115 ELY PL | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

115 ELY PL

Architecture and History Inventory
115 ELY PL | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Charles Edwin Buell House
Other Name:
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:100004
Location (Address):115 ELY PL
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1894
Survey Date:1972
Historic Use:house
Architectural Style:Queen Anne
Structural System:
Wall Material:Wood Shingle
Architect: Conover and Porter
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: University Heights Historic District
National Register Listing Date:12/17/1982
State Register Listing Date:1/1/1989
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:Madison Historic Landmark: 1/7/1974.

The 1894 Charles and Martha Buell House, commanding the crown of The Heights, was the first house built in the neighborhood. Designed by the Madison firm of Conover and Porter, the Shingle style residence features a polygonal bay with a jagged, crenelated parapet, a rectangular bay with an oversized gable, and a round turret with a conical roof. People scoffed at the notion that other Madisonians would join the Buells in a residential addition that seemed so distant from downtown; hence the nickname "Buell's Folly."

The University Heights Historic District: A Walking Tour: "When prominent Madison attorney and real estate developer Charles E. Buell and his wife Martha built this imposing home for their family in 1894, it was the first one built on the crown of the Heights. The house was quickly dubbed "Buell's Folly" by local wags and the earliest pictures of the Heights, taken from Bascom Hall, shows why. The house sat in solitary but highly conspicuous grandeur on a naked hillside outside of town in a location which did not seem to bode well for the future. It was Buell, however, who had the last laugh. When he died in 1938, his home was completely surrounded by the homes of Madison's elite, many of which rested of lots sold by Buell himself.

Buell's house was designed by the prominent local firm of Conover and Porter and is a fine example of a late Queen Anne style deign deeply influenced by shingle style examples. Conover and Porter are best remembered today for their castle-like University of Wisconsin Armory next to the Wisconsin Memorial Union on Langdon Street."

"Though not the first person to purchase a lot in the new University Heaights area, lawyer and educator Charles Buell was the first person to erect a dwelling. In 1893-94, he commissioned the architectural firm of Conover (Allen Darst) and Porter (Lew F.) to design a house appropriate to this rather steep site. The architects chose Lake Superior brownstone for the exposed foundation and shingles for the wall treatment. Although not a pure Shingle style house in the Richardsonian tradition, the residence does differ from the standard Queen Anne treatment in some ways, notably the choice of deep color for the exterior, the minimal use of classicizing ornament, and the banded effect created by the horizontal breaks in the shingle lines just above the foundation.

Coincidentally, Allen D. Conover was the Madison employer of Frank Lloyd Wright who designed the Gilmore House built across the street fifteen years later." Madison Landmarks Commission, University Heights: A Walk Through A Turn of the Century Suburb, n.d.
Bibliographic References:Housing Madison: Where We Live, Where We Work. Ed. Anna Vemer Andrzejewski and Arnold R. Alanen for “Nature + City: Vernacular Buildings and Landscapes of the Upper Midwest,” 2012 Meeting of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (VAF). Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. Madison Landmarks Commission and the Regent Neighborhood Association, The University Heights Historic District: A Walking Tour, 1987. Madison Landmarks Commission, University Heights: A Walk Through A Turn of the Century Suburb, n.d.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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