stretches back to almost the beginning of the village. When it was a hotel and tavern in the 1800s, the building belonged to Isaac Miller, one of the co-founders of Magnolia.

Visitors can see the history of Magnolia in photographs the historical society hung throughout the lower floor of the building, said Taggarts owner, Ernie Schott.

“All the pictures are theirs,” said Schott. “They rotate them and every so often we get a whole new look here.”

The group restored the structure after it was moved slightly to accommodate widening surrounding roads. It had also been a general store, a confectionery, a pizza shop and a pharmacy.

“The historical society did a lot of research,” said Schott. “They wanted to bring it back as close as possible to the original look.”

Also included in the restoration, was the installation of the soda fountain counter from the former Schaffner’s store on Cleveland Avenue NW in Canton and another counter from the former Ehler’s general store on state Route 800 near Zoarville.

The community also helped. Electrician Bob Spencer discovered a mirror that once hung in the building — the society documented it through photographs — and he donated it so it could be hung behind the soda fountain. John Coates, son of Kelly and Jann Coates, refinished the mirror as an Eagle Scout project. And Jon Sewell of East Sparta painted a wallpaper design on the walls of Taggarts’ Tea Room.

Other than their locations, and the fact that all the ice cream is made in the Canton restaurant, there is little difference between the two Taggarts. Same menu. Same special ice cream treats — made from the 14 percent butterfat recipe of founder Joe Taggart.

“The Bittner is in Magnolia, too,” said Schott with a smile. “But, we want people to know that we sell food, too. A lot of people who drive by think it’s just our ice cream.”

Concern that a small community would not embrace the newcomer was quickly quelled by a steady attendance of not only Magnolia residents but people from the surrounding area.

“We get people who go to the Taggarts in Canton, then come down here when they want a little drive,” said Magnolia store manager Michael Sedmock. “People are still finding out about us. Business has been improving every year.”