Henry Mall Historic District

420, 425, 440, 445, 460 and 465 Henry Mall and 1450 Linden Dr., Madison, Wisconsin

A long block, grass mall lined with buildings from the School of Agriculture on the UW Campus


Agriculture Hall

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2017




"The Henry Mall Historic District consists of a block-long, beautifully landscaped mall around whose edges are placed seven sizable institutional Duildings belonging to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This district is located near the heart of the instructional core of the sprawling 192-building University of Wisconsin campus. (Editor's Note: 388 buildings as of 2014 and still increasing.) Included within it are five contributing buildings built between 1906-1914, two of which are among the nine buildings built on the University[sic] campus between 1908 and 1914 to designs supplied by nationally-known University of Pennsylvania colleagues, architects Warren P. Laird and Paul P. Cret. Laira and Cret had been chosen by the Board of Regents of the University[sic] in 1906 to produce a master plan to guide the future expansion of the Madison campus. The resulting Beaux Arts style-influenced 'General Design for Future Constructional Development' was completed late in 1908. Although the plan was never formally implemented by the Regents it had a lasting influence on campus development, an influence that was partly due to the Regent's decision to retain Laird and Cret to design subsequent campus buildings in collaboration with Arthur Peabody, then the Campus Architect and the designer of the Agronomy Building, and the Agricultural Engineering Building, (NRHP 06-27-85); two of the district's oldest resources.

"Most of the buildings that resulted from this collaboration were designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style in order to bring visual uniformity to a campus that was then most notable architecturally for its stylistic diversity. Laird, and especially Cret, acted as the principal designers in this collaboration and the designs they supplied for the Agricultural Chemistry Building (Map No. 1 - 1912, NRHP 06-19-85) and the Wisconsin High School Building (Map No. 7 - 1913-1914) are both representative examples of their other work on the campus. These buildings were given prominent sites facing each other on the southwest and southeast corners that were formed Dy the intersection of the mall (tnen known as the Agricultural or the Lesser Mall) and the perpendicularly placed University Avenue and they were constructed of steel and reinforced concrete and surfaced in reddish brown and in buff colored brick, respectively. These buildings thus served to anchor tne south end of the mall (Map No. 8 - 1908), a planning element that Laird and Cret designed as an integral part of their 1908 master plan and one that is considered to be one of tne district's contributing resources. Laird and Cret positioned the mall at this point in order to take advantage of the already existing Agriculture Hall Building (Map No. 4 - 1903, NRHP 03-14-85), an excellent large-scale Neoclassical Revival style building designed by J.T.W. Jennings (Peabody's predecessor). This building anchors the north end of the mall and commands an elevated position overlooking it. These five contributing buildings were then later joined by two other non-contributing Modern Movement style buildings that completed the design of the mall. These buildings are the Stovall Laboratory of Hygiene (Map No. 5 - 1951) and the Genetics Building (Map No. 6 - 1961). Although several of these buildings have had later additions attached to them and have undergone other modifications, all of them have been well maintained and are in excellent condition today.

"In addition to these eight resources (seven buildings and one site), the district also contains two other resources. These resources consist of a contributing commemorative statue of William Dempster Hoard designed by noted sculptor Gutzon Borglum (the creator of Mount Rushmore), which is located on the upper portion of Henry Mall (Map No. 9 - 1922); and a commemorative boulder that bears a plaque honoring Dean of Agriculture William Arnon Henry that is located on the lower end of the mall (Map No. 10 - 1924)."

Excerpt from the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form prepared by Timothy F. Heggland/Consultant: for Hammel Green and Abrahamson. Inc., May 16, 1991. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

William Dempster Hoard Memorial 

Written by Timothy F. Heggland, 1991

"One of two memorial objects that have been placed on Henry Mall is this outstanding statue of William Dempster Hoard of Fort Aktinson, Wisconsin. Hoard was the influential founder and publisher of Hoard's Dairyman Magazine, a major disseminator of information about progressive dairy farming techniques, and he also served as the Governor of Wisconsin from 1889-1891 and as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin. In order to create a memorial on the College of Agriculture campus dedicated to Hoard's memory the University chose the celebrated American sculptor Gutzon Borglum (1867-1941), whose best known work is Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Borglum's finished work for the University was completed in 1922 and consisted of a simple white marble base that is comprised of two tall rectilinear marole panels that are supported by three slightly taller square plan pedestals. Eacn of the two panels features figures of dairy cows carved in raised relief and Borglum then crowned tne center pedestal with a bronze half-length bust of Hoard."

Quotation from the National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form prepared by Timothy F. Heggland/Consultant: for Hammel Green and Abrahamson. Inc., May 16, 1991. A link to the document is listed below under "Sources."

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 22, 1992
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival; Victorian: Renaissance; Other architectural type; Italian Renaissance
Areas of significance
Community Planning and Development; Science; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Work of art (sculpture, carving, rock art); College; Plaza; Research facility
Current functions
Work of art (sculpture, carving, rock art); College; Plaza; Research facility
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
1903; 1906; 1912
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5
Contributing sites: 1
Contributing objects: 2
Non-contributing buildings: 2

Update Log 

  • September 3, 2017: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • September 3, 2017: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Description and Added Photos