110 E. Main St. Built 1929 by Charles H. Tenney
This wasn't the first Tenney Building on that site. D.K. Tenney, Charles' uncle, bought a half
interest in a hotel at the corner of Pinckney and Main streets in 1870. The hotel was torn down
seven years later and the first three-story Tenney Building was erected. Tenants of that
building included a restauranteur who served frog legs from frogs raised on the premises. The
three-story building was replaced in 1929 by the current 10-story building, which was Madison's
first steel-frame high-rise.
D.K. Tenney, a lawyer and the city's only Republican alderman at the time, earned a great deal
of money representing people whose homes and businesses were destroyed in the Great Chicago
Fire of 1871. He fought plans to attract manufacturing to Madison because he believed the city
should instead market its beauty as a recreation area.
Tenney later battled a proposed sewage system that stopped the practice of dumping raw sewage
into Lake Monona, advocating instead that the city pipe its sewage farther out in the lake and
dump it in deeper water.