Our History

UNIVERSITY HILL FARMS – Madison's Mid-Century Neighborhood
By Daina Penkiunas

June 2006 - (For an expanded version of this article, published in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, August 2005, click here.)

In 1846, New York native Harmon Hill and his wife Clarissa moved to the farm site that was to become the Hill Farms neighborhood. The family built a large stone house in 1857, near the current location of University Avenue and Segoe Road. The Hills farmed the land until 1893, when they retired to the city. The farm’s buyer, Benjamin Lewis, in turn sold the farm to the University of Wisconsin School of Agriculture in 1897. The area became the University's 600 acre research farm.

Spotlight on our Original Residents:
Hill Farms: Celebrating 50 Years of Friendship
By Julie Genovese

May 2006 - Ginner Jefferds and Jane Wise were young mothers when they met in 1954. Both Jane and Ginner were living in tiny houses with their families on Frosty Lane in the Crestwood neighborhood. With growing families, they needed more space. The two friends took daily walks together pulling their children in wagons to the dead end of Merrill Crest. From there, they viewed the large farm, which was being developed – the farm that would become the Hill Farms neighborhood. They watched the construction of Regent Street. They saw houses popping up throughout the farm. They briefly flirted with moving to other neighborhoods. The Jefferds considered Shorewood or the Highlands, and the Wises almost bought a place on Tokay Boulevard. But they were intrigued by the opportunity to design and build their own home. So on March 31, 1959, the day before her fourth child was born, Ginner, her husband, Jack, and the kids moved into their home on Bayfield Terrace. Six months later, Jane, her husband, and their kids moved into their home on South Eau Claire Avenue.

Spotlight on our Second-Generation Residents
By Julie Genovese

October 2006 - These original residents liked the neighborhood so much, they returned to raise their own families here.

Jamie Lindau was three years old when his family built their home on Fond du Lac Trail in the "new" Hill Farms Development. Jamie attended Van Hise Elementary (grades K-6) and Van Hise junior high (grades 7-8). He was an active participant on the Hill Farms Pool’s water polo team which regularly played its arch nemesis Shorewood Pool – appropriately nicknamed "the Evil Empire." After graduating UW-Madison and exploring the western part of the country, Jamie and his bride, Karen, returned to Wisconsin intent on settling in Monona. As they were house hunting, however, a home on Cheyenne Trail became available which Jamie recalls in his youth had eighty-five children living there. The Lindaus returned to the neighborhood in 1990 to raise their three children: Cameron, Elias, and Kyia, in the "little town in the city."

50th Anniversary Home Tour

June 4, 2006 - Over four hundred people, including nearly one hundred volunteers, toured beautiful homes and gardens during our 50th Anniversary Home Tour. We raised over $1800 in ticket sales and over $300 in t-shirt sales. It was truly a community effort to make our first tour so memorable.

5001 Bayfield Terrace

In conjunction with the Madison Trust, we opened 10 houses and 5 gardens to the public in honor of the 50 years since the first residents moved into the “new” neighborhood. The houses highlight a variety of architectural styles popular in the late 50s and early 60s when the neighborhood construction was in full swing. The gardens add to the living pleasure of the neighborhood.

Download a boundary map of the neighborhood