Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

History of Spring

“History is what you see no matter where you look,” according to Bill Cronon, Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. As I looked out over Library Mall on the UW-Madison campus yesterday I realized that the historic crab apple trees had slowly disappeared over the years. The space had been so much prettier in the past. A wave of nostalgia passed over me as I yearned for the springs that went before. Those were the springs the trees flowered when they were supposed to – around the first of May, not the first of April!

One of two flowering crab apple trees that remain on Library Mall today
in front of the Wisconsin Historical Society's headquarters building.
The other remaining tree is on the Langdon Street side
with the Memorial Union in the background.
Another burst of spring this year in front of the Old Red Gym.
One of the pleasures of working on campus in the 1980s and then again 20 years later was seeing the crab apples blooming on a beautiful spring day.  
Historical photos from May 12, 2008.

More history captured on May 3, 2006. . .
The view in front of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
Another beauty of a bygone time.
These trees on the Memorial Library side of the Mall are gone today.
Maybe after all the construction of the East Campus Gateway is finished, new trees will be planted and Library Mall will once more be the beautiful place it had been in springs past.


  1. That Hawthorne tree in front of the Red Gym is the state champion tree of that particular variety. The campus has a wonderful assortment of Hawthornes, one of my favorite trees. Thanks for the older pictures of the mall. I have been aware of the loss of trees and how the space always feels kind of junky and under construction and unfinished. Hope you are right and they re-landscape when they finish the gateway.

  2. I worked on Henry Mall (across from Agriculture Hall) for over 25 years. For years it was a showplace for the crab apple trees. People were always taking pictures in the spring. We had pink shade when we walked on the sidewalks. I overheard a TA talking to a class say these are "just Hopi crabs." Not a very good kind of crab apple tree. Little by little, with almost constant digging, running new pipes, and construction they were not saved and never replaced. Too bad.