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

Willett S. Main Building

Stephen V. Shipman, Architect

 

1855 - 1856

 
Willett S. Main Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, February 26, 2012
1. Willett S. Main Building Marker
Inscription. Believed to be the oldest commercial building facing Capitol Square, this striking edifice is designed in the Italianate Style by Madison master architect Stephen Shipman. The building was constructed of large sandstone ashlar blocks, and features hooded window ornament also of stone and an impressive cornice with dentils and modillions of wood. The building is significant for its association with Madison's mid-nineteenth century commercial development, as examples of sandstone buildings from this era are increasingly rare.

Designated July 10, 1995
 
Erected 2012 by the Madison Landmarks Commission. (Marker Number 127.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin, Madison Landmarks Commission marker series.
 
Location. 43° 4.478′ N, 89° 23.214′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker is at the intersection of State Street and West Mifflin Street, on the right when traveling west on State Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101-105 State Street, Madison WI 53703, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Schubert Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Lamb Building
Willett S. Main Building Marker image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, February 26, 2012
2. Willett S. Main Building Marker
This is the State Street side of the building. The marker is on the left on this side of the building, between Myles Teddywedgers Pastie shop and the Psychic Gallery.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Grace Episcopal Church (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Kessenich's Building (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Grace Episcopal Church (about 400 feet away); What would you have seen here 14,000 years ago? (about 500 feet away); Hotel Loraine (about 500 feet away); Orpheum Theater (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
 
Regarding Willett S. Main Building. According to the Madison Landmarks Commission, "This Italianate building is constructed of locally-quarried sandstone blocks, and features a decorative wood cornice with brackets and dentils. It is one of several imposing flatiron buildings at the cardinal corners of the capitol square, and one of the first commercial buildings to be built west of the Capitol. Main daringly chose the site for his dry goods business when the bulk of commercial activity was at the opposite corner of the square. It is the oldest surviving commercial building on the capitol square."
 
Related markers.
Willett S. Main Building image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, February 26, 2012
3. Willett S. Main Building
This is the view of the building from the corner of State Street, West Mifflin Street, and North Carroll Street.
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This is a list of markers for Madison sandstone buildings.
 
Also see . . .  Madison Landmarks Commission. The landmark nomination form for the building (pdf). (Submitted on February 29, 2012, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.) 
 
Additional keywords. Architecture
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Willett S. Main Building image. Click for full size.
By William J. Toman, February 26, 2012
4. Willett S. Main Building
This is a view of the building, on the right, looking up State Street toward the Capitol Square.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 27, 2012, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 440 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 27, 2012, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.   3, 4. submitted on March 1, 2012, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.
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