Campus History

Floating in Furs

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


  • Granddaughter June 27, 2011

    Hello Ann Emery Hall… when i was a little girl in the 50’s, my maternal grandmother was one of the cooks for Ann Emery Hall. She never owned a car, so my parents would give her rides to/from work. I pass AE Hall almost every weekday and remember my maternal grandmother fondly… Happy memories

  • Patricia Allen Mabie January 11, 2014

    My mother, Caroline Hartl, is second from the right in this photo. She lived in Ann Emery as well as did I her daughter. It was the BEST place to live. Wonderful memories……

  • Gayle November 5, 2023

    Oh, my the tales I could tell. Lived here in the mid 60’s for all four years. My bestie, Barbara Scherbel Brazeau Thompson and I lived together in a rare double corner room on first floor. It was a lovely celebrated place to live. Evans Scholars were our waiters in white coats! Food was awesome and Trudy our 6 foot+ night attendant kept all the boys in line….sometimes flashing light on front porch at closing time….Would love to reconnect with some of those girls. Still in touch with Kathy Bauch…..Barbara died young and I still miss her…

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