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Bascom Hill facts for kids

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Bascom Hill Historic District
Bascom Hall in Madison.JPG
Bascom Hall atop Bascom Hill
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Location Bounded by Observatory Dr., University Ave., and N. Park, Langdon, and State Sts.
Madison, Wisconsin
Built 1849
Architectural style Gothic, Romanesque
NRHP reference No. 74000065
Added to NRHP September 12, 1974

Bascom Hill is the main quadrangle that forms the symbolic core of the University of Wisconsin–Madison campus. It is located on the opposite end of State Street from the Wisconsin State Capitol, and is named after John Bascom, former president of the University of Wisconsin. The hill itself is a drumlin, formed by glacial deposits about 18,000 years ago.

The hill is crowned by Bascom Hall, the main administration building for the campus. Near the main entrance to Bascom Hall sits a statue of President Abraham Lincoln. The first university building, North Hall, was constructed on Bascom Hill in 1851 and is still in use by the Department of Political Science. The second building, South Hall, was built in 1855 and is now used by the administration of the University of Wisconsin College of Letters and Science. The original buildings were designed by the architect John F. Rague.

Madison State University
1885 engraving of UW campus looking up Bascom Hill


South side

  • South Hall (1855)
  • University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Music Hall (formerly Assembly Hall and Library) (1879)

North side

  • John Muir Park (1964)
  • North Hall (1851)
  • Education Building
  • Science Hall (1888)
Bascom Hall at dusk
Bascom Hall and the statue of Abraham Lincoln

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