Property Details for 302 Lathrop Street
Mere blocks from Camp Randall and UW campus stands this magnificent three-story with true presence, tastefully blending classic architecture and modern appeal.
This historic home entertains numerous guests on the spacious front porch, in the open, inviting kitchen with two cookstoves, or in the roomy 3rd floor living space/studio with full bath. Great flow through classic foyer, parlor, and dining room. Excellent natural light throughout. So much to appreciate in this rare, captivating gem; you must come see it in person!
Home Owners Association / Condo Fees
Finished Square Feet
1 car, Detached
302 Lathrop Street is a single-family residence constructed in 1910 that retains impeccable integrity. It was constructed as neighborhoods began to develop west of the city center. Plotted in 1892, University Heights is located 1.5 miles west of the capital, which was outside the city boundaries at the time. Designed in the elements of both the Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles, the residence embodies the transition of the time as architects shifted from Victorian details to revival elements, artfully bridging the two styles that are individually popular throughout the University Heights neighborhood.
University Heights is significant as the first residential suburb of the City of Madison elite class. It housed distinguished faculty members of the neighboring University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). UW opened in 1849, and grew, such that at the turn of the century it was an established and thriving institution. Transportation and increased occupancy allowed for the city to grow west beyond the university.
The neighborhood was developed on land originally owned by Breese J. Stevens, a lawyer and former Mayor of Madison. Stevens sold 106 acres to the University Heights Company for $53,000 in 1893 – by this time the City of Madison was getting crowded, expensive, and citizens began to move outside of the city for new developments. In addition, the Madison City Railways Company was extending west in 1893 to serve new suburbs. UW was growing in 1893 with the purchase of land encompassing Camp Randall, immediately adjacent to University Heights. William T. Fish and Burr W. Jones were the principal officers in the University Heights Company. Fish was a prominent contractor who encouraged suburban development. He platted and developed Wingra Park in 1892. Jones was a prominent attorney, a former Dane County District Attorney, later Associate Justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The University Heights Company hired McClellan Dodge, a civil engineer and local surveyor to design the curvilinear plat. Street names were named for past UW presidents. After two months on the market, half of the lots were sold. The financial panic of 1893 briefly halted land sales. Despite the state of the economy, the first lot was purchased by Professor Richard T. Ely, a nationally known economist, and the first house constructed was by a local lawyer, Charles E. Buell, in 1894, which was designed in the Queen Anne style. Several of the original houses in the development were constructed by UW farmworkers and self-employed tradesman. The grander houses were constructed by UW faculty. Building development increased at the turn of the century, at which time, transportation issues were solved and suburban growth was accepted. One hundred and twenty of the 346 residences were built by senior university faculty and administrators. The success of this neighborhood spurred other high-end suburbs to develop: Nakoma (1915-1916), Shorewood Hills (1913), Lakewood (1912), and the Highlands (1911). (NRHP form)
The faculty that erected houses in the new development hired prominent architects in the Midwest, including Louis W. Claude and Edward F. Starck, Alvin E. Small, Law Law and Potter, and Frank M. Riley. Nationally recognized architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan also designed residences in the neighborhood. Architectural styles in the neighborhood include Prairie, Craftsman, and Queen Anne. Period Revival styles such as Colonial Revival and Tudor Revival are located on many of the remaining lots.
The University Heights Historic District was established as a National Register Historic District in 1984. The residents requested the establishment as a local historic district in 1985, becoming the third historic district in the City of Madison.
302 Lathrop Street
Tax assessor records from 1907 revealed lot 10 was originally owned by Louis Nahlenberg (research yielded no information on this person) and valued at $900. In 1908, records show the land was transferred to Edwin Bret Hart, at which time it retained the same value of $900. The value of the lot rose to $1,000 in 1909, and improvements are visible in 1910 due to construction of the single-family residence. Born in Sandusky, Ohio in 1874, Hart received his Bachelors of Science Degree from the University of Michigan in 1897. After studying in Germany, Hart worked for the New York State Experiment Station. In 1906, he became Chairman of the Agricultural Chemistry Department at UW from 1906-1944, a chemist within the UW Experiment Station for 19 years, and emeritus professor from 1945-1953. Hart was internationally recognized for his influential work in nutritional science. He researched animal nutrition, vitamins, biochemistry, stabilization of iodine in salt, and cheese ripening. In conjunction with fellow chemists, Hart attributed to experiments that led to the discovery of vitamins A, B group, D, and niacin; mineral absorption, and tracing leg weakness in chickens to vitamin deficiency. Other joint discoveries included the relationship between carotene and vitamin A, irradiation of foods to produce vitamin D, use of niacin to cure pellagra, the need for copper and iron in the blood to produce hemoglobin and treat anemia, and the importance of iodine to prevent goiter in animals. Additionally, he authored and co-authored 400 scientific papers wrote books on agricultural chemistry, and received an honorary Doctor of Science by the American Dairy Science Association in 1941 after he saved the evaporated milk industry in Wisconsin through the discovery sodium phosphate could prevent heat coagulation of milk. Hart was an adviser to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, and a consultant for the Quartermaster Food and Container Institute.
In his personal life, Hart married Annie Virginia Demille in 1903, who died in the mid-1930s. They had one child, Margaret. Hart passed away at the age of 78 in 1953 and bequeathed the house to his only child, who was married to Russell Harold Larson. Margaret Hart Larson was a UW graduate of the Letters and Science program. She bequeathed $1.9 million to the UW Neurosurgery Department in memory of her father and husband in 1998. The gift funded a neurosurgery module at the Hospital, professorship to the Medical School in honor of the head of the Neurology Department, Dr. Manucher J. Javid, and support the Neurological Department’s research, including cerebrovascular research to prevent and treat strokes, brain injuries, and brain tumors. Dr. Javid was Mr. Larson’s surgeon, who had cancer. After Mr. Larson passed, Dr. Javid encouraged Mrs. Larson to work as a secretary in the department, where she was employed from 1962-1968. Mrs. Larson died in 1996 at 85.
