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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

University Club,   pp. 144-147

Page 145

Fig. 2. The University Club between 1912 and 1924. The old Parkinson House center, with the first
two additions: the west, 1912 section at the right, and the 1924 dormitory wing to the south, behind
the house on the left. [Meuer Photo, M205]
availability of this property was a strong incentive in the formation of the university club. As early as
March 1906 plans had been made to take an option on the Parkinson house by the organization. The
title to the property did not change hands until April 1907 (for $18,000) but the club was already in
physical possession when they incorporated in February 1907. The club listed the cost of repairs and
remodelling of the fire-damaged house as $6,000. As remodelled the old house contained the recep-
tion hall, club room, dining room, card and writing rooms, and the third floor and attic bedrooms and
servants quarters. The club planned additions almost immediately. A sketch published in February
1906 shows a large three story brick building very much like the one eventually constructed on the
site. Though unsigned it is possible that this initial design was done by university supervising architect
Arthur Peabody. Peabody was a member of the club and applied in April of 1907 for the permission
of the regents to do architectural work for the club without compensation. The regents granted
permission.3 The earliest blueprints are unsigned. The 1912 and 1924 additions are the work of local
architects, Law, Law and Potter, and they are commonly given credit for the original design.4 From
the beginning the plan was to establish the club in the old Parkinson house and expand as needed. Part
of the appeal of the Parkinson property was the size of the lot (86 x 132 feet), which provided room
for such expansion.
The first addition to the clubhouse was finished by February 1908 [see Fig. 2]. It was a wing
of dark brick with concrete floors and a red tile roof (later lost) on the west side of the old house and
connected to it. The new three story wing contained a first floor billiard room, a dining room, which
extended through from the old house; the second and third floors were laid out for sleeping quarters
and studies, and were connected to the old house through fireproof doors. Each floor had a general
toilet and shower room. Nineteen sleeping rooms were provided. In the basement there was a "Con-
versation Room in Medieval style, with brick paved floor, brick fireplace and arched ceiling, stained
glass casement windows, where good cheer as well as good will may be enjoyed."'5 Because the old
house still presented a fire hazard, the new part had a fire escape that was accessible from both parts

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