Last year at this time I described indoor spaces that display historic photographs of Madison. I offered it as an alternative tour, a way to see the old city by ducking into warm spaces to get away from the cold.
I promised a second installment and this year’s tour runs the length of State Street, from the Capitol Square to Library Mall.
The first stop is 100 State St., now home to Ian’s Pizza. To see historic photos of the building, use the entrance at the Carroll Street corner which is the elevator lobby for the offices above. The undated photos give a good idea of how the building’s occupants have changed, including Keeley’s Place of Sweets and Collier’s Drugstore when the building opened in 1901 and a later rooftop sign for WISC radio (which evolved into WISM and WMGN).
The next opportunity to spot old photos is four blocks west, beyond the borders of Capitol Neighborhoods and may require a break for coffee, tea or cocoa to keep warm. When you arrive at Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 564 State St., duck in to see an eclectic collection of images, many of them enlarged postcard views including the Capitol, Science Hall and Bascom Hall. Other historic photos are scattered about the restaurant.
It’s a short walk to the UW Credit Union at 662 State St. to see five photos of buildings and student life as it used to be. My favorite shows a student studying in the Law Library’s old reading room with John Steuart Curry’s mural “The Freeing of the Slaves” in the background.
Just across Lake Street is the main entrance to the UW Memorial Library where you may have to request a visitor pass to get beyond the entry desk. Turn left for the circulation area and you’ll find delightful old photos of the building inside and out. Several show the Quonset huts erected on the Library Mall in 1946 to handle the post-war enrollment boom; they were removed in 1954 to make way for the freshly landscaped mall.
Though I’m looking ahead to warmer weather, I’m also plotting another cold-weather history tour.