Can the history of one address tell the history of a city?
That's the intent of Sense of Place: 102 East Gorham Street, a short documentary directed by Jill Hopke and Amanda Werhane and narrated by Cynthia Cauthern for the Madison 150 Film collection assembled by Wis-Kino in 2006 to celebrate the city's sesquicentennial. The film tells the story of nearly a century-and-a-half of history at the house, located at the corner of Gorham and Pinckney Streets on the slope of Mansion Hill.
The building's origins are noted in a historical marker placed by the Madison Landmarks Commission in January 1972. It reads:
This rambling brick Italianate and eclectic style house probably was originally built for Lansing W. Hoyt, a local speculator. It was later occupied and altered by Elisha W. Keyes, a powerful local political "boss" who was appointed postmaster by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, and elected Mayor of Madison in 1865, 1866, and again in 1886. The house was the site of many political conferences and social events.Over the ensuing century, this structure has served as home to many generations of residents.
102 East Gorham Street not only served as a mayoral mansion, but also served as a fraternity, nursing home, Grove's Co-op (an early interracial housing option for women students at the UW), the home base for the Green Lantern Eating Co-op, the one-time front yard of the Period Garden Park, and most recently, Hypatia Co-op, a local leader in harnessing solar energy.
This documentary about the house on Mansion Hill follows.
More information about Madison's co-ops, including those at 102 East Gorham Street, is provided by the Madison Community Co-operative and the LothWiki operated by Lothlorien Co-op. This includes a history of Grove's and a profile of Hypatia.