City Boathouse by Frank Lloyd Wright
Lake Mendota @ N. Carroll St. Built 1893 Demolished 1926 Frank Lloyd Wright
This twin-towered municipal boathouse at the foot of North Carroll Street on Lake Mendota
was designed and built in 1893 by a young, unknown, Chicago-based architect named Frank Lloyd
Wright, who had won a public competition for the project. The first Wright building to be
erected in Madison, the boathouse was built for $4,000 raised by the Madison Improvement
Association, one of the several turn-of-the-century groups involved in civic beautification.
Upkeep on the boathouse was neglected after the Madison Improvement Association ceased to exist
in 1907 and its neighbors, Mrs. Frank G. Brown and Chandler Chapman, asked permission from the
city to tear it down in 1926.
The foot of N. Carroll Street (down the hill) is the site of a former municipal
boathouse designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was still an unknown architect in
Chicago when he won a design competition in 1893 sponsored by the Madison Improvement
The boathouse was one of Wright' s first designs after he set up his own practice
and his first design for Madison, where he had grown up in a house nearby at Gorham
and Livingston Streets (demolished).
Completed in 1894 for $4,000 the boathouse was demolished in 1926 When Mary Brown
petitioned the city for its removal. It had been very poorly maintained.