For additional information: Ruth Olson, Associate Director, CSUMC,; 262-8180.

A Free One-Day Conference On Madison’s “Melting Pot”

The Greenbush: Past, Present, Future
Tuesday, May 2, 2006, 9-5
Italian Workmen's Club, 914 Regent Street

The Greenbush Community Conference will explore the rich life experiences, community changes, and continuity in what has historically been Madison's most diverse community.  Join us for panel discussions, exhibits, videos, and the unveiling of a new website about the Greenbush.  We will listen to stories about “the Bush,” hear reflections on the present and plans for the future, play bocce ball, and learn about the development of the handheld computer “Greenbush Game.” 

Conference participants and presenters include 5th graders from Randall School, former and current residents of the Greenbush, university and community scholars, service providers, and students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The public is invited to participate in this free event.

Participants will be able to hear stories of former African American residents, histories of the Jewish settlement and of Neighborhood House, perspectives of the contemporary community by service providers, research presented by 5th graders, UW students envisioning the role of new Smith Hall in the community, and a panel of former residents who regularly keep in touch. Expect to see, also, 3-D models of historical buildings , a model for a proposed community museum, designs for open space, and videos of present residents. The demonstration of the “Greenbush Cultural Tour” website will feature a searchable database of images and writings about the neighborhood.

This conference has been made possible through the support of the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission, and is a collaboration among many individuals and organizations, including former and present Greenbush residents; authors, historians and scholars who have studied the Greenbush; Randall Elementary School students; and UW-Madison, especially Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures, the Department of Landscape Architecture, and Chadbourne Residential College.

In the early 20th century, many immigrants settled in Madison’s Greenbush neighborhood. The largest groups of residents in “the Bush”—Italians/Sicilians, Jews, and African Americans—were often unwelcome elsewhere in the city. By the early 1960s, this tightly-knit community had been bulldozed as a part of Urban Renewal, and residents were scattered to new neighborhoods. Today’s Triangle is still home to our most recent immigrants and now also home to people with disabilities. The neighborhoods around the Triangle still have a number of buildings where once Greenbush residents lived and worked. The history of the Greenbush continues to fascinate and instruct us about the real possibility and lasting value of a diverse, inter-cultural neighborhood.

The success of the historical Greenbush community, the pain of its destruction, and the new developments that replaced it need serious consideration as the city makes its plans to develop South Madison and the Park Street corridor.




Accessibility Statement & Questions, Comments or Concerns?

Last Updated: April 28, 2006 11:40 AM