Memories

Share your memories and pictures of Science Hall! As part of our anniversary celebration, we are collecting stories and reminiscences about Science Hall. You can leave a comment below or email your thoughts to kstuerk@wisc.edu.

Looking back on my days as a geography student, besides my fond memories of my professors and classes, I really enjoyed attending lectures in Sliding-Down-Stairs-in-Science-Hall-with-Cheryl-YeungScience Hall. Coming from Los Angeles, a city with stark, boxy buildings, I was starved for beautiful, old architecture. Science Hall’s bold bricks and worn, cozy interior fed my senses. It has so much character and just seemed to beckon learning and a bit of fun too. I can recall one particular night of some serious studying and equally serious goofing around in Science Hall with some fellow geography friends. It was the end of our final semester in college and we were in the building quite late working on our senior research project. When we had finally finished, we were so giddy (mostly due to lack of sleep) that we slid down all the Science Hall stair railings in celebration. I can only hope this special building remains for the enjoyment of many geography generations to come.
Allison Hegan, B.A. Geography ’10

library

I spent many hours in Science Hall during my graduate studies in the early ’90′s for my MS WRM and was very fond on the building. I often studied in the Geography Library with its big windows onto Bascom Hall. I took a course with Professor William Denevan who often alluded to the building in his lectures with examples from old novels, comic books and other lore. Once when a door squeaked he mentioned the ghost of Science Hall. His office was a wonderful two story space with a loft full of books.
Robin Schmidt, M.S. Environmental Studies ’93

chalkAs a geography grad student in the mid-70’s, I had a desk among a bunch of other students on the 5th floor, overlooking State Street. Rumor had it (perhaps another former denizen can actually confirm this!) that the space we occupied was formerly used as the dissecting room for medical school students, and that a mummified leg was discovered behind some partition when the room was remodeled to house geography grads. I vividly recall the daily climb up the stairs (often faster than the old elevator) to my office, and gazing at the graffiti on the walls in the upper stairwell. My favorite was the chalked tally counting down the years until 1984, which during my tenure there still seemed like the distant future. My fondest memory, though – which I’m sure is shared by many others – was to take the spiral slide of the fire escape tube, which I recall entering from a door on the fourth floor. The entrance to this dark, wild slide was usually barred by some kind of device that was supposed to prevent recreational use, and only allow entry during emergencies. Word usually travelled pretty rapidly among the students on the rare occasions when the device was not in place, and we would creep off in 1’s and 2’s to jump into the slide, enjoying the rapid spinning plunge down the tube to eventually burst out into the parking lot on the backside of the building. The metal doors at the bottom of the slide were usually kept closed, but would open with a loud bang when struck by a body descending the slide, usually to the alarm of anyone walking through the parking lot at that time. - Dr. Peter W. Dunwiddie, M.S. Geography ’76

I still have fond memories of Science Hall. The medical school was in that building at one time and the fifth floor was full of beakers holding human body parts suspended in liquid. I also hold fond memories of my adviser, Arthur Robinson. He was a great teacher and a great man. - Dr. Robert Paul Giese, B.S. Geography ’61

My office during graduate school was on the 5th floor overlooking Langdon (and the lake, Capitol, Memorial Union, and the Madison skyline.) I always said that the view was the reason it took me so long to finish! A friend once asked me why I decided to study Geography at Madison, and I said that I wanted an office across the street from the Terrace. He paused and then replied, “Well, that is a geographic reason.” Science Hall is such a classic building. Not the most modern or comfortable, but with a real character and personality. Those of us who spent days – and sometimes nights – in the building will always have a special place in our hearts for Science Hall. My two regrets: I never went down the spiral slide as an undergraduate. And I didn’t steal a piece of the slate roof when it was replaced. (The fact that the University didn’t repair/replace the slate roof with slate should be counted as a historic shame as well.) - Robbie Weber, Geography ’93

I feel like I practically lived in Science Hall from 1976 to 1980. Besides being a Geography undergrad major, I did climatological research for Professor Wally Brinkmann, starting at a desk in her office on the second floor, and then I ‘graduated’ to a now non-existent room next to her office that was huge and had a supply closet for teaching intro geography and two large wooden desks. It had one of those humongous windows overlooking Bascom Hil, where one could gaze occasionally through the seasons and dream while reviewing historic data on Lake Superior water levels and all the historical records of northern US weather stations. I always felt special having this space to myself, with grad students 3 to a small office on the fifth floor, but the data in hard copy needed space…the Geography library with its magazines of far off places, the spiral staircase to the second level, the reading room, and the elderly librarian that I was seriously scared of…memories of Carol Jenkins, whom wanted to be an astronaut, Jim Knox, whom taught fluvial geography, and field trips to the valleys in the bluffs where I now live always ended at the Missouri Tavern – many memories…it was a department and building that I grew to love. - Sheila Landsverk, Geography B.S. ’80

Leave a Reply