Farwell Mansion/Harvey Hospital/Orphans Home (& Monona Academy)

Spaight & Brearly streets     Built 1852-54, Burned 1893     Architect August Kutzbach

This three story octagonal mansion was built by governor Leonard Farwell. Farwell went bankrupt in 1857 and the mansion sat empty for a few years.
After Governor Louis Harvey’s death, his wife Cordelia was appointed state sanitary agent. In October, 1863 Cordelia convinced President Lincoln to open the Harvey Hospital in Farwell’s old home so that soldiers could return home to heal. The hospital closed in 1865 at the end of the war.
The next year, Mrs. Harvey convinced the state to buy the hospital grounds, then raised enough money to furnish and operate a home for soldiers’ orphans. It opened on January 10, 1866, and Mrs. Harvey was its first superintendent. Originally housing 84 orphans, by 1875 only 40 were left. These children were placed in foster homes, and the institution was then closed.
The home was given to the University of Wisconsin to establish a medical school, but President Bascom decided the school should be in Milwaukee. In 1876 the UW sold the property to the Norwegian Lutheran Synod, which opened a seminary. A private high school, The Monona Academy, was shortly thereafter located on the grounds. In 1889 the Synod closed the seminary and opened the Martin Luther Orphanage. A fire in 1893 destroyed the buildings, and the orphanage was moved to Stoughton. The property was sold in 1894 to developers and parceled up into smaller lots.

The main octagon section was the home of Governor Farwell, the wing of wood was added in 1862.

The red granite marker at Spaight & Brearly streets:
“On this city block stood during the Civil War, Harvey Hospital, and later the Wisconsin Soldiers’ orphans home. Both established through the influence of Mrs. Cordelia P. Harvey, whose honored husband, Governor Louis P. Harvey, had, April 19, 1862, been accidentally drowned in Tennessee River, near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee, where, after the battle of Shiloh, he went with supplies for the comfort of sick and wounded Wisconsin soldiers. Presented to the City by the school children of Madison May 29, 1908.”