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800 LANGDON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
800 LANGDON ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Memorial Union
Other Name:Memorial Union, Building # 80
Reference Number:106834
Location (Address):800 LANGDON ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1928
Additions: 1938 1957
Survey Date:1998
Historic Use:university or college building
Architectural Style:Neoclassical
Structural System:
Wall Material:Stone - Unspecified
Architect:Frank MoultonW.V. KaeserArthur PeabodyCharlotte PeabodyMichael Hare
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Bascom Hill Historic District
National Register Listing Date:9/12/1974
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:
National/State Register Listing Name: University of Wisconsin Memorial Union
National Register Listing Date:6/16/2015
State Register Listing Date:2/27/2015
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exist for this property. They contain additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. They are public records and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

Overlooking Lake Mendota is the rambling Memorial Union. Students, faculty, and alumni raised money to erect the building, dedicated in 1928 to University men and women who had served in the nation’s wars. Arthur Peabody considered this his greatest work: a Renaissance Revival showpiece whose grand staircase leads to an arcaded gallery surmounted by a balustraded terrace. The Moderne-style theater addition to the west dates from 1939. Of particular interest inside the Union is the much-loved Rathskeller and Stiftskeller, a dining room and cave-like beer hall painted by German immigrant Eugene Hausler with German-style murals and strange German-language riddles.

Memorial Union is contributing to the Bascom Hill Historic District, NR listed 1974, NRIS #: 74000065

A Historic Structure Report of this building can be found in Room 312 at the Wisconsin Historical Society.

"The Memorial Union provides hundreds of cultural, social, and recreational programs and services for students, faculty, and alumni. It has been called "a miniature city under one roof" and "the living room of the campus." More than 18,000 people enter the building daily.

This Union, opened in 1928, was built with contributions from students, faculty, and alumni solicited in the first general fundraising effort ever made by the University. Half of all students contributed to a Union they knew they'd never be able to use as students. The building contains the famous Rathskeller, Great Hall, lounges, art galleries, dining rooms, craftshop, travel center, delicatessen, game rooms, meeting rooms, outing equipment stores, and guest rooms for visitors. The Information Center is on the second floor.

The theater (west) wing was opened in 1939 by the celebrated Lunts in The Taming of the Shrew. The wing contains a large 1,300 seat auditorium, a small movie theater, rehearsal rooms, and complete back shop area. The basement is headquarters of the Wisconsin Hoofers, the oldest and largest outing club in the country. The Wisconsin Union was the first to include theater ans music facilities and the incorporate an outing club in its structure.

The lakeside of the Union is a good place to end a spring, summer, or autumn tour. You can relax on the terrace, expanded in 1986-87, and enjoy the view while eating or sipping lemonade under the trees. The adjacent indoor cafeteria and Rathskeller, overlooking the lake front, serve snacks and meals daily." University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison Tour Guide, 1988.
Bibliographic References:Wisconsin State Journal 9/3/2003. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Madison Tour Guide, 1988.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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