Residential Design Guidelines

East Side Tour

Northwest Tour

Southwest Side Tour

East Park Tour

Historic Main Street Tour

Downtown Design Guidelines

The Commission Publications

Related Links

COA &  Instructions




The Southwest Side Historic District: On-line Walking Tour


Note: The following ‘online tour’ has been adapted from The Southwest Side Historic District: A Walking Tour, a booklet produced by Landscape Research, Ltd. for the Commission in 1999. For more information regarding this booklet as well as others produced by the Commission, see The Commission Publications page.”

Stoughton is often called a New England village, and in many respects it resembles one.  Situated on high rolling ground, at the bend of the Catfish, or Yahara River, it truly has a beautiful site.
                   Madison, Dane County and Surrounding Towns, Being a History and Guide, 1877.

With its stylish buildings arranged above Main Street and the Yahara River, a neighborhood of over one hundred houses provides a view of Stoughton’s building traditions since the late 1850s.  Today, this approximately twenty block area between South Monroe, South Page, Oak and Main streets is testament to the city’s past building traditions as well as the present interest in neighborhood conservation.  In 1996, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Southwest Side Historic District.

Situated on south bank of the Yahara, this area was among the first to be developed after Luke Stoughton laid out the town in 1847.  Seeing the potential of what was then called the Catfish River for a dam and sawmill, he platted the original town around a dam site and built a sawmill and gristmill. The town’s early business district soon gathered along Main Street.

In 1853, the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad reached Stoughton from Milwaukee with freight and passenger service. Served by rail and enjoying a good location as a small milling town and agricultural trade center, Stoughton’s population grew steadily. In 1855, Luke Stoughton made an addition to the original town plat on the south side of the river; it included a site for his own house.

The next year, Stoughton built his new cream brick residence at 516 S. Page Street. The site originally included all of Block 6, and Stoughton and his family enjoyed a fine view of the river.  He helped to organize the First Universalist Church; in 1858 the church building was erected at 324 S. Page Street. The building is now the Stoughton Historical Society and remains a neighborhood landmark.



Southwest Walking Tour   SW 2 SW 3 SW 4 SW 5 SW 6 SW 7 SW 8 SW 9

Web site by  Web-Net