Madison, WI Capitol Building

Our mission

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation is dedicated to the conservation of Madison’s historic places through advocacy and education. We believe that historic places are cultural resources, and that their rehabilitation, restoration and preservation are vital to a sustainable approach to redevelopment of older parts of our city. We believe they are critical to cultivating a civic identity and sense of place.

What we do

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation works every day to do the following:

  • Promote revitalization of Madison, Wisconsin’s old and historic neighborhoods in ways that retain their character.
  • Promote and support the continued viability of Madison’s historic places and traditional neighborhoods.
  • Recognize and support projects that rehabilitate and reuse existing and historic buildings in the Madison area.
  • Provide opportunities to learn about and experience Madison’s history.
  • Assist other organizations with preservation efforts.
  • Facilitate communication about planning and development proposals that affect Madison’s historic places.

Who we are

Commercial - Williamson St, 601-627 - Madison, WI b

Machinery Row

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating in Madison, Wisconsin. We are not a city agency, though we work closely with the Madison Landmarks Commission and other municipal agencies to advance our goals.

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation is a proud member of the Partners Network of the National Trust for Historic Preservation The Partners Network provides a forum for sharing model practices, solving organizational problems, and improving our effectiveness.

Our local partners include:

Our story

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation was founded in 1974 in the wake of two events that affected prominent historic places:

  • The demolition of the Gilman St. home of William F. Vilas, replaced by a modern commercial building in the middle of what is now the Mansion Hill historic district.
  • The 1971 demolition of the Mapleside farmhouse on University Avenue, replaced by a Burger King restaurant.

New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable wrote a column criticizing the trend of demolition in the name of urban renewal and blight remediation. She led with a report of Mapleside’s demolition, calling out Madison in the national newspaper for not caring for its historic places.

Originally our mission was to operate a revolving fund to purchase, rehabilitate, and resell historic properties.  As the organization grew, our mission shifted toward advocacy for and education about Madison’s historic places.

For three decades the Madison Trust operated as a community-based advocacy organization with a volunteer Board of Trustees and the help of many volunteers to whom historic places matter. Jason Tish served as Executive Director from 2010-2014.  The organization is now managed by the board and one staff member. Our annual income comes from membership dues, tours, sponsorships, and events.

Our board

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation is governed by a board of directors. The board meets monthly to monitor the progress of the organization and draft our position on local preservation and development issues.

  • Sam Breidenbach, President
  • John Martens, Vice President
  • Daniel Einstein, Treasurer
  • Larry Lester, Secretary
  • Michelle Martin
  • Jeri Grogg
  • Barb Sanford
  • Kurt Stege

Our Programs

All photos displayed on this page are courtesy of Jason Tish.