Fess Hotel

123 E. Doty St.     Madison Landmark     National Register of Historic Places
Opened by George Fess for the common man in the 1850s. The original Fess building was located where the parking ramp to the west is now. What remains today were buildings that the Fess's remodled and used as additions to that original building.

Gordon & Paunack designed the 1901 Queen Anne facade. From 1901 to 1911 the name was changed to “Central Hotel” although still owned by the Fess family.

The Fess was the oldest hotel in Madison up to the early 70s when at that time it was sold. It retained the name “Fess Hotel” but it was no longer run as a hotel, it was a bar. In 1994 it was sold again, this time becoming “The Great Dane Brewing Company”.

The spot where Gene Parks got his pink slip. One of the longest-running legal disputes in city history began in October 1988 when Eugene Parks, then the city's Affirmative Action Officer, was served notice of his firing by Mayor Joe Sensenbrenner. Parks got the word at the bar because, knowing the firing was coming, he wouldn’t go to his office, forcing city officials to go and find him. Parks sued and won, getting another City job.

George Fess & Family are Interred in Forest Hill Cemetery

Is the Fess Haunted?