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

Hydraulics laboratory,   pp. 104-105

Page 104

Fig. 1. Hydraulics lab
from Lake Mendota c.
1940. The sections
from left to right are:
the c. 1890 pump
house, the 1929 tank
house, and the 1905
hydraulics lab. A
1970s addition added
outdoor stair cases to
the exterior of the lab
section. [series 9/2
Pumping Station, jf-
S.....                                        27]
The hydraulics building is a combination of three separate buildings, the pump house
that dates from at least 1890, the hydraulics laboratory erected in 1905, and the tank
house that connects them from 1928. The building now houses hydraulic and environ-
mental engineering.
A     ts early as 1890 there was a pumping station on the shore of Lake Mendota to supply water to
L    the university. Very early on this pump was also required to supply the state capitol building
I      with water delivered through a line running up State Street.
When engineering professor Daniel Mead came to the university in 1904 he had a strong
inclination to do research, and began a campaign to remove the study of hydraulics from its cramped
quarters in the engineering building on Bascom Hill. He consulted with the university's supervising
architect J. T. W. Jennings on the design and placement of a suitable building for hydraulics research,
but for financial reasons the building was put off until 1905. By the time work commenced in the fall
of 1905 architect Jennings had been replaced by Arthur Peabody, who judging from extant drawings
left the interior arrangement and layout of the building alone and made alterations to the design of the
exterior. Construction was begun too late in 1905 to finish before winter came. The regents report of
1904-1905 says that "the building was temporarily enclosed for instructional use during 1905-6 ... and
has by its removal relieved to a slight extent the congestion in the main engineering building."2 The
new building stood by itself on the lakeshore about 80 feet west of the old university pumping station.
The new hydraulics lab comprised three stories above a basement, forty eight by ninety eight
feet. In a feature magazine article about the new building, professor Mead describes the layout in
detail.1 The basement contained the main pump to draw in lake-water and supply it to the various

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