Madison Landmarks: The Memorial Union
The Memorial Union and The Terrace
The terrace chairs have made their appearance which means that summer is officially here in Madison! But did you know that these iconic chairs are also historic?
According to the Wisconsin Union, back in 1929, the terrace had wicker furniture, which was very popular. Unfortunately, due to the classic midwest weather that we all know and love, the wicker was quickly damaged. So, by 1933, metal chairs, with varying sunburst designs, were introduced.
In 1981, the sunburst style was the official chair of the terrace. Because the previous company that made the chairs, which was located in Ohio, had closed, the Union commissioned Wisco Industries to build the chairs. The colors, John Deere green, yellow, and Allis Chalmers orange, were chosen for their Wisconsin significance, but also to represent the 3 seasons that the terrace is open, Spring, Summer, and Fall.
The green, yellow and orange chairs are still fixtures on the terrace and, since the renovation in 2016, there are more than 700 of them that students help take out every year.
After years of being the centerpiece of Madison's summer, The Terrace is only getting bigger and more popular. The recent renovation, which started in 2012 was officially finished in 2017. With this renovation, the terrace was expanded adding hundreds of more seats, more room for the brat grill and more than 900 feet of new seawall which returned the shoreline to a natural curve and also added more spots for seating.
With these updates, and the 10 different options for foods and drink, including our favorite, Babcock Ice Cream that is served at the Daily Scoop, The Memorial Union Terrace is one of our favorite Madison landmarks!