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Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

Elizabeth Waters Hall,   pp. 232-233

Page 233

Fig. 2. Liz Waters c. 1940
looking northeast. Note the
student observatory near the
bottom of the picture, the
observatory hill office is across
Observatory Drive from the
front of Liz Waters. [Series 8/3,
February 1939. Near the time this phase of construction was completed the design for the building
appears to have been completed. The regents describe it as "Five connected units of dormitories for
women including kitchen and dining rooms. Total capacity is 478."4 In February 1939 the regents
decided, with the recommendation of D. L. Halverson, directory of dormitories and commons, to
name the new dormitory Elizabeth Waters Hall.5
Contracts for construction of the women's dormitory were let by the regents in April 1939.
The general construction contract went to the Maurice Schumacher Co. for $158,000. Subcontracts
brought the total to $341,006. Construction proceeded smoothly and the building was ready for
public inspection on May 19, 1940 during the annual Parent's Weekend.6 The three story steel-framed
lannonstone faced "superdorm" contains 239 double rooms, half of which have lake views, in five
units, each unit with a kitchenette and date parlour.7 The interior was designed by Leon Pescheret,
the noted Chicago interior designer, who had designed the memorial union interiors. Different deco-
rating and color schemes were used in each of the five units of Liz Waters.
The new dorm was integrated quickly into the growing university housing community along
Lake Mendota. Elizabeth Waters Hall is one of the few dormitories on campus that was not inte-
grated when the dormitories system went coed in the 1970s. This is because of the somewhat peculiar
structure of the five connected sections which requires that to get to a rear unit from the front door,
one must pass through all intervening units.8
1) Regent's Minutes, January 17-18, 1939, October 14, 1938, March 8, 1939
2) Greeley to Peterson, July 23, 1937, archives series 24/1/1 box 137.
3) Daily Cardinal, October 9, 1938, p. 8.
4) Regents Minutes, January 17-18, 1939; Daily Cardinal, October 20, 1938.
5) Regents Minutes, February 11, 1939. Elizabeth Agnes Waters had died March 3, 1933, and was one of the most
mourned of University figures. In a memorial passed by the regents March 7, 1933, President Glenn Frank said" It is
with difficulty that I associate the word shadow with Elizabeth Waters even in death. The memory of her radiance
belies the word." The Wisconsin legislature passed a joint resolution (#67, A) on March 7, 1933 honoring her life and
career. Waters served as a University regent from 1911 to her death, at which time she was vice president of the
6) Teicher and Jenkins, A History of Hoiusing at the University of Wisconsin, p. 38; Regent's papers, April 25, 1939.
7) Wisconsin State Journal, April 18, 1940.
8) Badger Herald, January 31-February 3, 1974 p. 2.

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