COVID-19 Updates: In order to help reduce the increased spread of COVID-19, options for accessing our headquarters building have changed. Click here for more information.

106 N PROSPECT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

106 N PROSPECT AVE

Architecture and History Inventory
106 N PROSPECT AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
NAMES
Historic Name:Harold C. Bradley House
Other Name:Sigma Phi House
Contributing:
Reference Number:26961
PROPERTY LOCATION
Location (Address):106 N PROSPECT AVE
County:Dane
City:Madison
Township/Village:
Unincorporated Community:
Town:
Range:
Direction:
Section:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
PROPERTY FEATURES
Year Built:1909
Additions: 1972
Survey Date:1993
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Prairie School
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
Architect:Louis Henri SullivanGeorge Grant ElmslieLouis W. Claude
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished?:No
Demolished Date:
DESIGNATIONS
National/State Register Listing Name: Bradley, Harold C., House
National Register Listing Date:2/23/1972
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:
NOTES
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

This is a late Prairie School house designed by Louis H. Sullivan and assisted by George Grant Elmslie and Louis W. Claude and built in 1909. It is the only surviving house from the latter stage of Sullivan's career.[A].

Between 1905 and his death in 1924, Louis Sullivan created only two residences. One was this house, designed with George Elmslie, who was then Sullivan's chief draftsman and assistant. Sullivan was one of America's most important architects of the time; many consider him second only to his protégé Frank Lloyd Wright. Elmslie, who produced the working drawings and designed the windows, interior furnishings and fixtures, and other details, became an important architect in his own right. When this house proved too large for the
Bradleys to maintain, they asked Elmslie to design a new house in 1914.

Sullivan was the spiritual leader for the Prairie School, and the Bradley House is undoubtedly the most important Prairie building in Madison. The style was uniquely American. The long, low mass of the Bradley House’s south elevation, as well as the ribbons of windows, evoke the horizon, but the brick piers anchoring the building establish a clear sense of vertical movement. They also serve as springboards for the dramatic cantilevered sleeping porches on the second floor. The massive wooden brackets that seem to support these porches actually do not--they conceal weight-bearing steel beams underneath. But the huge brackets draw attention with their geometric carvings and elaborately sawn ends. Multicolored leaded windows, divided into small vertical panes, also typify the Prairie School. Inside the house, Sullivan and Elmslie’s design included large playrooms and numerous children’s bedrooms. Many years later, these made the house well suited for use by a fraternity.

After a 1972 fire, Sigma Phi employed local architect Mark Purcell to oversee a faithful restoration. Changes to the original design have included enclosed sleeping porches and the porch off the dining room.

Madison Landmark: 5/18/71, and National Historic Landmark: 1/7/76. Also part of the University Heights Historic District (NRHP 12/17/82).

Bradley, a chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin, lived here from 1911-1914. Sigma Phi Fraternity acquired the property in 1914.
Bibliographic References:WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL "Hoofers founder Dr. Bradley, 97, dies 1/6/1976 MADISON CAPITAL TIMES "Built to Last." 5/25/1979 Milwaukee Journal SENTINEL "Of a Master Builder." 6/22/1997. Wisconsin State Journal 9/12/1999. City directories. Tax records. Building permit. Gordon D. Orr, Jr., "The Collaberation of Claude and Starck...", Prairie School Review, 1975. University Heights: A Walk Through A Turn of the Century Suburb. WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL "Bizarre fire damages historic Bradley House." 9/27/2003. WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL "Taking care of history." 8/5/2007 Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. Sandstone and Buffalo Robes: Madison's historic buildings, second edition, 1973. Madison Landmarks Commission and the Regent Neighborhood Association, The University Heights Historic District: A Walking Tour, 1987. Madison Houses 1836-1915 by Jill Moore Marx Perrin, Richard W. E., Historic Wisconsin Architecture, First Revised Edition (Milwaukee, 1976). A Celebration of Architecture: Wisconsin Society of Architects Tour of Significant Architecture, 1979. Madison Landmarks Commission, University Heights: A Walk Through A Turn of the Century Suburb, n.d.
RECORD LOCATION
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

Have Questions?

If you didn't find the record you were looking for, or have other questions about historic preservation, please email us and we can help:

If you have an update, correction, or addition to a record, please include this in your message:

  • AHI number
  • Information to be added or changed
  • Source information

Note: When providing a historical fact, such as the story of a historic event or the name of an architect, be sure to list your sources. We will only create or update a property record if we can verify a submission is factual and accurate.

How to Cite

For the purposes of a bibliography entry or footnote, follow this model:

Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory Citation
Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, "Historic Name", "Town", "County", "State", "Reference Number".