Village Historian Thomas D. Brock has written a book on the history of
the Village entitled 'Shorewood Hills: An Illustrated History'. This
hard-cover book is available for sale at the Village Hall (810 Shorewood
Boulevard). A small collection of historic photos from this book can be seen
in the photo gallery below.
Below is some information that was previously posted on
the Village Heritage pages.
The Village of Shorewood Hills stands along the shores of Lake
Mendota and adjacent to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The land on
which the Village stands has had a long history. The vegetation was
originally prairie and oak forest. Native Americans found the lake a
good source of food and camped along its shores. White settlers came to
the area when Madison was chosen as the capital of Wisconsin Territory
in 1836. By the 1850s, much of what is now Shorewood Hills had been
cleared for agriculture. As the City of Madison and the University of
Wisconsin grew they expanded west and the area gradually urbanized. The Village of Shorewood Hills was founded in 1927 and
remains a quiet enclave within the greater Madison area.
Native American Presence
Hundreds of years ago long-lost Native Americans came to this area
and lived along the shores of Lake Mendota. As part of their culture,
they constructed mounds in the shapes of animals and birds (effigy
mounds), some of which still exist. The ones that are now part of the
Blackhawk Country Club have been preserved and are listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. The most famous effigy mound on the
country club is the goose mound, which is one of the largest mounds in
the state. It occupies a commanding site overlooking Lake Mendota.
Founding of the Village
The Village of Shorewood Hills was formed by the
amalgamation of two real estate plats called College Hills and
Shorewood. The College Hills plat is the older, established next to the
University of Wisconsin in 1912-1915. The streets in the College Hills
part of the Village are all named for colleges and universities. The
Shorewood part of the Village was platted in the 1920s, and is along
Lake Mendota and upon Blackhawk hill. The Village was established by
order of the Dane County Circuit Court on July 31, 1927. At the time the
Village was founded, the city of Madison was still remote, but in the
intervening years, and especially after World War II, Madison has grown
out and surrounded the Village.
The Village of Shorewood Hills is noted for its distinctive and
varied architecture. A number of houses follow the Prairie School of
architecture, of which Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan were the
most noted exponents. Several noted local architects also designed
houses in the Village, including Frank Riley, John Flad, William Kaeser,
Beatty and Strang, and Edward Tough. Because the Village developed
slowly over a long period of time, its streets show a wide diversity of
architectural types. English tudor, Prairie style, International style,
and Moderne style houses can be found side by side, or adjacent to
houses of vernacular architecture.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Frank Lloyd Wright was a Wisconsin native and grew up in Madison. He
designed numerous buildings in the Madison area, of which two of the
most famous are in the Village of Shorewood Hills. The Pew House (3650
Lake Mendota Drive) was an early and outstanding example of Wright's
Usonian style. The First Unitarian
Meeting House at 900 University Bay Drive is one of Wright's most
famous buildings. Opened in 1951, it has been designated by the American
Institute of Architects as one of 17 Wright designs that best
exemplifies his contributions to American architecture. It is listed on
the National Register of Historic Places. Wright himself was a member of
the local Unitarian church when it was located downtown, and retained an
interest in Unitarianism throughout his life. He considered the
four-acre site on which the church is built to be idyllic, and developed
a design that opened outward into nature. Continued growth of the
congregation necessitated construction of a new wing in 1963, and
another in 1990, both designed by Taliesin Associated Architects, the
firm that continues Wright's legacy. The lower floor houses the Meeting
House Nursery School.
Harold C. Bradley House
The Bradley house at 2814 Oxford Road is an outstanding example of
Prairie-style architecture. It was designed by George Elmslie, a student
of Louis Sullivan, and was built in 1916. Harold C. Bradley was a
distinguished professor in the School of Medicine at the university, and
was also a strong promoter of outdoor living. He was the founder of the
Wisconsin Hoofers, one of the first outdoor clubs in the country.
Bradley also built the ski jump that for many years stood at the top of
Bradley Park in the Village. After he retired, Bradley returned to his
home state of California, where he served several terms as President of
the Sierra Club. The Bradley Children's Hospital on the university
campus was donated by Dr. and Mrs. Bradley in memory of their daughter,
who died as a child.
University of Wisconsin
The University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the largest and
best-known universities in the United States. Part of the west campus
area is within the corporate limits of the Village of Shorewood Hills.
