Camp Randall Trailer Park
For a few years following World War II part of the Camp Randall/Engineering Campus area was used
as temporary trailer park. Millions of veterans, taking advantage of the GI bill, flooded America's
campuses, often bringing their families. At the time, housing was at a premium so the university
set up 91 single and double trailers, brought down from the Hercules Powder Co. in Baraboo, where
they had housed defense workers. A one-bedroom trailer was $25/month a two-bedroom was $32.50/month.
There were communal bathrooms and a central laundry room. No driers, wet clothes were hung out on
laundry lines. Water for cooking and drinking had to be carried to each trailer and the used water
had to be carried back and dumped. Space heaters provided heat and each resident was responsible
for filling their 5-gallon fuel at the central drums provided by the university.
Made in Quonset, R.I. the UW acquired a total of 15 from the military after WWII.
Enrolment doubled in the 1945-46 school year when vets flooded the campus.
The university was drastically short of housing and classrooms.
Q-15, The last 'Temporary' building finally removed, August, 2004.
Residing behind Old Engineering
for almost 60 years
Q-15 continued to house the foundry of the art department's metal artists until they moved
near the Kohl Center. The other Quonset classrooms, located on Library Mall, were dismantled in the
1950s and 1960s.
Camp Gallistelle Tent Colony
In 1912 the UW decided to set up a tent colony on Lake Mendota in summer months for "school men of small income". Camp Gallistelle, named in honor of its caretakers, was located on Willow Drive between the Eagle Heights Community Gardens and the lake.
With outhouses, a hand water pump, and wooden platforms to pitch tents on. Some built shacks, using canvas, tar paper, wooden frames and bug screens. The men at the tent colony were allowed to bring their families.
Students who didnít want to trudge over the muddy road paid 25 cents for a round-trip boat ride to University Pier. Eventually the road to the colony was paved.
Gardens provided fruit & vegetables, the fishing was outstanding, and cooking was done over open fires or gas stoves. The lake also served as the bathtub, with bathers tying bars of soap around their necks.
By the 1950s, the tent colony grew to five acres. About 200 residents lived there in its heyday.
In the beginning, students paid nothing to stay in the tent colony. A half-century later, it was still the best housing bargain in town, costing only $35 to rent a site for the entire summer.
In 1962 the university closed the colony because it was too expensive to maintain. Just 17 people were living there during the last summer of its existence. All that remains is a water well, footings for piers, and the latrines.