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Old Posted Apr 17, 2021, 5:10 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Vintage Madison, WI -- '80s-'90s

Here's selections of photos I took in Madison Wisconsin while a grad student back in the '80s along with periodic visits in the '90s. Madison is both the State Capital and also home to University of Wisconsin and has grown significantly since the '80s. The city has a very unique geographical layout, with downtown being located on an isthmus between two sizable lakes. Coming from Minneapolis, the lakes in Madison felt very familiar, although they are much bigger than the Minneapolis Lakes (which you can easily walk around in an hour). Unlike today, the Capitol Square in downtown Madison was struggling in the '80s as retail development was exploding on the city's west side (Odanna Road was the trendy retail location then). The City staged lots of events along Capitol Square, including a very popular weekly farmer's market (which continues to this day). Despite the struggles of the Square, State Street, which links the Capitol Square to the university campus, was very lively.

Madison Skyline from Lake Monona Fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Looking up State Street to UW Campus from State Capitol, Madison September 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Homecoming in the rain, Capitol Square, Madison, Fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Farmers Market on the Square, Madison, WI Fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Farmers Market on the Square, Madison, WI by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Shops along Capitol Square, Madison, fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Along the Square, Madison, WI Fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Bike racing around the square, Madison Summer 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Mondale-Ferraro Rally, Fall 1984 at Wisconsin State Capitol by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Purple Rain at The Orpheum, State Street, Madison Fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
Closing Store, Capitol Square, Madison -- 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Langdon Street near the UW, Madison, Wisconsin - March 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Red & White Hamburgers, N Henry Street, north of State Street, Madison, WI by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

old train station, Madison fall 1986 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

The Elephants have arrived, Madison Sept 1986 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Lake Monona, Madison spring 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Lake Mendota Shoreline, Madison, WI -- March 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Reagan admits mistake in Iran for Contras Deal, Newspaper Headlines--March 1987, Madison, WI by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Gilman Street, south of State, Madison, WI March 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street & Fairchild, Madison, WI by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street during Maxwell Street Days, July 13, 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street during Maxwell Street Days, a major sales event in downtown Madison by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street, Madison during Maxwell Street Days Sale July 13, 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Orpheum Theater, State Street, Madison (Jan 1985) by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street, Madison (Jan 1985) by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street, Madison fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street, Madison -- Fall 1984 (after Homecoming Parade) by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State & Lake, Madison near UW Campus by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Looking from Bascom Hall down Bascom Mall to Capitol, UW Madison Dec 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Library Mall, UW Madison Dec 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Studying at UW Memorial Library, Madison -- March 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Memorial Union, University of Wisconsin, Madison -- September 1997 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
Enjoying Spring Sunshine at Union Terrace, UW Madison March 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Hanging out on the Terrace, UW Madison Student Union, along Lake Mendota by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Lunchboxes on Display, outside UW Student Union by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

UW Students--fall 1986 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Climbing Bascom Hill on a foggy day, UW-Madison — Fall 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

University of Wisconsin at Madison, Fall 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

UW Madison--Fall 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
In fall 1985, Filming took place on the UW campus for the Rodney Dangerfield movie "Back to School". As shown here, the UW was named Great Lakes University in the movie.

Park Street, University of Wisconsin, Madison--Fall 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
Near Library Plaza, UW Madison by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
Looking down Library Mall and State Street from Bascom Hill, UW Madison 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Madison, WI - 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Lake Mendota , Madison (Spring 1985) by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Monona Bay, Madison Sunrise Fall 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Wisconsin Arboretum, Madison October 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Bike-mania--Budget Bike Shop on Regent Street, Madison Dec 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Two Madison bars: Church Key & Headliners Fall 1986 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

My stereo in Madison--just vinyl and cassettes, fall 1984 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Todd at 125 S Brittingham Place, September 1986 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Beatles on CD--1st 4 LPs released February 1987 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

The Kinks Playing Dane County Coliseum, Madison, WI -- March 10, 1985 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

State Street at Gotham, Madison, WI -- Sept 1999 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Essen Haus, East Wilson Street, Madison, WI -- October 1997 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Myles Teddywedgers--Cornish Pasty Pies--State Street, Madison, WI -- April 1996 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Fairchild at State Street, Madison -- April 1996 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Barrymore Theater, Madison, Wisconsin— April 1996 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

View from Concourse Hotel, Madison, WI - Sept 1991 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr

Madison, WI — April 1996 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2021, 6:46 PM
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Yes that is how it looked - just introduced the GF to Teddy Wedgers a few weeks ago (they are still there). ty for the memories.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2021, 6:58 PM
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Fantastic stuff.

What a feel/vibe.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 12:55 AM
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Great photos! I especially love this:

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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 8:36 AM
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So cool to see! I lived in Madison for 15 years until i moved 4 years ago. Used to cold approach girls on state street during the day. Excellent location for that, tons of hot girls. Used to work at State Street Brats as well, it was still just the "Brathaus" in your pics. Beautiful city in the summer time.

I visited last summer though and state street made me sick. Every single business was boarded up because the riots and BLM and FUCK 12 was spray painted everywhere and there were more homeless people begging for change than ever. RIP Madison.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Dylan Dude View Post
So cool to see! I lived in Madison for 15 years until i moved 4 years ago. Used to cold approach girls on state street during the day. Excellent location for that, tons of hot girls. Used to work at State Street Brats as well, it was still just the "Brathaus" in your pics. Beautiful city in the summer time.

I visited last summer though and state street made me sick. Every single business was boarded up because the riots and BLM and FUCK 12 was spray painted everywhere and there were more homeless people begging for change than ever. RIP Madison.
Was there last month (back again this week)- will post a "few" shots soon - about 1/2 the boardups were down. The homeless didn't seem that much worse than before, but much more noticeable with the vacant mall. And yes - the girls - sooo many girls - blew my mind as a freshman.


The handywork of a former girl friend - we live on in history !
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 1:34 PM
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great shots.

i think madison is the ultimate “big state” college “town,” although a small city. i remember visiting when i was still in college thinking “fuck - so this is how it should be!”
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 6:58 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Thanks for all your comments! Madison has grown tremendously since the ‘80s. In the ‘80s, the city was about 175k, with a metro of about 325k. Now the city is over 260k & the metro is above 600k.
Teddywedgers was one of my favorite places to get a quick meal in Madison. Really wish more places offered English style meat pies!

I also have to add that I learned what a bubble Madison was after the ‘84 election. Given all the anti-Reagan sentiment and reading the (left-leaning) Wisconsin State Journal and the (very left-oriented student paper) Daily Cardinal left me with an expectation the Mondale would easily win Wisconsin, if not the US. Completely wrong on both counts—Reagan won in a landslide.

On a happier, less political note, it was in Madison that I met my future wife. Next week, we celebrate our 30th anniversary.
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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 8:34 PM
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Good stuff. Madison is always interesting.

Man, I wish I had a time machine. This bike shop.

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Old Posted Apr 18, 2021, 9:19 PM
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I've only been to Madison once back in the early aughts but I fell in love with it. Could definitely see myself living there.
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 7:51 AM
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Like most Twin Citians I love Madison. There are a lot of really good photos in this thread but this one really stands out - this is A+ street photography in my book, you can feel the city in motion:

State Street at Gotham, Madison, WI -- Sept 1999 by Todd Jacobson, on Flickr
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 1:14 PM
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On a happier, less political note, it was in Madison that I met my future wife. Next week, we celebrate our 30th anniversary.
Awww...congratulations! And look at a young Todd in there LOL!!!
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 1:23 PM
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WOW!

Loved this thread.

People are reading books. Nobody looking at smartphones. Nobody texting

The cars, the styles, such a good job capturing the 80s and 90s

Thanks for sharing
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 5:40 PM
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My dad lived in Madison for a year in 2006. Awesome town
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 7:25 PM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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Thanks for all your comments! I definitely enjoyed my time there and always enjoy going back.
Chef, I’m pretty sure that was just a happy accident, since I took another photo without the bus. But, I really like how this came out, even down to the guy sweeping the sidewalk.
Thanks Chris! Now that I’m vaccinated, we need to plan another day trip somewhere!
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Old Posted Apr 19, 2021, 7:56 PM
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Excellent!
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2021, 5:01 AM
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What is the story with people on ladders? Loss prevention?
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  #18  
Old Posted Jun 11, 2021, 11:57 AM
MplsTodd MplsTodd is offline
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What is the story with people on ladders? Loss prevention?
Yes, that’s my understanding. This was taken during Maxwell Street Days, influenced by Chicago’s Maxwell Street Fair.
This picture was from 1985 and it was the same day as the Live Aid Concert. Everywhere you went you could hear the concert broadcast over various radios throughout the city.
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2021, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for this! Madison seemed more Berkeleysque back in the day. (To be honest, I don't know if Berkeley is still "Berkeleysque" nowadays... maybe the techbros ruined it too).
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Old Posted Jun 11, 2021, 6:45 PM
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wow what another awesome time machine thread. i always wish i would have taken more pics back then.

so many things to notice, especially if you knew the era. for example, i see a ragstock. still going strong and a cool mix of vintage and mostly winter clothes. i always wished they would come out to ohio. also, it seemed like every place had a 'headliners' club back then. lol.

thanks for doing this!
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