University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Old heating plant,   pp. 110-112

Page 110

The third of the university's central heating
plants, this plant went into service in 1909.
It provided heat to the whole University
until 1959 when the Charter Street plant
came on line. It is now used as shops for the
University physical plant.
Fig. 1. 1907, the heating plant during
construction, after the chimney is
finished, but before the main building
is done, taken from the south west. [9/
5 Heating Plant, jf-3 I]
n the years before 1888, the university had no central
heating plant. The few buildings were heated by wood
or coal furnaces and stoves. In 1888 as part of the
science hall group (see Appendix A) a central heating
station (now Radio Hall) was built for the buildings on
Bascom hill. A decade later a second plant (now Agricul-
tural Bulletin) was built to heat and power the agricultural
campus buildings. These heating plants served the univer-
sity well throughout most of the nineteenth century,
although the main central plarit required expansion several
times. However by 1905 a number of factors had arisen
which made those old plants insufficient.
The most significant of these was the ballooning
size of the campus. When the old plant was built, in 1888,
some of the regents drew laughter when they opined that
there might someday be an enrollment of 1,000 students at
the university. By 1905 the enrollment was over 3000.
This enrollment was necessarily served by more buildings.
Many of the new buildings were on the agriculture campus
( Smith, King, and Agriculture Halls), but the gymnasium,
the enlarged Chadbourne Hall, and the new chemistry
building increased the size of the central campus needing
heat and power. A further spur to the need for a new
central power plant was the planning input from consulting
architects Laird and Cret who argued that expansion
would necessarily take place westward for the agricultural
campus and to the south (across university Avenue, where
no university buildings had yet been built), further decen-
tralizing the existing 'central' heating plant.
Not all buildings were heated from the central
plants. Heating South Hall from the central plant only
became a topic of discussion after completion of Agricul-

Go up to Top of Page