University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The University of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Feldman, Jim / The buildings of the University of Wisconsin

University houses,   pp. 249-250

Page 249

Fig. 1. University Houses
going up, January 6,
1948. [series 26/1, Uni-
versity Houses, x25-
4At       2152]
University Houses were built in response to the enormous post WW II enrollment
increase. Housing for professors was very scarce. Built in 1947, fundingfor the
faculty apartments was handled by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF),
who then presented the project to the University as a gift in 1951.
I n the explosion of enrollment that more than doubled the student population from 1945 to 1947,
the most obvious needs were for classroom and lab space, and student housing. These primary
eeds were met by temporary buildings and quonset huts, temporary housing at Truax field,
Badger Ordnance works, and other emergency measures. A less obvious need was housing for the
faculty which rose from 900 to 1300. Because federal money, the mainspring of wartime housing
projects was aimed at student housing, funding was not available for faculty housing. The situation
grew acute, with professors commuting up to fifty miles, enduring wretched quarters in Madison, and
one recorded as living on a houseboat on Lake Mendota. One out of eight faculty members had no
place for his family. Recruits refused to join the faculty unless housing was provided.'
University president E. B. Fred, who had himself been a homeless professor, when he first
came to Madison, was concerned that the lack of faculty housing would cripple the university, and
appealed for private interests for help. No private contractors showed interest. During the summer of
1946, the directors of the Wisconsin Alumni Foundation (WARF) discussed the issues with Fred, and
in July 1946 agreed to finance $2 million worth of construction of faculty apartments on University
land. The University would pay 1 percent interest on the unpaid loan, and amortize the total for fifty
years. The housing project would be administered by University Houses Incorporated, a non-profit
corporation operated by WARE. The regents had selected as a site a twelve acre plot between the
University orchard and the village of Shorewood Hills. This land had been donated to the University
by the Thomas Brittingham foundation. Late in 1946, after the state refused to allow basement apart-
ments in the project, several more acres, and another $500,000 were allotted for more buildings.2
University Houses Inc., directed by Boynton Butler of WARF selected architects Leonard

Go up to Top of Page