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Historical Trust Withdraws Landmark Nomination for Churchill Building, Clearing Roadblock for WHS Museum Expansion

Historical Trust withdraws landmark nomination for Churchill building clearing roadblock for WHS museum expansion

The Wisconsin Historical Society wants to expand its Capitol Square museum, and the huge project is now one step closer to reality.

The Madison Trust for Historic Preservation has decided to withdraw their historic landmark nomination of a nearby building that, if preserved, would significantly limit the WHS project design.

The massive proposal, to be funded by the state and a WHS campaign, would redevelop the current museum on the first block of North Carroll Street and expand on the neighboring properties to create a 100,000 square-foot museum. Hovde Properties and landowner Fred Mohs would build up to 250,000 square-feet of commercial and residential space on top of the museum.

Museum officials have said the current space at 30 N. Carroll St. is too small to keep up with 77,000 annual visitors, and limits the type and size of exhibits.

“It was my dream to build a new Wisconsin History Museum, and it still is,” former Gov. Tommy Thompson said in a statement. “It’s just an absolute necessity.”

The project would like to expand into the space of the 103-year-old Churchill Building, originally known as the Gay Building, at 16 North Carroll St. But in February, the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation filed a local landmark nomination for the building.

Built in 1915, the building is known as Madison’s first skyscraper, and the MTHP says it was influential in “setting building height limits that continue to preserve our views of the Capitol from afar.”

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