Russell H. Larson was a plant pathologist and assistant professor at UW. Born November 5, 1905 in Wausau, Wisconsin. He received his Master’s in Science and Doctor of Philosophy from UW in 1930 and 1934, respectively. Larson was well-known for his advancements on vegetable pathology through his studies of the host-parasite relationship of the crucifer clubroot organism, the improvement of methods for the development of disease resistant varieties of vegetables, and introduction of disease resistant varieties. He received an honorary life membership to the Potato Association of America in 1990, after he became internationally recognized for a paper on various potato diseases. A professor to graduate students, Larson married Margaret Hart in 1938 and had no children. He passed away after a battle of metastatic cancer on August 29, 1961.
Building Permits and City Directories show a third owner, Mark N. Muellar, an assistant professor at UW, from 1967-1977. With his wife, Jean A., they moved from University Housing to the subject property. Muellar was a rheumatologist at UW in the 1970s.
Fredericka Paff, an assistant professor at UW, and William Lawrence (Larry) Church, a UW professor, occupied the residence in 1978 through the 1990s. They were responsible in creating the modest rear addition in 1990. Church was born and raised in Milwaukee by a family of teachers. He was a law professor at UW for over 40 years after teaching law as a Peace Corp volunteer in Ethiopia and practicing law in the private sector in Milwaukee. As a UW professor, Church was named Teacher of the year four times by the Wisconsin Law Alumni Association. He was an advisor to the Supreme Court of Afghanistan, and taught two classes a year with his wife, Fredericka Paff. Church and Paff also co-authored cases-and-materials book for law students. Paff received her law degree from Stanford and clerked for William Rehnquist before and after he became a Chief Justice. She died at 72 from a stroke, survived by her husband and sister.
All of the residents of the house worked at the neighboring UW campus, embodying the original vision of the University Heights neighborhood.
Designed at the end of popularity for the Queen Anne style, the property beautifully reflects the shift of architectural styles at the time as architects moved away from the Queen Anne and began to use the Revival styles that were popularized at the turn of the century. By using the most current styles, home owners were able to reflect their wealth and status in society. The original building permit is not available, and as such, the architect is unknown. Only one alterations is visible – the small rear addition – therefore, the residence retains excellent architectural integrity.
The Queen Anne style (1880-1910) evolved from the Eastlake and Shingle styles, using a variety of wood materials for siding, different roof lines and planes, and decorative woodwork within gable ends and porches. Derived from the picturesque and romantic movement of the 19th century, it is a period revival style from the original Victorian reign in 1702-1714. The stylistic elements were a response to reject classical symmetry of earlier styles along with intricate wood details. Elements of the Queen Anne style displayed on the residence include the massing, wood clapboard and wood shingle siding, steeply-pitched cross-gable roof, projecting bay windows, wide overhanging eaves, recessed primary entrance, and a full-length front porch.
Period Revival styles (1910-1940) such as Neoclassical, Dutch Colonial, English Revival, and Colonial Revival styles can be seen throughout the region as early as the turn of the century. Favoring simple, clean lines with a minimal use of applied decoration, the Colonial Revival style evokes early history of the United States and the return to a more traditional American building type. The style was popularized when Colonial Williamsburg was restored in the 1920s. The traditional influence can be seen in the first floor porch elements: ionic columns, dentil molding, and wood-frame windows. Elements of the style visible on the residence include a heavy cornice on the gable end band of windows, wood shutters, ionic columns, dentil molding, symmetrical design on the top two floors, wall cladding, and the porch railing.
Calloway, Stephen, ed. The Elements of Style. New York: Simon and Shuster, Inc. 1996. Revised ed.
City of Madison Building Inspection Department. Building Permits for 302 Lathrop Street.
City of Madison Department of Planning and Development. Property folder for 302 Lathrop Street.
City of Madison Office of Historic Preservation. Property Form for 302 Lathrop Street.
Dane County Tax Assessor. Assessment Records for 302 Lathrop Street.
Madison City Directory. Madison: Wright Directory Co., Publishers, 1954, 1957, 191, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1983.
Heggland, Timothy. National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form: University Heights Historic District. November 3, 1982.
“Professor Larry Church has a teaching style all his own.” https://media.law.wisc.edu/m/mdk9m/gargoyle_34_1_6.pdf. Accessed May 4, 2018.
Roth, Leland M. American Architecture: A History. Boulder: Westview Press, 2001.
Stanford Alumni Network. “Obituaries.” https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=83031. Accessed May 4, 2018.
University of Wisconsin – Madison Archives. Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin on the Death of Emeritus Professor Edwin Bret Hart. June 1, 1953.
University of Wisconsin – Madison Archives. Memorial Resolution of the Faculty of the University of Wisconsin on the Death of Professor Russell Harold Larson. November 6, 1961.
Wisconsin Historical Society. “Historical Essay: Hart, Edwin Bret 1874 – 1953.” Accessed April 24, 2018.
Wisconsin State Journal. “Obituary. Rites for Prof. Hart, Famed UW Chemist, Set Saturday.” March 3, 1953.
Master Bedroom: 14x17
Master BedRm Level: Main Level
Full Bathrooms: 4
Kitchen and Dining
Exterior and Lot Features