Historical photo of Ladies Hall from the late-1800s

History of University Housing

The history of student housing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison reflects the history of the campus itself, all the way back to 1851 when North Hall opened as UW’s first dormitory. While the buildings have changed over the decades, the tradition of on-campus housing has continued for over 160 years, providing a key part of the college experience to multiple generations of Badgers.

Photo Slideshow: 100 Years of Student Housing (courtesy of UW-Madison Libraries’ Archives)

University of Wisconsin Housing Chronology

1851: North Hall opens

1855: South Hall opens

1863: University women take up residence in South Hall

1867-68: Female College established

1871: Female College Building opens; men reoccupy South Hall

1874: Female College Building renamed Ladies’ Hall

1885: Men’s dormitories in North and South Halls closed

1901: Ladies’ Hall renamed Chadbourne Hall

1904: Van Hise inaugural address

1908: Architectural Commission campus plan completed

1910: Lathrop Hall opens

1913: Barnard Hall opens

1924: Department of Halls and Commons renamed Department of Dormitories and Commons; Donald Halverson appointed Director of Dormitories and Commons; Dormitory Committee appointed

1926: Van Hise units (including Adams Hall and Tripp Hall) open; House Fellow System put into effect

1927: Experimental College occupies Adams Hall

1929: Report on University City submitted to regents

1938: A, B, and C of Kronshage units open

1939: Remaining five dormitories and dining facilities of Kronshage units open

1940: Elizabeth Waters Hall opens; Department of Dormitories and Commons renamed Division of Residence Halls

1945: Lee Burns appointed Director of Division of Residence Halls; Camp Randall trailer camp opens

1946: Truax Field facility opens; Badger Ordnance Works facility opens

1947: University Houses open; Slichter Hall opens

1954: Newell Smith appointed Director of Division of Residence Halls

1955: Zoe Bayliss and Schreiner houses open

1957: Eagle Heights apartments open

1958: Holt units on Elm Drive open (Cole HallSullivan Hall)

1959: Second set of Elm Drive units opens (Friedrick Center, Bradley Hall); new Chadbourne Hall opens

1960: Ten Year Housing Plan prepared

1961: Susan B. Davis House opens

1963: Rust House opens; Sellery Hall, first building of Southeast Dormitory Area, opens

1964: Witte Hall opens

1965: Ogg Hall (at 716 W. Dayton Street) and Gordon Commons open

1983: Norm Sunstad appointed Director of Division of University Housing

1986: Merit House opens

1998: Paul Evans appointed Director of Division of University Housing

2006: Smith Hall opens

2007: A new residence hall opens (at 835 W. Dayton Street); Ogg Hall name is transferred to the new building and the old building is removed

2011: Friedrick Hall renamed Phillips Hall

2012: Dejope Hall and Gordon Dining & Event Center open; old Gordon Commons is removed

2013: Leopold Hall opens; renovated Carson Gulley Center and Frank Holt Center reopen

2014: Jeff Novak appointed Director of Division of University Housing

Building and House Namesakes

At UW–Madison, most of our residence halls and dining centers are named in honor of individuals who were affiliated with the University and had significant accomplishments to be recognized. In addition, many of our residence halls are divided up into houses, which may consist of a floor, wing, or small building within the residence hall, each with a House Fellow providing live-in support for their residents. With this unique house system, founded in the 1920s, each house is also named after notable individuals with ties to UW–Madison.

In the coming months, we plan to publish biographies of these individuals here, to share the history and contributions of University Housing’s many namesakes.