Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“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)
 

Bernard - Hoover Boat House

1915

 
 
Bernard - Hoover Boat House Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, December 4, 2010
1. Bernard - Hoover Boat House Marker
Inscription. This frame building is the third boat house on the site. The site symbolizes the importance of pleasure boating in Madison in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The original boat yards and house were operated by Charles Bernard in the 1850's. His son William built this structure, which was purchased by Harry Hoover in 1943.
 
Erected 1976 by the Madison Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 47.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Madison Landmarks Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 4.941′ N, 89° 22.936′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker can be reached from East Gorham Street 0.1 miles west of North Blount Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. The boat house and marker are at the east end of James Madison Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 622-1/2 East Gorham Street, Madison WI 53703, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Irene and Robert Connor Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); Anna and Cornelius Collins Residence (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Collins House
Bernard - Hoover Boat House Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, December 4, 2010
2. Bernard - Hoover Boat House Marker
The view from Lake Mendota. The marker is on the far right side of the building, and the Mendota Rowing Club plaque is in the middle.
(about 500 feet away); Lincoln School (about 700 feet away); Nichols Station (about 700 feet away); City Horse Barn (approx. 0.2 miles away); Here was Madisonís first African-American neighborhood (approx. 0.2 miles away); Miller House (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Madison.
 
Regarding Bernard - Hoover Boat House. According to the Madison Landmarks Commission, "In the days before individual boat ownership became widespread, renting pleasure boats for lake excursions was a significant summer business in Madison. Numerous commercial enterprises developed here in the nineteenth century to cater to the demand, the first being the one German native Charles Bernard started on this site in 1855 as a fishing station.

"Gradually, Bernard's business expanded to include both boat and fishing gear rentals.

"By the 1890s Bernard was building his own boats as well, including several large, steam-powered excursion boats that operated on Lake Mendota. Bernard ferried picnickers to his private park (gone) near Mendota State Hospital. After his death in 1907, son William ran
Bernard - Hoover Boat House image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, December 4, 2010
3. Bernard - Hoover Boat House
A view of the boat house from East Gorham Street, with Lake Mendota in the background.
the business. William and his son Carl became known across the United States as avid ice boat builders and racers.

"In 1911 the Bernards replaced the original buildings with a larger frame structure. Four years later that building was destroyed by fire and was replaced with the present frame building. Carl Bernard sold out to Harry Hoover in 1943; Hoover continued to operate the board livery and gave excursion rides until 1968 when he sold the property to the City. Today the Bernard-Hoover boathouse is the only survivor of the early days of Madison's love affair with pleasure boating."
 
Also see . . .
1. Madison Landmarks Commission. The landmark nomination form for the boat house (pdf). (Submitted on December 4, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

2. Mendota Rowing Club. Additional history of the boat house from the web site of the current occupant. (Submitted on December 4, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
Bernard - Hoover Boat House image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, December 4, 2010
4. Bernard - Hoover Boat House
A view of the boat house from James Madison Park, with Lake Mendota on the left.
Mendota Rowing Club Plaque image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, December 4, 2010
5. Mendota Rowing Club Plaque
The current occupant of the boat house.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,119 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement