Village Heritage

Village Historian Thomas D. Brock wrote 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 his book can be seen in our Photo Gallery.

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.

Architectural Heritage
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. A third addition in 2008 replaced much of the 1990 Lower Meeting House. 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 of Wisconsin, 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 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 American Family Children's Hospital and UW Hospital & 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 have included: book discussion; bowling, afternoon bridge, couples bridge, gourmet cooking, garden club, square dancing, senior focus, and line dancing. The League has sponsored 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.

Garden Club
The Shorewood Hills Garden Club has, for over 70 years, encouraged and fostered gardening in the Village. In addition to provide programs on home gardening, garden club volunteers actively maintain over 20 community flower gardens, at street intersections and in parks.

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. The parade circles the school grounds in a colorful line of march, 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, waterfights and the popular egg toss 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 village residents and many from the greater Madison area gather at the Blackhawk Country Club for a spectacular fireworks display put on by the volunteers of the Shorewood Hills EMS & Fire Association.

Shorewood Hills School
Since 1962 the Shorewood Hills Elementary 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 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. 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.

Shorewood Hills Pool
The Shorewood Hills Swimming Pool is an integral part of the Village. 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 non-residents on a membership basis. Because of the pool's popularity, there is a substantial waiting list to join. 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.

Ice skating
During the winter, an ice-skating rink is provided at the south end of the school grounds. The Heiden Haus, 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 Village fireworks are displayed on the fairway in front of the club house.

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