Madison's Past


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Winifred Ford's Watercolors - Madison (Wisconsin Historical Society)

Marston  House

Marston House (1939 ca.)

Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi-29743)

Places in Madison's Past

Madison has been blessed with some fine architects over the years. Louis W. Claude and Edward F. Starck, Cora Tuttle, Arthur Peabody, August Kutzbock, Samuel Hunter Donnell, Stephen Vaughn Shipman, Allan Darst Conover, Lew Forster Porter, Alvin E. Small, Frederick W. Paunack, Robert Wright, Frank Morris Riley, Ellis Potter, and the Prairie Style of Frank Lloyd Wright are all represented in Madison's older neighborhoods. A list of landmark buildings remain.

Many of the city's treasured buildings have been lost since 1836. The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation developed a photo exhibit a few years ago called Lost Madison. The exhibit is available for loan to libraries and senior centers from the Madison Public Library.

The Wisconsin State Journal Centennial issue (Sept 24, 1939) has a lengthy article on the subject of these former buildings. Copies of this newspaper are available on microfilm at the Wisconsin Historical Society library on campus, Microforms Room.

Files on historic buildings are maintained by the City of Madison's Planning Division. When a historic building is demolished, its file is transferred to the Archives at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The City Ordinance on demolition is Ch. 28.04 (22).

James Madison has a number of buildings, rooms, and places named for him, although Wisconsin was still a territory when he died.

Many Madisonians, Dane Countians, and those who always wished they were, are buried in area cemeteries. Tours are available upon request for a small honorarium.

People write regularly in the summer months as they are beginning to plan a special location for a wedding. Write to us if you have additional sites to add.

Many of the city's early parks were originally scenic drives purchased and donated by wealthy families who wanted pleasant locations to drive their carriages. We created a Park and Pleasure Drive Association brochure in 1994 showing where they are located.

Our homes are also special places. Many have been featured in our Alternate Parade of Homes program.

Our most FAQ inquiries are about the city's most famous building, the State Capitol. You can call 608-264-6350 for info on the capitol and its tours.