Our physical office is located in the Bellevue apartment building at 29 E. Wilson St. near Monona Terrace. If you’d like to visit please call ahead as it is a residential building and not as accessible as a typical commercial building.
Madison Trust for Historic Preservation P.O. Box 296 Madison, WI 53701-0296
The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation was founded in 1974 in the wake of two events that affected prominent historic places. In the mid-1960s the Gilman St. home of William F. Vilas was demolished to build a modern commercial building in the middle of what is now the Mansion Hill historic district. In 1971 an old stone farmhouse called ‘Mapleside’ on University Avenue was demolished to build 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 old and historic properties. Since then our mission has 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. Our small budget came from membership dues and a few small annual fund-raising events. In 2009 we received a matching grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation Board to hire our first-ever staff person. Jason Tish took the position and served as our Executive Director through August of 2014. The Madison Trust has increased our offering of educations events, as well as our advocacy for historic places throughout the Madison area; we are currently seeking funding opportunities that ensure paid staff to advance 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 is 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.
Historic places can be individual works of architecture, historic landscapes, traditional neighborhoods, parks, Indian mounds, cemeteries. Historic places are tangible links to our city’s history. They are places that we can see, touch and walk through to get a sense of what was important to the people who have lived their lives here, and who have guided the development of the city to make Madison what the city it is today. We believe that Madison should have a positive preservation ethic, and city policies that provides incentives for the continued viability and conservation of our important historic places.
Madison is rich with places that convey its history. The National Register of Historic Places lists over 130 individual properties and more than 15 historic districts. Our local historic preservation ordinance ordinance lists 179 individual properties and 5 historic districts. There are more places that meet the criteria but have not yet been nominated for official recognition.
Who We Are
The Madison Trust is an independent, nonprofit, community-supported organization. We are guided by a volunteer Board of Trustees. We are a 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 also works with other groups with shared interests including Historic Madison Inc., the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Madison Trust is a Local Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with more than 100 other Statewide and Local Partners. The Partners Network provides a forum for sharing model practices, solving organizational problems, and improving our effectiveness.
The Madison Trust 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
- James Thomack
- Barb Sanford
- Kurt Stege
- Promote revitalization of Madison’s old and historic neighborhoods in ways that retain their historic 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.
- We run a series of historic architecture tours throughout the summer.
- We hold an annual series of Winter Workshops for owners of old homes and buildings.
- In May of each year we hold our annual Preservation Awards event to recognize projects designed to retain the historic character of old properties in the Madison area while facilitating the reuse of a historic place.
- We sponsor and support local Landmark nominations and National Register nominations.
- We publish a bi-weekly email update (sign up at the top of this page) with current information about preservation issues and MTHP programs.
- We are also available on Facebook and Twitter.