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Dorm Life: Top Five Residence Halls

Jason Krause '96
April 28, 2015

Two students, 200 square feet, and too little privacy should be a recipe for disaster. But time spent in a dorm is often the best time of your life.

Check out our video, Top Five Residence Halls, and then check out these little known facts about famous UW dorms.

Chadbourne's Dubious Honor

In many ways, University of Wisconsin president Paul Chadbourne was an inspiring leader and teacher, helping the university recover and thrive after the Civil War.

However, when it came to education of women, we was notoriously backward-looking, refusing to allow to co-education for men and women.

That's why, when the school built a new Ladies Hall in 1901, Dean Edward Birge insisted the Hall be named after President Chadbourne. As he said, "I thought it was only fair that Dr. Chadbourne's contumacy regarding co-education should be punished by attaching his name to a building which turned out [to be] one of the main supports of co-education."

The original Chadbourne Hall, formerly Ladies Hall, was opened in 1897 but replaced with the current building of the same name in 1957.

Sadly, Dr. Chadbourne died in 1883, so he never suffered this indignity in person.

Want to Live in a Stadium?

If you know three things about Camp Randall, you probably know it is the home for Wisconsin's football team, that it is one of the nation's largest school-owned stadiums, and that it began life as a Civil War camp.

Few people probably remember, but the stadium was also once a dorm.

To solve the problem of housing students and military personnel during World War II, the university added 7,500 seats on the east side and built a dormitory underneath the new seating area. The dormitory housed 150 students and included boxing and wrestling facilities and, because this was wartime, a rifle range. After the war the dorms were home to 157 student veterans. In 1954 the rooms were converted to offices for the extension department.

Fortunately, the Jump Around wasn't invented yet, or living under the bleachers would have been very difficult on game day.

John Muir's Dangerous Hill

Most people know North Hall was the first building on campus and housed the entire University until South Hall opened in 1855. John Muir lived in North Hall while a student at UW, and now the adjacent wooded area across the street is known as Muir Knoll.

Less well known is the fact that for several decades Muir Knoll was home to a ski jump, site of the first American university ski tournament in 1920. Jumpers started at the top of the hill, skied down the hill and launched out onto the frozen lake.

And some people think sledding down Bascom Hill on a food tray is dangerous.

Know any other obscure facts about campus residence halls? Tell us in the comments.

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