“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Fess Hotel

1858, 1901

Fess Hotel Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Gordon Govier, June 24, 2010
1. Fess Hotel Marker
Inscription. A hotel for the common man throughout its history, the nineteenth century facade of the Fess remains a reminder of the commercial character of the King Street and Doty Street area. George Fess, the original proprietor of the hotel, catered to travelers on the nearby railroad lines and to weekly boarders. After a remodeling in 1901 by architects J.O. Gordon and F. W. Paunack, the lodging was known for a decade as the Central Hotel, though it remained in the Fess family until recently.
Erected 1975 by Madison Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 38.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Madison Landmarks Commission marker series.
Location. 43° 4.472′ N, 89° 22.817′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is at the intersection of East Doty Street and Webster and King Streets, on the right on East Doty Street. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 123 East Doty Street, Madison WI 53703, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dick-Eddy Buildings (a few steps from this marker); Peck Cabin (within shouting distance of this marker); Eben and Rosaline Peck
Fess Hotel Photo, Click for full size
By Gordon Govier, June 24, 2010
2. Fess Hotel
The eastern, Queen Anne style portion of the building.
(within shouting distance of this marker); King Street Arcade (within shouting distance of this marker); Madison Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); Philip Schoen Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Suhr Bank Building (about 400 feet away); Bellevue Apartments (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Madison.
Regarding Fess Hotel. According to the Madison Landmarks Commission, "The Fess Hotel was established on this site ca. 1856 by George Fess, an immigrant from England. Fess had previously run a grocery store and eating house on the site. The western half of the existing building was built of cream brick in 1883 in the same design as the original part of the hotel, which was to the west where the Government East parking ramp is today. The original portion was demolished long ago. Because the cream brick section was built to mimic the 1850s design of the hotel, it has an old-fashioned configuration of residential windows on the first floor which was a feature of most buildings erected in Madison and around the country up until plate glass was invented
Fess Hotel Photo, Click for full size
By Gordon Govier, June 24, 2010
3. Fess Hotel
The eastern, Queen Anne style portion of the building.
in the 1860s. The eastern half of the existing building was also built ca. 1880, but in 1901 it was remodeled in the fashionable style of the time, the Queen Anne. This section is one of the most intact of the Queen Anne style commercial buildings in Madison.

"The Fess Hotel business served railroad travelers, legislators, and weekly boarders. The operation, which took up a large part of the block, also included a saloon, dining room, barber shop, ice house and a livery that could stable up to 60 horses. The hotel remained in the Fess family until it was sold in 1973 to be renovated as a restaurant."
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Markers for other buildings designed by Gordon & Paunack.
Also see . . .
1. Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. The current occupant of the building (and adjacent building) with additional background on the Fess Hotel building. (Submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

2. Madison Landmarks Commission. The landmark nomination form for the building (pdf). (Submitted on March 19, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
Additional comments.
1. Perry T. Fess
My father—Perry T. Fess—died in April of 1973 and my mother kept it running for 1 or 2 more years. I also remember
Fess Hotel Photo, Click for full size
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
4. Fess Hotel
The western portion of the building, with the Government East parking ramp on the right. The marker is between the two portions of the building in the lower left.
being told the hotel was started by my great grandfather in 1848. I wonder about the accuracy of the dates on the marker. Note To Editor only visible by Contributor and editor    
    — Submitted December 1, 2011, by Barbara Alice Fess of San Miguel De Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

Additional keywords. Architecture
Categories. Notable Buildings
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,017 times since then. Last updated on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Gordon Govier of Monona, Wisconsin.   4. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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