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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Agricultural dean's house,   pp. 80-81

Page 80

Fig. 1. 10 North
Babcock c. 1974.
[series 9/3 Dean's
House, jf-19]
Built as the private residence of dean of agriculture William Henry in 1896, the
house served as housing for the ag dean until 1945, then for president emeritus Fred
until 1980 when it became Agricultural Research Offices. It was added to the Na-
tional Register of Historic Places in 1984.
W        lliam Arnon Henry came to the University of Wisconsin in 1880, when the Agricultural
I   ldepartment existed almost entirely on paper. Within ten years he had attracted enough
atntion outside the state to have received lucrative job offers from Iowa State College and
Stanford University and for Wisconsin to try to keep him. When UW President Thomas Chamberlin
asked dean Henry what terms would induce him to stay, Henry asked for a salary of $3500 per year
and a house costing between $4000 and $5000 to be constructed prior to 1893. He also asked for a
raise for Stephen Babcock.1 The regents agreed and met his salary requests. However, nothing was
done about the house until in 1895 Henry was offered a job at the New York Experiment Station and
the regents suddenly remembered that they had promised him a house. The regents upped Henry's
salary to $4500 and the house appropriation to $6,500.2 They advertised for construction bids on
January 21, 1896. On April 21, 1896, they accepted the bid of T. C. McCarthy at $8,510 and added
$2000 to the appropriation.3 The site had been moved (at the suggestion of Dean Henry) from the
lake shore (the present site of Adams and Tripp Halls) to the edge of the experimental farm. The
plans were developed and drawn by architects Conover and Porter with considerable input from Mrs.
Henry (who called the house "Lake Dormer"). Funds were to come from the surplus of the Agricul-
tural Department. Construction took place in the summer of 1896. The house has two stories and an
attic over a full basement. The walls are brick, the foundation stone. It is about 285 by 160 feet in

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