Madison Street Historic District
Also known as: Tower HillJct. of Madison, Randall, and Third Sts., Waukesha, Wisconsin
Nine residences of historic significance on a bluff overlooking downtown Waukesha
This sign appears on a Madison Street curve on the way up the hill.
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in April 2016
+43.01391, -88.2370043°00'50" N, 88°14'13" W
"The Madison Street Historic District is a small enclave of fine, mostly single family late nineteenth and early twentieth century houses placed in the midst of an historically important residential neighborhood located four blocks northwest of the downtown commercial section of the city of Waukesha. The district is situated near the crest of a high, steeply sloping bluff overlooking the Fox River and the adjacent central business district below and it surrounds the intersection where Madison Street, Third Street, and Randall Street join. This intersection acts as a gateway to the larger neighborhood around it and at its center is a small triangular-shaped grass and tree covered public space bounded by Madison and Randall Streets called Park View Park (Map No. 4). When the first buildings in the district were being built, Waukesha was just beginning to establish a widespread reputation as a resort community due to the large number of medicinal springs found in the area. As a consequence, Waukesha's population grew from 2500 in 1870 to 8740 in 1910 during this era. Subsequently, Waukesha became a manufacturing center and the city entered the modern era of its development and today, thanks in part to its proximity to the neighboring metropolis of Milwaukee, Waukesha has become the eighth largest city in Wisconsin with a population of 53,941.
"The Madison Street Historic District contains nine residential buildings as well as six associated garage buildings. Six of these residences were constructed during the district's first period of significance between 1875-1895 and the oldest of them, the fine brick Italianate style Senator William Blair house (434 Madison Street, Map No. 10), was built between 1876-1877 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1983 as part of the Multiple Resource Nomination of Waukesha. The five other houses in the district built during this period are all excellent, highly intact, predominantly weatherboard-sided examples of the Queen Anne style while the three remaining American Foursquare and American Craftsman style-influenced buildings were built between 1913-1923 during the district's second period of significance. Both of these periods are essentially identical with those during which the major growth in the surrounding neighborhood occurred. In fact, with the single exception of the architecturally and geographically more imposing William Blair house, buildings in the district are similar to others in the surrounding residential area in terms of type and architectural style although their more prominent location is reflected in their somewhat more elaborate design and in their somewhat greater size. What truly sets buildings in the district apart from others in the area, however, is the much higher degree of integrity most of the district's buildings exhibit. While the surrounding area has remained a neighborhood of mostly single family houses exhibiting much the same mix of nineteenth and twentieth century buildings as those in the district, many of these buildings have been altered and most are either lesser examples of recognized architectural styles or are examples of vernacular buildings. As a result, the buildings in the Madison Street Historic District represent both the finest and the most intact grouping of historic houses surviving in this part of present-day Waukesha."
Quotation from a document prepared for the National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Registration Form dated January 24, 1989 prepared by Timothy F. Heggland.
National Register information
- Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 22, 1990
- Reference number
- Architectural styles
- Victorian: Italianate; Victorian: Queen Anne; Other architectural type; American Foursquare
- Area of significance
- Level of significance
- Evaluation criteria
- C - Design/Construction
- Property type
- Historic functions
- Single dwelling; Multiple dwelling
- Current functions
- Single dwelling; Multiple dwelling; Clinic
- Periods of significance
- 1900-1924; 1875-1899
- Number of properties
- Contributing buildings: 8
Contributing sites: 1
Non-contributing buildings: 6
- April 14, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos