[chapter 3][p. 66]
III. MADISON AS AN EDUCATIONAL CENTER
Madison is also a prominent center of higher education and that fact should have a profound influence upon the character of the city and its plan. The University of Wisconsin, located here, is not an isolated and detached institution of higher learning; it is the crowning feature of a state-wide system of popular education. Moreover, its services do not terminate in the preparation of young men and young women; it has vital relations with the State government, with every city in the commonwealth, and with the entire adult population. This is no place for a description of its wide influence, its varied activities, nor[p. 70] its remarkable ideal, much of which has already been realized. The significance of the University with which we are now concerned is its influence upon the city plan of Madison. That influence manifests itself in two ways - in the development of the grounds and buildings of the University itself and in the establishment in Madison of forms, forces and expressions of science, art, and culture that must tend to differentiate Madison from all other cities of the State.
The University of Wisconsin is already the most important feature of Madison, now occupying with its two score of buildings over 350 acres of land. This tract begins at the end of State Street and stretches westward along the shores of Lake Mendota over hill and dale and marsh for a distance of a mile or more. But extensive as these grounds may appear to be, they are in no sense adequate, and as with the Capitol, so with the University, the new city plan should attempt to forecast future needs and to reasonably provide for them.
The most serious lack is that of garden and landscape features. A University, especially a State University devoted largely to horticultural and agricultural interests, should naturally recognize the scientific, practical, and aesthetic value of the beautiful, open-air laboratories that have proved so useful in other places. The University of Wisconsin should have a first class botanical garden of at least 20 acres; a water garden and aquarium; a good-sized arboretum, say, 200 acres, (the Arnold Arboretum in Boston has more than 200 acres); a University forest of from 1,000 to 2,000 acres, (the Harvard forest contains 2,000 acres); a summer engineering camp on the shores of Lake Mendota; and a University pleasure garden, as large, for [p. 71][p. 72] example, as that of Worcester College, Oxford. The location of many universities is such that these features must now be provided at a distance from the university or not at all. But the University of Wisconsin is at present happily situated on the border of open country, farm land and forest. This adjacent property could now be purchased in great tracts on relatively reasonable terms and University and the people of the State thereby secure the inestimable advantages of a centralization of collections and opportunities for instruction; and at the same time make the State Capital a far more important center for uplifting pleasure, education, and culture. It is my opinion that the State of Wisconsin could make no better investment than would be represented in the acquisition at once of several thousand acres along the shores of Lake Mendota, immediately west of the present boundary of the University, carrying its line all the way to Eagle Heights. [p. 73] Such a reservation would be justified under the new policy of the State with regard to State parks, as well as on other grounds. By securing this property early, very large sums of money could be saved, the existing fine growth of native trees preserved, and a consistent policy of development adopted that would within a decade increase many fold Leland Stanford University and some other universities, it would greatly surpass the older universities of the Eastern States, which are cramped in their development by the narrower ideals of the scope of higher education which prevailed when they [p. 74] were established. Wisconsin should shake herself free from such limitations; she should not voluntarily accept such handicaps; she should promptly and boldly take a stand for a larger view of education and support it by establishing the broader physical basis which must sooner or later prove indispensable.
In addition to the development of the University itself, Madison should become more and more of an educational city through the establishment therein of the various forms, forces and expressions of science, art and culture. In Europe, every kingdom, petty principality or dukedom has its capital city embellished with splendid palaces, spacious gardens, museums, [1*] wide streets, art galleries, fine sculpture, theatres, and opera houses. Such embellishment has proved a source of new wealth, and it is well known that travelers spend millions of dollars a year in visits to these cities, thus justifying in another way the wisdom of the city makers. In a recent address in New York City Governor Hughes said:
"We want to have prosperity, but in order that prosperity and material gain shall not prove a curse instead of a blessing, we must do all we can to promote the refining influences of life - proper means of recreation, wholesome enjoyment, the cultivation of those capabilities for delight and pleasure which alone makes the gains of prosperity a blessing to the human soul."
There is no question that the business success and commercial wealth of Wisconsin will soon seek to express itself more definitely in art and the higher formals of education, and the most natural outlet for this expression will be the city of Madison - the permanent seat of government and education. This spirit may be expected to show
"Among the arts,"
wrote Charles Eliot Norton,
"the one that has alike the closest and the widest relations to the life of a people - to its wants, habits and culture - and which gives [p. 76][p. 77] [p. 78][p. 79] the fullest and most exact expression to its moral disposition, its imagination and its intelligence, is that of architecture."
Museums, libraries, public gardens, parks and beautiful natural scenery will also be among these new educational forces and, it is hoped, the theatre, whose
NEW THEATRE, NEW YORK.
"in regard to our drama, there can be no sounder, no more enlighteningconviction than this truth: that by whatever name we choose to call it, the influence of our theatres is a colossal, a national influence in forming the taste, the moral will, and mental capacity of our people. Whether we know it or not, our theatres are supplied in passion, imagination [p. 82] [p. 83]
On the whole a convenient and orderly arrangement of university buildings. Many of the limitations, however, of the older universities may be avoided in the plans for the new institutions of the West, provided action is taken in time.[p. 84][p. 85] [p. 86] and delight with means of appeal far more potent than any possessed by our schools and colleges; and whether we like it or not, night after night, year after year, our theatres are educating our people, by the millions and tens of millions. The question is, Shall the theatres educate these millions right or wrong?
I believe, therefore, that the city plan of Madison will fail in one important point if it neglects to consciously conceive of this city as an educational and art center, one that should provide adequately for the expansion of the University and for the many fine and varied expressions of art and culture in the city itself. Education will thus contribute toward making Madison a model city and Madison in turn as a city will become one of the greatest educational forces of the State, for art is not only the flowering of civilization, it is also its seed.
[1*] A capital like Budapest, for example, has, in addition to the Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Industrial Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Antiquities and Natural History, the Technological Museum, the Museum of Traffic, the Educational Museum, the Geological Museum, the Commercial Museum, and the Agricultural Museum. The latter which would be of great interest and value to a state like Wisconsin, contains an extraordinary series of studies in agriculture, in stock-raising, in forestry, and in mining.
[2*] Author of "The Playhouse and the Play," "The Civic Functions of the Theatre," etc.
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