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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Barnard Hall,   pp. 154-155

Page 155

By October the plans were completed. The contract for the excavation and foundation was let
on November 6, 1911 (for $3469) to the Muskegon Engineering and Construction Co. who began
work immediately in November 1911 and finished that winter. The contract for the superstructure
was signed March 18, 1912 with the Wisconsin Construction Company of Chippewa Falls for
$109,073. This contract stipulates that the entire building excepting the kitchen building be completed
by February 1, 1913. According to the monthly reports of supervising architect Peabody, work was
slightly delayed in the summer of 1912 because of a shortage of masons and high quality stone
(Barnard was the last University building faced entirely with Madison stone). The kitchen building, a
connecting link between Barnard and Chadbourne, was intended to consolidate the dining facilities
for the women's dorms. It ran into some difficulties in the fall and winter of 1912 which not only
delayed progress on the project but cost Mr. Peabody his position as supervisor of buildings, and
earned him the censure of the regents.5 The building [Barnard and the kitchen] was not finished until
June 1913.6 The grand opening was held at the gymnasium at Lathrop Hall on October 11, 1913, and
featured regents Florence Buckstaff and Elizabeth Waters, ending with a reception on the Barnard
terrace and a tour of Barnard and Chadbourne Halls.7
The building consists of a 150 ft. X 85 ft. central wing running north-south, with two 42 ft.
wings extending to the east on both ends enclosing a courtyard on the east side. The two level kitchen
building connects Barnard to Chadbourne Hall from the east end of the north wing. The dorm is four
stories high above a raised basement, built of Madison sandstone with concrete floors, tile partition
walls and a tile roof. There was initially accommodation for 136 students, with rooms in the attic
reserved for 22 servants (later turned into student rooms). The basement and ground floor dining
rooms have a total capacity of 240. The total cost of the dorm was $123,500. The somewhat informal
application of the campus' Italian Renaissance style makes Barnard Hall one of the most attractive of
the buildings on the campus from the Van Hise period, although the site and landscaping, as well as
the location of new Chadbourne Hall, keep its good looks hidden from most angles.8
The news that the university had built a new women's dormitory brought new students from
all over the state (state residents, and Madison city residents were given first priority) and the facili-
ties were soon filled again. It would be another thirty years before the construction of Elizabeth
Waters Hall would add to women's dormitory space.
Barnard Hall is named for Henry Barnard, noted educator and University president (1858-
1861).9 Barnard Hall became for a time in the late 1950s a graduate women's dorm, set up to emulate
the Knapp graduate center for male grad students.10 It has now reverted to an undergraduate
women's dorm. With the demolition of old Chadbourne Hall, Barnard has become the oldest continu-
ously used dormitory on the university campus.
1) A History of University Housing, Teicher and Jenkins, p. 20.
2) Among these were Jarvis Hunt of Chicago, the consulting architect on Birge Hall, and Chicago's Shepley, Rutan and
Coolidge. There were later recrimination and lawsuits over the fees for both these firms. The designs are surprisingly
similar to the ones finally used, indicating that the regents knew pretty clearly what they wanted, if not where they
wanted it.
3) Regent's Minutes, July 11, 1911.
4) Regent's Report, 1913-1914 p. 340.
5) Mr. Peabody omitted a grade line from the drawings for the kitchen excavation and when the mistake was discov-
ered, authorized the contractor to finish the excavation without getting an official order, from Peabody's memoire,
Short Resume of University Buildings p. 20. University Archives Peabody biographical folder.
6) Regent's Report, 1913-1914 p. 340.
7) The Daily Cardinal, October 11, 1913.
8) Regent's Report, 1913-1914, p. 340.
9) It is ironic that the building honoring Dr. Barnard should be a dormitory since he was expressly opposed to them.
See Thwaites p. 73 fnl.
10) Daily Cardinal, April 17, 1959, p. 3.

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