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Feldman, Jim (Writer) / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Hiram Smith Annex,   pp. 129-130

Page 130

July 21, 1909, and the earth removed from the excavation was moved to the site of the horticulture
potting house and greenhouses then on the drawing boards.
By December of 1909, the building was ready for the pouring of the second floor concrete. By
March 1910 the walls were complete and roof trusses were in place. Through the summer of 1910,
despite short delays due to labor difficulties, supply problems, and the overextension of the contrac-
tor, the building went steadily ahead. In September 1910, architect Peabody reports: "The building
was practically completed during the month of September a few minor details still needing atten-
In Dean Russell's report to the regents in October 1910, the dean describes the new building:
The facilities of the dairy department have been increased by the erection of a two-story
and basement building, 46 X 84 feet, immediately in the rear of the old dairy building. The
basement will be used for additional working space for creamery machinery and foreign
cheese work, the first floor for a dairy laboratory for long course students, and for milk supply
work, while the upper floor includes lecture and locker space.3
The finished building cost $13,275.35 and was built with concrete foundation and floors. The
exterior walls are of hydraulic pressed brick, the sills, courses and other cut stone work are of
Bedford limestone. The second floor has applied decoration reflecting the style of the earlier Hiram
Smith Hall to the west and the later soils annex to the north. The roof is red tile.
This building is in such an obscure location that few people on campus even know of its
existence, and in fact the current occupants [1993] do not get direct mail delivery, but have their mail
delivered to the soils building and transferred from there.
The dairy department did not find permanent relief in the annex. Some old-timers in Madison
remember getting free buttermilk from the dairy labs in the annex during the 1930s. The department
continued to expand and moved into other quarters around the agriculture campus including Agricul-
ture Hall and the old agronomy building at 440 Henry Mall. In 1953 the department moved into
Babcock Hall, and the role of the annex became that of temporary "surge space" for new or over-
crowded departments.
After the dairy department left for good in 1953 the annex was remodelled and became the
home of veterinary medicine. In a classic case of a little room going a very long way, the veterinary
science building held in its 12,000 square feet bacteriology, immunology, virology and pathology
(some of which now have large buildings of their own). This went on until 1962 when the veterinary
science building went up on Linden Drive. After veterinary medicine the next occupant of the dairy
annex was the poultry department who had outgrown their little frame house on University Avenue
and moved into Smith Hall in the late 1950s and from there into the annex in the 1960s.4
Around 1969 the last of the poultry and food science offices left for the new animal science
building, making way for the ever-expanding soils department. Previous expansions by the soils had
required the construction of a separate horticulture building (1910), and the addition of the soils
annex to King Hall (1916). A major ($1.5 million) interior remodelling of the old dairy annex was
done in 1993 to provide modem laboratory facilities for soils. The soils department remains the sole
occupant of the old dairy annex.
1) Regents Minutes, December 16, 1908, vol. G p. 230. The other two buildings planned at that time were the addition
to the soils building, which was not completed until 1916, and the head house and potting shed eventually erected
behind the horticulture building.
2) Minutes of the Executive Committee, July 19, 1909. Monthly architect's reports are in the papers of the Executive
3) Regents Report, 1910 p. 155.
4) University Directories; and Gordon Orr, Perspectives of a University. At the regents meeting of November 1950, the
building was renamed the Veterinary Science Building.

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