North Hall (University of Wisconsin)

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North Hall, University of Wisconsin
North Hall, UW Madison.jpg
North Hall (University of Wisconsin) is located in Wisconsin
North Hall (University of Wisconsin)
North Hall (University of Wisconsin) is located in the US
North Hall (University of Wisconsin)
Location Madison, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°4′32.45″N 89°24′10.65″W / 43.0756806°N 89.4029583°W / 43.0756806; -89.4029583Coordinates: 43°4′32.45″N 89°24′10.65″W / 43.0756806°N 89.4029583°W / 43.0756806; -89.4029583
Built 1851
Architect John F. Rague
Architectural style Federal architecture
Part of Bascom Hill Historic District (#74000065)
NRHP Reference # 66000021
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL December 21, 1965[2]

North Hall, University of Wisconsin was the first structure on the University of Wisconsin campus. Located on Bascom Hill, it was built in 1851 at a cost of $19,000. John Muir resided in North Hall when he was a student at the University from 1860 to 1863.[3] It currently houses the offices of the political science faculty at the university.[4] Muir knoll, across the street, was home to the first American university ski tournament in 1920.[3]


North Hall was opened at the University of Wisconsin on September 17, 1851, as the North Dormitory. The sandstone building, which cost $19,000, was typical to educational buildings of the era. The four-story building is rectangular, has a hipped roof, and features little decoration. The east and west facades have eleven bays; the center five project slightly beyond the other six. Single-door entrances are found on these facades near the ends. A plain yet deep cornice decorates the roofline. Windows and doors have plain lintel blocks and eight interior chimneys protrude from the roof.[5]

As the initial design was as a dormitory, the building was originally divided into twenty-four suites with a study room and one or two bedrooms. Classrooms were built on the fourth floor. In 1884, a fire destroyed Science Hall, which housed many of the classes on campus, so North Hall was re-purposed to hold classes and offices on all floors. The exterior has retained its original appearance. The interior has been largely remodeled, although original staircases are in place and some rooms maintain their original arrangements.[5]


The original developmental plan for North Hall was produced in 1850 by Chancellor John Lathrop and illustrated by architect John F. Rague.[5] It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965.[2][5]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "North Hall, University of Wisconsin". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-12-30. 
  3. ^ a b McClelland, Harold E. "Oldest Buildings Saw U.W. Reach Manhood." Wisconsin State Journal [Madison] 21 Nov. 1948. Print. UW Madison Archives.
  4. ^ A Brief History of North Hall--The First Building Constructed on the University of Wisconsin Campus [1]
  5. ^ a b c d Blanche Higgins Shroer and S. Sydney Bradford (May 1975) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: North Hall, University of Wisconsin, National Park Service and Accompanying 3 photos, exterior, from 1975.

External links[edit]

  • North Hall in The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin