Madison in the Sixties – November 1962
More trouble for the city’s urban renewal program, as efforts to relocate residents of the Greenbush neighborhood who are losing their homes to the Triangle project continue to flounder. Florence Zmudzinski, relocation supervisor for the Madison Redevelopment Authority, says that her recent report blasting her own agency’s failures “did create an awareness of the problem, but the publicity had not provided the relocation staff with many new units.” The Wisconsin State Journal minces no words in its critique. “Madison’s relocation effort involving Triangle residents is pretty obviously in trouble,” it editorializes. “Houses are being removed more rapidly than safe and decent housing is becoming available. This could leave persons with no income no place to go. The fault lies in planning mistakes made by the Madison Redevelopment Authority.” Five days later, east side attorney and developer Albert McGinnis, who has chaired the MRA since its creation in 1958, suggests a solution— having the MRA enter into five- year leases with private landlords, then renting the units to households being relocated. But when it comes time to talk with the Madison Housing Authority about its leased housing program, old antagonisms arise, triggered when McGinnis again mentions “public housing ghettos.”“That’s the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever heard,” snaps MHA chair attorney Roland Day. “It’s so ridiculous I doubt if there’s any reason for continuing this meeting. The place to build public housing is where it’s needed.”
In other housing news, it looks like a large apartment complex will soon be built at the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and E. Gilman Street as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) approves the feasibility study and higher project costs for the first unit of Vilas Towers, upscale housing for the elderly on the site of the historic Vilas mansion. The state FHA director thinks the prospects of FHA financing are “excellent” for the eight- story, 109- unit building, planned as the first of three similar buildings, each of which will have plenty of amenities. And housing for a much different market moves ahead as building permits are issued for a $1 million, 140-unit apartment project on Northport Drive sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The integrated, rent- controlled project will be built on the former Bruns farm, just off North Sherman Avenue, where it will have good fire protection from the recently opened Fire Station #10 on Troy Dr.
Mayor Henry Reynolds thought that passage of the referendum earlier this year to abandon plans for a public auditorium at the end of Monona Avenue meant the city was done with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. But in mid- November, just as the auditorium committee is interviewing the prominent Chicago firm of Shaw Metz & Associates about its plans for a facility at the new location just west of the park on Lake Mendota, Judge Richard Bardwell drops a bombshell. In a sweeping decision, he finds the city’s contract with the Wright Foundation valid and enforceable, and orders the city to arbitrate the dispute over the foundation’s fee for the now-cancelled project. The common council promptly appeals, and the auditorium committee presses on, recommending that Shaw Metz be retained.
For years, the UW faculty has opposed the contract requiring members of the Big Ten conference to participate in the Rose Bowl if invited. As the Badgers roll through the 62 season, such an invitation looks likely, president Fred Harvey Harrington consults with the Athletic Board and the powerful University Committee, and announces the university will indeed accept an invitation. Nobody’s happy about it; the committee unanimously adopts a resolution stating that it feels “obliged to accept the invitation,” and
Harrington tells the regents that “post- season games involve a type of over- emphasis that
is undesirable.” The Capital Times agrees, denouncing “the undesirable nature of this arrangement with the commercial promoters who stage the Rose Bowl hoopla.” Two days after Thanksgiving, the Badgers cap a Cinderella season by beating border rival Minnesota 14-9 at Camp Randall. A jubilant crowd of ten thousand celebrates by parading to the Capitol and back behind the UW Band, blocking State Street with impunity. The Badgers not only retain Paul Bunyan’s Axe and win the Big Ten title, but also finish the season ranked second in the nation, their highest- ever ranking. Everyone starts making plans for New Year’s Day, when Wisconsin will take on top ranked USC— the first time the two top teams will face each other in a bowl game. Badger fans hope for a better showing than the debacle against Washington in 1960.
A unique educational initiative started by university president Charles Van Hise in 1911 enters its final days as the Madison school board unanimously approves merging Wisconsin High School with Central High School, effective July 1, 1964. Superintendent Phillip Falk says this will provide Central with needed additional students and relieve pressure on West High School, which will soon be so crowded that the city will have to open a new west side high school by September 1966. A few weeks later, the UW regents agree and approve the creation of Central- University High School.
Carson Gulley, supervising chef for the UW residence halls from 1927 to 1954, creator of its famed fudge bottom pie, and profiled in Who’s Who in Colored America, dies November 2 at age 65 from complications of diabetes. The Arkansas native was cooking at the Essex Lodge summer resort in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, where the vacationing director of UW dormitories and food service, recruited him. Gulley directed a training course for Navy cooks and bakers during World War II, which he expanded into a two-year UW training course for chefs. From 1953 to 1962, he and his wife, Beatrice, hosted the weekly What’s Cookin’ on Madison’s WMTV, apparently the first Black couple in America with their own television show. Unable to find decent housing due to racially restrictive covenants and practices, the Gulleys lived in a basement apartment in Tripp Hall until his retirement. Gulley then sought to build a home at 5701 Cedar Pl. in the cooperative Crestwood subdivision on the west side, but was able to move in only after his neighbors voted to allow it (one-third of the neighborhood residents publicly stood up to vote against this at the meeting). At least one cross was later burned on his lawn. After serving and supervising sixteen million meals but never being promoted to director of dormitory food services, Gulley left the UW. The couple opened a restaurant/catering service at 5522 University Ave. on September 3; two weeks later, Gulley fell ill and was hospitalized until his death.
And that’s this week’s Madison in the Sixties. For your award-winning listener supported WORT news team, I’m Stu Levitan.
Carson Gulley and his wife Beatrice on the set of their TV show, “What’s Cooking” in the 1950s. Photo courtesy UW Digital Collections