Governor Leonard Farwell lived here, in his octagonal mansion

Governor Leonard Farwell lived here, in his octagonal mansion (HMM02)

Location: Madison, WI 53703 Dane County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 4.759', W 89° 21.971'

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The Madison Heritage Series

Madison was little more than a few buildings and a swamp in 1847 when Leonard Farwell bought large amounts of land here. Orphaned at 11, Farwell built a very successful hardware business in Milwaukee while still in his 20s. He would soon transform Madison and Wisconsin.

Farwell built Williamson and Winnebago streets and East Washington Avenue, and straightened the Yahara River between lakes Mendota and Monona. He dammed Lake Mendota to harness power for the first mill. He supported and created local businesses and tirelessly promoted Madison as a place to live and work. During the "Farwell Boom," Madison's population skyrocketed, from 600 in 1846 to 11,000 in 1857.

Serving a brief but productive term as Wisconsin's youngest governor, from 1852 to 1854, Farwell abolished the death penalty and created an influential immigration agency that attracted Europeans, especially Germans, to Wisconsin.


Leonard Farwell's elegant 1854 mansion occupied a lakefrontblock bounded by Spaight and Brearly streets. Measuring almost 9,000 square feet, its opening was a grand social event in Madison. But Farwell lost the house and most of his investments in the 1857 depression. Appointed to a federal post in 1863, Farwell was present at Abraham Lincoln's assassination and warned the vice president to protect himself from the conspirators.

The mansion became a Civil War soldiers' hospital, a soldiers' orphans' home and a Lutheran seminary. The house was demolished in 1895 to make room for a subdivision.
HM NumberHMM02
Year Placed2001
Placed ByCity of Madison
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 14th, 2014 at 12:16pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 307380 N 4772340
Decimal Degrees43.07931667, -89.36618333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 4.759', W 89° 21.971'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 4' 45.54" N, 89° 21' 58.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)608
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 600 S Brearly St, Madison WI 53703, US
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