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Header: Jess Anderson in Madison Wisconsin
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Madison: Photos Of The City And Environs
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Photos I took myself except where noted, divided into three categories: Madison proper, the UW-Madison campus, and the region surrounding Madison. You can see the full-size picture by clicking on the small one.

In the interim since I first created this site, more complex and sophisticated web-based photo-sharing facilities have proliferated. If that's of interest, check out my Flickr site.


Madison

{icon} I-90 passes east of Madison. Chicago is 150 miles southeast, Minneapolis 250 miles northwest. [Expedia]
{icon} This map shows the town's layout and relationship of the city's land and lakes. [Wisconline]
{icon} A map of Madison's downtown. It gives a sense of the relationship between the campus and the center of the city.
{icon} Wisconsin's Capitol is very elegant in its proportions and amazingly lavish in its interior decoration. East-wing facade on a bright Saturday morning.
{icon} Capitol dome interior.
{icon} One of these elaborate barrel-vaulted galleries points in each of the cardinal directions. When I say the decorations are lavish, I mean that for example all the gilding is real gold, and there's a lot of it.
{icon} Especially rich-colored mosaics adorn the curving walls between the galleries. This one lies between the west and south galleries; the latter is being refurbished. As with most things involving governments, the work is being done out of the public's view (heh heh). 2007: The refurbishment was finished last year. The building is now truly resplendent.
{icon} The Capitol is visible from about anywhere in central Madison. This view is from a pedestrian bridge over University Avenue on campus.
{icon} Lake Mendota, in the background, is about five feet higher than the second-largest lake, Lake Monona. This dam gate maintains the levels of the two lakes. The lock on the left allows small-boat traffic to travel between the lakes along a half-mile stretch of the Yahara River.
{icon} The Monona Terrace project, designed 60 years ago by Frank Lloyd Wright and revised by the Wright Fellowship years later, has finally been built, after an incredible number of delays and fierce (mostly idiotic) political battles. It serves as Madison's major convention center.

The grand opening was a monument of excessive hoopla. Wright might not have been too horrified by the building's exterior masses, but he'd probably have a stroke over the details, especially the interior. I've fashioned a short Monona Terrace photo album showing the completed structure.

{icon} One of Wright's most impressive designs was the Meeting House for the Unitarian Society in Madison. This view is from the street immediately below the chapel.
{icon} A similar view, but in winter.
{icon} Seen from the side like this, the tree obscuring the building reduces the scale somewhat and mutes the great upward sweep of the chapel roofline.
{icon} The space inside the Unitarian Meeting House is far more intimate than you might expect. Though it doesn't have particularly good acoustics, the room is the site of a good summer concert series, one that I've played in fairly often.



