Floating in Furs

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Photo: UW-Madison Archives

Photo: UW-Madison Archives

Residents from Ann Emery Hall, then a private women’s dormitory, set sail on their lawn as part of a Homecoming tableau in November 1931. The display, which involved a boat, a stormy sea, and a lighthouse, won first prize among dorm entries that year.

The 1931 Homecoming was a rough one for the Badgers, who lost 6 to 0 to Ohio State, and the Emery women’s display turned out to be surprisingly apropos. Although meteorologists forecast perfect weather for game day, Madison instead received a deluge. Twelve hours of rain turned Camp Randall into a swamp, and the sun never made an appearance. Fans were frustrated by a heavy fog that blanketed the field in the third and fourth quarters, and few managed to see the lone score, when Ohio State blocked a Wisconsin punt and recovered it in the end zone.

It seemed all of campus was descending into chaos that weekend. Homecoming festivities turned into a riot when some five hundred student revelers stormed the Orpheum Theatre. The Capital Times covered the riot like a sporting event, giving it a tally in injuries and arrests. The police, they wrote, “scored two knock-downs and three POW.”

In 2009, Ann Emery still stands at 265 Langdon Street, though it’s now an apartment building. And Homecoming was considerably calmer, with no call for lifeboats.

Published in the Winter 2009 issue

Tags: Campus history, Student life

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