This includes all of the Waisman Center on Mental Retardation and Human
Development, and about half of the University Hospital and Clinics. The
Emergency Entrance for University Hospital is in the Village, as is an
associated facility, the Veterans Administration Hospital.
Ronald McDonald House
Built in 1993 at 2716 Marshall Court, the Ronald McDonald House provides temporary residential facilities for families of children
receiving medical treatment at the University Hospital and Clinics.
Shorewood Hills Community League
The Shorewood Hills Community League was founded in 1930 as a
volunteer organization dedicated to keeping the Village an ideal place
to live and rear children. The League sponsors social functions,
welcomes new residents, and provides classes and interest groups in many
different areas. The League also produces the Shorewood Hills Directory
annually. League interest groups include: book discussion; bowling,
afternoon bridge, couples bridge, gourmet cooking, garden club, square
dancing, senior focus, and line dancing. The League sponsors a fall
coffee at the Blackhawk Country Club, a holiday sing at the community
center, an ice skating party at the Village rink, and an ice cream
social at the pool.
The Shorewood Hills Garden Club has, for over 60 years, encouraged and
fostered gardening in the Village. In addition to provide programs on
home gardening, garden club volunteers actively maintain over 26
community flower gardens, at street intersections and in parks. The
garden club also plants and cares for the Ronald McDonald Serenity
Fourth of July
Fourth of July is a day-long family celebration in the Village.
Morning activities include a bake sale and art show at the Fire Station.
The children's parade is held after lunch and is a high point of the
day. Creative minds of all ages work to produce costumes, floats, and
decorated bicycles. Sometimes an entire residential block will work
together to produce a spectacular entry. The parade is led by the
Village fire engines, and circles the school grounds in a colorful line,
ending at the grandstand across from the fire station. After the parade
there are fire engine rides, balloons, and treats for the children.
Carnival games and feats of skill occupy the afternoon. In the late
afternoon, the family picnic is held at the school grounds. The climax
of the day comes at twilight when villagers and many interested
Madisonians gather at the Blackhawk Country Club for a spectacular
fireworks display put on by the Village volunteer firefighters. To see
a schedule of event for this year's fourth of July celebration click here.
Shorewood Hills School
Since 1962 the Shorewood Hills School has been part of the Madison
Metropolitan School District. It receives pupils not only from the
Village but from the University Houses and Eagle Heights Married Student
Apartments. The residents of these university housing facilities come
from all over the world and because of this, the school has an
exceedingly diverse student body. International Day at the school is a
major event in the spring, when pupils from various countries put on
attractive and elaborate demonstrations of their own local cultures.
Village children gain greatly from the opportunity to associated with
children from such countries as Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand,
Brazil, Chile, Norway, Iceland, Germany, Nigeria, and other countries
from around the world. Click here
to go to the Shorewood School Home Page. Click here
to go to the Madison Metropolitan School District Home Page.
Shorewood Hills Pool
The Shorewood Hills Swimming Pool is an integral part of the
It is located in the Post Farm Park, an eight-acre farm remnant in the
east part of the Village. The facility is a 50-meter swimming pool that
provides outstanding accommodations for both recreational and
competitive swimming. Among the activities provided at the pool are
swimming lessons, swimming and diving competition, water ballet, water
aerobics, and water basketball. In addition to residents, the pool is
open to nonresidents on a membership basis. Because of the pool's
popularity, there is a substantial waiting list for nonresidents. The
second floor of the pool building constitutes a Community Center, where
various Village groups hold functions. The Community Center and pool are
also available for private party rentals on a limited basis.
During the winter, an ice-skating rink is provided at the south end
of the school grounds. The Heiden House, a warming house dedicated to
Olympic speed skaters Eric and Beth Heiden, is part of the skating
facility. Eric and Beth Heiden grew up in the Village and were
outstanding competitors in the 1980 winter Olympics at Lake Placid.
Among other things, Eric Heiden set a world record for the most gold
medals won at a winter Olympics (five).
Blackhawk Country Club
Although the Blackhawk Country Club itself is a private club, the
grounds upon which the club is situated are owned by the Village. The
club has a long-term lease from the Village for which it pays a
substantial annual rent. As part of the lease, Village residents have
limited access to the club house and grounds, including use for winter
recreation. The effigy mounds on the club grounds are listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. The view of Lake Mendota from the
club house is outstanding summer or winter. On Fourth of July, the
are displayed on the fairway in front of the club house.