Observatory Hill to Lake Mendota in nine seconds? That’s one way to beat the long, cold winter days on campus. Thrilling!

UW Tobogan Run, c. 1911.Launch site located (approximately) between the current site of Washburn Observatory ® and the La Follette School for Public Affairs building (L).

Image #S07723 and #S07722.

For more information about UW-Madison campus history, contact uwarchiv@library.wisc.edu or visit archives.library.wisc.edu. On, Wisconsin!


UW Homecoming 1960

This collection of decorations on campus were part of the celebration and spirit activities for Homecoming week in 1960.  The University of Wisconsin football team played Northwestern University on November 5, 1960.  Despite the abundance of #Badger Homecoming spirit, the game resulted in a Northwestern victory, 21-0.  

The tradition of Homecoming at the University of Wisconsin dates back to 1911, when the alumni association proposed inviting graduates back for what they called “smokes and cider” before a football game on a Saturday in November.  The event was a huge success, both for the university and for downtown businesses, and the tradition continued expand year after year. Although in 1912 a “parade” of fans walked from the east side to the football stadium, in 1913 the tradition of the State Street parade began the tradition in earnest, and continues to this day.  

These photos from Homecoming 1960 give an idea of the energy that students poured into creating these decorations, as well as the dedication they had to making the Homecoming experience memorable.  Some contain textual cues to current political events, such as the impending U.S. presidential election in 1960 between Nixon and Kennedy (Image #S16901).  Some are visual puns regarding the upcoming football game, and hopes for a Wisconsin victory (Image #S16894). Others speak to certain aspects of college life that are, shall we say, timeless (Image #S16910).  

For more information about these photos, UW homecoming traditions or campus history, in general, contact uwarchiv@library.wisc.edu. On, Wisconsin!

Phillip Windsor for UW-Madison Archives. 


Advertisements from Wisconsin city directories, 1857-1921.

  1. Brigham and Co’s Fond du Lac Directory for 1857-58, Fond du Lac Public Library
  2. Madison City Directory and Business Advertiser for 1871-2, Madison Public Library
  3. Wright’s Directory of Appleton for 1887-88, Appleton Public Library
  4. Eau Claire City Directory 1899-1900L. E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, Eau Claire
  5. Wisconsin Rapids Directory, 1921, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids

see more: http://recollectionwisconsin.org/stories-from-city-directories

Celebrating the first Earth Day, Milwaukee, 1970.

Earth Day, formally called the “National Environmental Teach-In,” was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin. In Milwaukee, events for the first Earth Day included a speech from Senator Nelson and a performance by local rock group The Ox.  Photo for the Milwaukee Journal, April 22, 1970.

via: Remember When… Collection, Milwaukee Public Library

read more: Earth Day 1970–Mass Movement Begins,” Gaylord Nelson Newsletter, May 1970. Turning Points in Wisconsin History, Wisconsin Historical Society.