Thursday, May 18, 2006

Getting the ball rolling

I have typed up details for three sites using the general spirit of John's form to format the info. Of course, everything here is subject to change, so give me your comments.

Title: The Forty Theives

Location: Corner of Doty and Martin Luther King

Text: Early in 1853, a group of lobbyists seeking a charter for a new railroad called the “Rock River Valley Union Railroad Company” invaded Madison. Their aggressive and unethical tactics manipulated the young legislature and created a scandal that became a sensation throughout the state. The men operated out of a club house located on this corner, where they threw many extravagant dinner parties that ended in late night orgies. They dubbed their club house Monk’s Hall and called themselves the Monks of Monk’s Hall, but to the scandalized citizens of Madison, they became known as The Forty Thieves. Over time, their legacy became entrenched in the lexicon of the Wisconsin legislature as the moniker of “Forty Thieves” became a generalized term for participants in subsequent political scandals.

Reenact a scene involving a legislator being manipulated/coerced by one of The Forty Thieves (extra points for manipulating an actual legislator).

Couldn’t find a picture of these guys, or even of their building, so I went with some random railroad image. Maybe if anyone stumbles across a photo of some sleazy looking guys in suits from the mid-1800s, we could use that instead.

Title: Pigs in the Capitol

Location: The Capitol building

Text: In November of 1838, the legislature of the territory met in Madison for the first time, despite the fact that the first capitol building was still under construction. The condition of the legislators’ accommodations that first winter was primitive to the point of being absurd. The contractor that was building the Capitol even kept his pigs in the cellar, which was just below the room in which the legislature met. One legislator made a place for himself in history by interrupting the long winded speeches of his rivals by going into the cellar with a pole and poking the pigs so that their raucous squealing would drown out the speaker above.

Go into the Capitol and recreate this scene of poking pigs to make them squeal.

I went with a picture of the first Capitol building for this one.

Title: Roving Animals

Location: Capitol Lawn

Text: By the mid 1800’s, Madison had become an important political and commercial center, but still had very much the appearance of a rough frontier town. Upstanding citizens wanted to clean up Madison – both its image and its environment. One of the problems involved a multitude of dogs, pigs, sheep, and other livestock roaming freely around the Capitol grounds. In 1855, proclamations and ordinances attempted to deal with the problem. Any roaming pigs were subject to be rounded up and sold to the highest bidder, and the village marshal was given the power to kill any loose dogs on sight.

Round up some pigs and take their picture OR find a dog and shoot it (figuratively of course...).

Need a picture of some hogs or pack of dogs or something like that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work! I'm quite intrigued by the pigs below the meeting rooms! If you are looking for historical facts and pictures, I'd recommend contacting David V. Mollenhoff, author of "Madison, A History of the Formative Years" and all-around nice guy. He's a walking history book of Madison. (608) 255-2234 is his home number. If you don't use him, his book is likely a wonderful resource. He spoke in my Power of Cities class taught by Mayor Dave.

10:31 AM  
Blogger David Deal said...

Yes indeed, excellent book. In fact, it is the source of much of the info I have used so far.

9:25 PM  

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