History

Madison Brass Works

206-214 Waubesa Street
Dates of Construction: 1918, 1929, 1936, 1938, 1941, 1952, 1959

What happened in the Brass Works building is more historically significant than the building itself. The Madison Brass Works fabricated brass fitting and bronze and aluminum castings, including the plaque mounted on Bascom Hall on the University of Wisconsin campus, which proclaims that “…the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the Truth can be found.”  You can find these plaques on every University of Wisconsin campus.

The building is locally significant in industry, for its association with a specialty manufacturer. The Madison Brass Works manufactured brass castings and fittings, including components that were essential parts of products made by other companies. The firm was the only brass foundry in Madison, and continued in business until 1994. The period of significance for the Madison Brass Works extends from 1918, the date of construction of the oldest part of the building, through 1966.

The Goodman Community Center has purchased the Madison Brass Works and will rehabilitate it for programs serving residents of the neighborhood. The historic appearance of the exterior will be preserved.

Architecturally, the Madison Brass Works building is considered an irregularly-shaped, astylistic utilitarian building with three sections: foundry, office, and storage. There were six additions to the original 1918 building as the business grew. Some of the most architecturally interesting features from the 1918 and 1936 portions of the foundry are the segmental-arched roofs with steel-framed metal monitors in the main room. Those features will be replicated to enhance the beauty of Goodman’s new, large community room.

The office is a small, one-story section east of the foundry, facing Waubesa Street, and veneered with lannon stone in random ashlar. It dates to 1941. The concrete block storage section wraps around the south and west sides of the foundry. The west end of the storage section was built in 1952. The east end of the storage section was constructed in 1959.