(Back to Wisconsin Haunted Index)
Haunted Place: Memorial Union
- At University of Wisconsin in Madison
800 Langdon Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
The Memorial Union building can be found in
the heart of the University of Wisconsin in Madison campus,
on Langdon St., which runs between N. Park St. on the north and N.
Lake Street to the south. It was built on the banks of Lake
Mendota, a beautiful spot indeed!
DESCRIPTION and HISTORY:
The Memorial Union is an impressive
multi-story Italian-Renaissance style building, which sits on the
shoreline of Lake Mendota, in full view of their lakeside Union
Terrace, that is big enough for 600 chairs. Inside this beautiful
building, one finds a 1300 seat theater, dining facilities and
eateries, a games room, a craft shop, a travel center, and a
German-style tavern. There are also 20 different meeting rooms and
places for a variety of events; including elegant reception and
banquet areas in Great Hall and Tripp Commons, which offer a
The plans for this student union building
were made in 1919, with the duo purpose of also being the
University's war memorial, which is why it is called The Memorial
Union. In 1925, on Armistice Day; (known now as Veteran's Day),
University President Glenn Frank had the honor of breaking the
ground with a shovel, in front of an enthusiastic crowd of
5,000. The building was opened in 1928.
"The Memorial Union is the recognition of the importance of the
leisure hour. The Memorial Union building will give us a
living room that will convert the University from a house of
learning into a home of learning." President Glenn Frank.
1930s-1940s -The first "outing club group"
made up of three students and three staff members, called the
Wisconsin Hoofers came into being, which planned a skiing trip for
its first event. By the 1940s, The Wisconsin Hoofers was a
popular way to have fun. A Hoofer Sailing Club, with 450
students formed to receive dry land instruction.
In 1952, the original Union Building
Committee incorporated themselves,becoming the Memorial Union
Building Association, defined as a tax-exempt educational
corporation, whose purpose and dedication was and is to focus on
serving the Wisconsin Union and its members.
1962 - The Stiftskeller, an eatery and
meeting place for students, opened in the previous Billiards Room,
providing additional seating space. Murals were added here in
In 1971, the growing student body needed
more room, so the Memorial Union opens Union South, which
celebrates with the theme, "Fewer Walls, More Bridges."
In 1983, The Memorial Union Building
Association came up with the money and supplies to continue to make
the beloved Union Terrace "sunburst" chairs, which have
been popular with students who hang out on the Union Terrace,
beginning in the 1940s.
In 1987, the Union Terrace was
expanded. Before this expansion,most activity on the Union Terrace
took place just outside the Rathskeller rotunda.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
Memorial Union is supposedly built on an
Indian burial ground. It is a beautiful spot, near a lake, which
would be a favored place to lay to rest loved ones. Building on top
of burial grounds is never a good idea!
Perhaps someone who was deeply involved with the Memorial Union
building can't let go just yet, wishing to keep an eye on the
Stairs leading from the first floor to the
The full apparition of an elderly woman,
dressed in 19th century - early 20th century attire is seen by the
living, standing on the top of this staircase for only a moment or
Second Floor of the Memorial
The living have felt a strong, unseen,
This presence gets its chuckles by playing with clocks and watches
- making their hands spin wildly around, in an untimely,
non-logical fashion, sure to scare the living witnesses who are
It seems to be, according to eye witnesses.
I couldn't find any paranormal investigations posted on line, but
the living have experienced these manifestations. Perhaps an
over-dedicated female entity and/or a restless Indian entity have
also made the Memorial Union their home in their after-life.
union.wisc.edu * theshadowlands.net * hellomadison.com