Original Photograph: by Annie Sievers Schildhauer: Domestic Life Photographs; 1893-2013
Around the time of the construction of the building, anti-capitalist civil insurrections had occurred in a number of cities in the United States; Leaders in many cities saw the need for local armories to be prepared for worker strikes and uprisings. Thus, when funding the building, the Wisconsin legislature clearly saw its use by local militia. The architects, Conover and Porter, designed it with a dual purpose in mind: armory and gymnasium. Modifications were made to the plans when a new university president, Charles Adams, insisted that the second floor be capable of accommodating large assemblies. Construction began in fall, 1892 and was completed in September, 1894.