UW-Madison’s Historic Ag Buildings

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Peter Gottlieb by Dairy Barn

Each year the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation offers special tours of historic sites in and around Madison, this year the tour will feature the UW-Madison Agricultural Campus. We talk with the tour’s creator and find out what buildings will be included. We also about some of the trailblazing scientific discoveries that were made on campus.

Featured in this Show

  • Must-See Historic Agriculture Buildings On UW-Madison Campus

    Each year the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation offers special tours of historic sites in and around Madison. This year the tour will feature the University of Wisconsin-Madison Agricultural Campus.

    Peter Gottlieb is leading a walking tour in October that will take participants to several buildings on the west end of campus. The tour starts at the Agricultural Dean’s Residence, or Dean’s House, a residence built for William Henry, the first dean of the UW-Madison’s College of Agriculture in the 1890s.

    The Dean’s Residence in the early 20th century. Courtesy of the UW-Madison Libraries Digital Collection

    The Dean’s Residence in the modern day. James Steakly(CC-BY-SA)

    UW-Madison’s president at the time had the residence built as an incentive for Henry to stay with the university, Gottlieb said. Henry was such an accomplished dean other universities were attempting to recruit him.

    Although surrounded by the beautiful Allen Centennial Garden now, the house was originally built on the edge of the Wisconsin Agricultural Experiment Station.

    “It’s setting has changed quite a bit, but it remains really quite a handsome building,” said Gottlieb, who was the Wisconsin Historical Society state archivist for nearly 20 years.

    Other buildings to be discovered on the tour include:

    • The University of Wisconsin Dairy Barn, a site built in 1898 to allow for working with farm animals. The site is now listed as a National Historical Landmark.
    • The University of Wisconsin-Madison Stock Pavilion, originally built for cattle and other animal shows. A UW-Madison president dubbed it the “Cowlesium” because it was the largest campus venue, and had such good acoustics, it became a space for concerts, speeches and other performances, Gottlieb said.
    • Hiram Smith Hall, one of the more hidden treasures on the tour. Built in 1892 as an instructional facility for dairy and cheese making, it was built in record time to accommodate the surging numbers of students interested in the profession, Gottlieb said.

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Jill Nadeau Producer
  • Peter Gottlieb Guest