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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Old post office,   p. 225

Page 225

Fig. 1.317 North Randall St.
1993. The 1966 addition is at
- ..  ... ..the right. The side facing the
camera was the entrance to the
owl, ---                  oldpost office. The second story
of the front section is only 30
A Ifeet deep, and does not extend
_____  mm                 to the back ofthe building.
..             [Author Photo, AP- 16]
he plans forthis building are labelled "Post Office for Mr. Oscar Rennebohm", dated Septem-
ber 27, 1929, and signed by architect Phillip M. Homer. The general contractor was the Vogel
Brothers, who erected the building at a cost of $13,000. The post office building was 114 by
28 feet; framed with 2 X 10 wood joists, the walls built of common brick covered with face brick.1
From 1931 until 1961 the building was used as the University substation of the Federal Post
Office. In 1962 the building was rented by Mr. Rennebohm to the University, who used it as record
storage for the University Hospital, then at its old location in the 1300 block of University Avenue. In
1966 a one-story addition without basement, was designed and constructed for the owner by J. J. Flad.
This addition extended the building toward the south and east and was angled along the Johnson Street
right of way. The addition more than doubled the gross area of the building.2
In the summer of 1979, the Oscar Rennebohm Foundation donated the building and an adjoin-
ing vacant lot (1345 University Avenue) to the Wisconsin Foundation, a non-profit organization for the
channelling of private donations to the University. In November 1979 the Foundation notified chancel-
lor Shain that the property was ready to be given to the University. The regents formally accepted the
gift on December 14, 1979. The combined value of the land and building was $242,000.3
The University converted the old post office to its new use of housing the safety department. In
1994 the forty employees of the safety department left the old post office and moved to temporary
quarters on Lake Street. The building was taken over by graduate art students then housed in old
houses scattered around the campus. The art students are probably also temporary tenants, since plans
are afoot to build a new art building.
1) Plans in the files of the department of planning and construction.
2) Madison city directories; plans op. cit.
3) Agency Request for state building commission action, series 4/31/9-3 box 6, folder "Parking Lot #41"

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