REGENT NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY
The Regent Neighborhood is composed of three distinct areas that developed as the city spread westward in the early 20th century. The neighborhood's hilly terrain resulted in meandering streets and created special challenges to homebuilders. As a result, there are irregular shaped lots, in-ground garages, steep front steps and nearly vertical backyards.
University Heights was platted in 1893 and extends from Breese Terrace to Allen Street and from University Avenue south to Regent Street. Located close to the University, the area's curving streets and hilltop views attracted the families of professors and business people. Some of Madison's most architecturally significant Queen Anne, Prairie Style and period revival houses still grace the district. Most of University Heights lies in a National Historic District as well as a state/local historic district.
The area south of Regent Street and extending south to the new Capitol City Bike Path was part of the Wingra Park Addition, platted in 1897. Development began when the streetcar line was extended from Camp Randall to the Forest Hill Cemetery.
The area from Allen Street stretching west between Regent Street. and University Avenue. (part of the Highland plat) developed sporadically during the first three decades of the 20th century with the last wave of construction coinciding with the opening of West High around 1930. The neighborhood is characterized by comfortable family homes with wide front porches and, quiet tree-lined streets.
Learn about the inspiration for Madison's street names at Historic Madison's Origins of Street Names page:
Breese Terrace— Breese J. Stevens, 1834-1903, was a lawyer, an associate of William F. Vilas, Mayor of Madison 1884-1885, a University of Wisconsin regent, and a real estate developer. In 1893 he sold 106 acres of land west of Camp Randall to the University Heights Company and became a director of the company.
Chadbourne Avenue – Paul Ansel Chadbourne, 1823-1883, was a biologist and botanist. He was President of the University of Wisconsin 1867-1870.
Ely Place – Richard Theodore Ely, 1854-1943, was an economist who taught at many colleges. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin from 1892 to 1925 and was one of the first to promote the “Wisconsin idea” that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state. He bought the first lot in University Heights.
Kendall Avenue – Charles Kendall Adams, 1835-1902, was a historian, president of Cornell University 1885-1892 and President of the University of Wisconsin 1892-1901
REGENT NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDARIES
Boundaries: Campus Drive on the North, Breese Terrace on the east, the Southwest Bike Path on the south, and North Franklin Avenue, Speedway Road, the boundary between Forest Hill Cemetery and the Glenway Golf Course on the west.
Knickerbocker Street – for the Knickerbocker Ice Company of Chicago that operated a railroad spur from the Illinois Central Railroad tracks to Lake Wingra and a large ice house from 1895 to 1920.
Mason Street – Vroman Mason, 1874-1941, was a member of the executive committee of the Highland Park Company in 1907.
Paunack Place – Paunacks were a large and influential Madison family.
Randall Avenue – Alexander W. Randall, Wisconsin Governor 1858-1862. Camp Randall was converted from the State Fair site to a training camp for civil war soldiers during his terms in office. It was also a prisoner of war camp. The University of Wisconsin eventually acquired the land.
Stevens Street – In 1910 E. Ray Stevens, 1869-1930, was first vice-president of the Madison Realty Company. He was a Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice from 1926-1930.
Van Hise Avenue – Charles Richard Van Hise, 1857-1918, was a University of Wisconsin professor of geology from 1879 onward and university president from 1907 to 1918. During his term as president, the university faculty increased from about 200 to more than 750.