UW-Madison campus

{icon} Bascom Hall, the home of the Chancellor and the Graduate School, the crowning feature of "the hill." Bascom and the Capitol sit on hills at the opposite ends of State St. The contraposition is more than cosmetic.
{icon} There used to be a clear view of the Capitol from the top of Bascom Hill, but as you see here, it's now partially obscured by a recent addition to the main library. There was an enormous flap about it at the time, in fact the top two floors of the library addition were not completed, a very costly change of plans, since the steel had already been erected.
{icon} The "old" Education building, put up in 1900. The garish red paint is a common feature in the land of Bucky Badger. I think it's symbolic that the doors to Education at the UW-Madison are distinctly on the narrow side. During the time of antiwar protests in the early 70s, I caught a wonderful picture of this portico, "protected" by soldiers with fixed bayonets.
{icon} The Law School sports a large new addition, very post-industrial in design. It (perhaps unwittingly) underscores a kind of factory orientation to modern education, I think, but the interior spaces, for all their exposed girders, are actually rather attractive.
{icon} During the War Between the States, the area that now holds the football stadium and engineering campus was a camp for the Union army. The gateway has been preserved, and in the field to the left are couple cannons and a tiny guardhouse. It's lovely now, but it must have been hellish then.
{icon} Its crenelated turrets guarding the lakefront and the Union parking lot, the Old Red Gym was the only men's recreation facility on the campus when I first came to town. It was recently remodeled into a very attractive student services center.
{icon} The front side of the Old Red Gym during its reconstruction. It's hard to see in this photo, but there is a wonderful and very old hawthorn tree just to the left of the entrance.
{icon} The terrace of the student union at the UW-Madison is on the shore of Lake Mendota. It's poorly maintained these days, but it is still a spectacular place. In the summer, it's a wonderful vantage point from which to observe violent thunderstorms as they rush across the lake toward the campus. I spent significant time, my first 6-7 summers in Madison, lounging on that pier. Not the first building, but the ones farther east of it, are private apartment complexes or fraternities.
{icon} Weather permitting, the Union Terrace is the scene of much music (a lot of it of dubious quality). Bands, singers and instrumentalists perform on this little stage most evenings. The crowds are sometimes huge, and as beer is available in our union, often pretty rowdy.
{icon} A crowded Friday afternoon. The lower half of the Terrace, seen here, is pretty full. There is a shadier, equally large upper half, unseen to the right, and another small piece behind the camera. Burgers and brats grilling are the source of the smoke.
{icon} Sunsets from the Union Terrace can be quite spectacular. Amazing numbers of people show up nightly to view the event, which usually includes calm waters like these and sails in silhouette.
{icon} As you might expect along a lakefront sailing is a major activity. These boats, seen early on a foggy morning, are waiting for a little breeze.
{icon} Wind surfing in late September requires a wet suit for sure; the water temperature is just over 50.
{icon} The terrace at night is really quite magical. The lighted Capitol dome is about a mile away.
{icon} Looking toward the upper end of Langdon St toward Science Hall, a campus relic. It was fun to ride the open-cage elevator to the 6th (top) floor, then sneak around to the back, where there was a spiral tubular fire escape that you sat down in and slid down. It was strictly forbidden, of course, but after a couple beers we'd go up there with sheets of waxed paper so it would be good and slick inside. It was quite a ride. Alas, it's long gone.
{icon} The Undergraduate Library also houses the Library School and the English department. The building is named after a famous English professor, Helen C. White.
{icon} The State Historical Society of Wisconsin is the most elegant of our traditional-style buildings. It's home to a major library collection and has a really wonderful large reading room behind that colonnade, with two-story ceiling and enormous solid cherry tables.
{icon} The Elvehjem Museum, though small, has a fairly select collection. The building is extra dear to me because in 1974, soon after the museum opened, I played my harpsichord debut recital in this airy interior courtyard.
{icon} Van Hise Hall, at 19 stories, is the tallest building in Madison. The University administration has claimed the top four floors for itself (naturally). The view from the glassed-in top-floor conference room is spectacular, and peregrine falcons nest on the small porch just outside the glass. Most of the building is for the foreign-language departments.
{icon} Washburn Observatory had (maybe still has) a 12" refractor, quite a good one, actually. But the lovely old building now houses the Institute for the Humanities.
{icon} A 90-degree turn to the right from the preceding reveals this view over Lake Mendota, which covers about 30 square miles. A thin peninsula, half a mile long, is part of the campus and a favorite destination of bicyclists and runners: Picnic Point.
{icon} Another 90-degree turn to the right from the preceding reveals this view over Lake Mendota.
{icon} In 1980, a campus political group (appropriately called the Pail and Shovel Party) lampooned widespread political apathy by erecting this large replica of the Statue of Liberty as though it were about to disappear below the ice of Lake Mendota.
{icon} Madison has only a few tall buildings and only this one is triangular. I call it "the house that vitamin D built," because it houses the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, formed originally to deal with the massive income resulting from royalties on patents covering the process by which vitamin D is added to every ounce of commerical fluid milk sold in the US. Then, as Wisconsin became a great research university, WARF has served as the fiducial agent for the hundreds of millions of dollars received from Federal and other grants every year.
{icon} Here we see two buildings: at the extreme left, about half of the Veterans Administration Hospital. Joined to it by an underground tunnel is the Clinical Sciences Center, which is mainly the UW Hospitals. At 1.2 million square feet, it is also the largest building in the state of Wisconsin. When the building first opened, a quite amazing feat was accomplished: breakfast was served in the old hospital and the noon meal was served in the new one. In the meantime, a fleet of ambulances and specially equipped semitrailers staffed by National Guard troops had moved about 500 patients, including the most critically ill ones in the intensive care unit, to the new facility without mishap.
{icon} For years and years, the University has craved a new sports arena. Thanks largely to a $25 million gift from Senator Herb Kohl, the Kohl Center, completed since this photo was taken, now fulfills that dream. This view does not really convey the enormous size of the structure.



Surrounding Madison

{icon} Across Lake Mendota from Madison (six miles as the crow flies, but about twice that by road) is one of Wisconsin's 50-odd State Parks, this one named in honor of a great conservationist of modern times, a former Wisconsin governor and distinguished US Senator, Gaylord Nelson. This photo was made on a very humid morning in July, the thickness of the air made virtually palpable over the placid waters of the lake.
{icon} Though the sun had been up for about an hour, the murk resisted burning off for several hours more. The dimly seen higher ground across the water is not Madison but the much nearer State Hospital grounds and beyond it the high-rent enclave called Maple Bluff, the site of some of the area's grandest (or most ostentatious, depending on your point of view) residences.

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