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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Old infirmary,   pp. 176-177

Page 176

Fig. 1. Original infirmary
from the west. c. 1920.
The 1930 addition was
attached to the end of
the infirmary at the right
of the picture. [G1026]
This building was built in 1917 with donated funds and served as a student infirmary,
then medical school space until the late 1980s when it became home of the depart-
ment of social work A 1930 addition enlarged the infirmary and connected it to the
Wisconsin General Hospital.
n 1916 there was considerable controversy surrounding the idea of the University founding a four
year medical college. But in the wake of a 1908 typhoid scare at the university medical dean
Charles Bardeen and president Van Hise argued strongly for building at least a student infirmary.
There was a small student health clinic beginning in 1910 under Dr. Evans at 821 State Street
later moved [1914] to the Raymer house on Langdon Street. This too was quickly outmoded, al-
though its high level of use by the students helped pave the way for later developments. For a time
also a commercial arrangement was made for supervised care of students with Madison General
Hospital (on whose board of directors was Charles Bardeen). Indeed at one time in 1911 Bardeen
proposed building a student infirmary as an annex to Madison General.
Private donations were sought for an infirmary, and in June 1917 large donations were re-
ceived from the family of Harold C. Bradley ($50,000), T. E. Brittingham ($25,000), and a Mr. Carl
Johnson (who hoped with little success to remain anonymous, $25,000 ) and the legislature re-
sponded with an appropriation of $50,000.1 After deciding to build with this unexpected bounty not
only a student infirmary but the first unit of a research hospital (Bradley Memorial), the regents
decided to locate the infirmary and hospital on the property they already owned in the area bounded
by University Avenue on the south, Linden Drive on the north, Charter Street on the east and Warren
[later Lorch] Street on the west.
In the general plan of 1908 by Laird Cret and Peabody, this area had been reserved for the

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