Tent Colony Foundations

Tent Colony foundation. Photo by William Cronon.

Wandering the Lakeshore Path through these thick woods at the western end of the Preserve, you might never imagine that this was once the site of one of the UW’s most unusual student housing experiments.

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See the full article on the Tent Colony

Every summer between 1912 and 1962, a group of students erected wall tents on this slope and spent the summer living here with their families while taking courses and doing research. Only with the opening of the Eagle Heights Apartments in 1962 did this half-century-long experiment in outdoor campus living finally come to an end.

You can read more about the tent colony on this website, but while you’re in these woods, be sure to look for signs of the hundreds of people who once lived here. There are old tent foundations barely visited beneath the leaves on the forest floor, cement platforms that once supported water pumps, and various other remnants of this unusual community. It can take a while to find them, but be patient and you’ll certainly succeed in doing so.