Skip Navigation

Our beloved Terrace has seen its share of chair designs, all of which have had to answer to one ruthless and unforgiving critic: Wisconsin weather. The history of the Memorial Union’s Terrace chairs begins with the history of the Union itself. After its official opening on October 5, 1928, rustic-looking hickory chairs lined the shore of Lake Mendota. While a popular style at the time, these wooden seats couldn’t tolerate the harsh winters. In 1931, the Union sprung for two types of metal chairs: an early ancestor of today’s sunburst design and a similar Deauville design. For three decades, both were called “Terrace chairs,” but by the 1960s, the Deauville showed a flaw: its shape trapped water, causing the chairs to rust. Those chairs were phased out, and Badgers were left with the original sunburst chairs — that is, until the company that made them (located in Ohio) closed. In 1981, the Union contracted with a much closer fabricator — Wisco Industries in Oregon, Wisconsin — which still makes the now-iconic chairs.

More From Ask Flamingle HQ