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)
 

Governor Leonard Farwell lived here, in his octagonal mansion

The Madison Heritage Series

 
 
Governor Leonard Farwell lived here, in his octagonal mansion Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
1. Governor Leonard Farwell lived here, in his octagonal mansion Marker
Inscription. Madison was little more than a few buildings and a swamp in 1847 when Leonard Farwell bought large amounts of land here. Orphaned at 11, Farwell built a very successful hardware business in Milwaukee while still in his 20s. He would soon transform Madison and Wisconsin.

Farwell built Williamson and Winnebago streets and East Washington Avenue, and straightened the Yahara River between lakes Mendota and Monona. He dammed Lake Mendota to harness power for the first mill. He supported and created local businesses and tirelessly promoted Madison as a place to live and work. During the “Farwell Boom,” Madison’s population skyrocketed, from 600 in 1846 to 11,000 in 1857.

Serving a brief but productive term as Wisconsin’s youngest governor, from 1852 to 1854, Farwell abolished the death penalty and created an influential immigration agency that attracted Europeans, especially Germans, to Wisconsin.

Sidebar:

Leonard Farwell’s elegant 1854 mansion occupied a lakefront block bounded by Spaight and Brearly streets. Measuring almost 9,000 square feet, its opening was a grand social event in Madison. But Farwell lost the house and most of his investments in the 1857 depression. Appointed to a federal post in 1863, Farwell was present at Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and warned the vice president to
Closeup of photo of Leonard Farwell on marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
2. Closeup of photo of Leonard Farwell on marker
protect himself from the conspirators.

The mansion became a Civil War soldiers’ hospital, a soldiers’ orphans’ home and a Lutheran seminary. The house was demolished in 1895 to make room for a subdivision.
 
Erected 2001 by City of Madison.
 
Location. 43° 4.759′ N, 89° 21.971′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is at the intersection of South Brearly Street and Spaight Street, on the right when traveling south on South Brearly Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Madison WI 53703, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harvey Hospital (here, next to this marker); Shipley-Shuttleworth House (within shouting distance of this marker); Cutter House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lougee House (about 700 feet away); Orton Park (about 700 feet away); Curtis-Kittleson House (about 700 feet away); Hyer - Jaquish Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); B.B. Clarke (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
 
More about this marker. This marker is part of the The Madison Heritage Series, Sharing Our Legacy, created for Madison's sesquicentennial. The marker was sponsored by the Madison Community
Closeup of octagonal mansion photo on marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
3. Closeup of octagonal mansion photo on marker
Foundation.
 
Also see . . .
1. Movers & Shapers. Article names Farwell as one of the 10 most influential people in Madison history. (Submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

2. Friends of Historic Third Lake Ridge. More stories and photos of the Farwell Mansion and its neighborhood. (Submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 

3. Tenney Park Lock and Dam. Marker with more information on Farwell's dam. (Submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsPolitics
 
Looking southwest down Spaight Street toward marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
4. Looking southwest down Spaight Street toward marker
Looking southeast down South Brearly Street toward Lake Monona and the marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, July 12, 2010
5. Looking southeast down South Brearly Street toward Lake Monona and the marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 968 times since then and 81 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 12, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement