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Agricultural Dean’s Residence

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1896, Conover and Porter. 620 Babcock Dr.
  • (Photograph by Andrew Hope)

Designed by a Madison firm, this cream brick Queen Anne house with Gothic details uses a style popularized by English architects in the nineteenth century, which made little reference to the architecture of Queen Anne’s reign, but instead mixed motifs from medieval times. The lively play of rooflines typifies the style, with gabled dormers along the red-shingled hipped roof and a three-story conical tower, which reinforces the building’s asymmetry. Gables on three elevations feature pointed windows and decorative half-timbering. The second-story balcony over the house’s front entrance has a delicate tracery of ogee arches and a balustrade pierced by a trefoil pattern. Built for the first dean of the college, William Arnon Henry, the house symbolizes the important status that the College of Agriculture gained at the university. Henry worked closely with farmers to promote agricultural innovation, lobbied successfully for legislative aid, and built the department into an important presence in the state. When other universities tried to lure the popular dean away, the regents induced him to stay with a package of benefits that included this house. Allen Centennial Gardens, which surround the house, contain many of the trees Henry himself planted.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Agricultural Dean’s Residence", [Madison, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 452-452.

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