Free walking tour guides to Madison’s historic neighborhoods

Quintessential Madison

Stories from Wisconsin

Madison’s historic neighborhoods: Download free walking tour guides

Ten free walking tour guides to the historic neighborhoods of Madison, Wisconsin are available online in PDF format. In addition, there are three other brochures in this series that do not include specific details for a walk, but do include valuable information about Madison’s historic neighborhoods.

Even though some of these guides are almost 30 years old, most of the information they provide is still accurate – although you will discover that some buildings have vanished in the intervening years.

Ten self-guided walking tours of Madison, Wisconsin

The First Settlement Neighborhood: A Walking Tour – Written by Gary Tipler. Photography by Zane Williams – Published in 1988 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and Capitol Neighborhoods

Greenbush-Vilas Neighborhood: A Walking Tour – Written by Timothy Heggland, Photography by Zane Williams – Published in 1991 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the Brittingham-Vilas Neighborhood Association

The Langdon Street Historic District: A Walking Tour – Written by Carol Lohry Cartwright – Published in 1986 by the City of Madison

Madison’s Pioneer Buildings: A Downtown Walking Tour – Written by John Gruber – Published in 1986 by the City of Madison and Historic Madison, Inc. of Wisconsin. Second edition published in 1996

The Nakoma Neighborhood: A Walking Tour – Written by Timothy Heggland – Published in 2002 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the Nakoma Neighborhood.

Old Marketplace: A Walking Tour – Written by Timothy F. Heggland and Hillary Anne Frost-Kumpf. Photography by Zane Williams – Published in 1991 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the Old Market Place Neighborhood Association
This walking tour includes Madison’s first African American neighborhood

Schenk’s – Atwood Neighborhood: A Walking Tour – Written by Joseph Hermolin – Published in 1987 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the Atwood Community Center

Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood: A Walking Tour – Written by Timoth F. Heggland. Photography by Mike Tuten – Published in 1997 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association

The Third Lake Ridge Historic District: A Walking Tour – Prepared by Sara Leuchter and Carol Zellie – Published in 1987 By the Madison Landmarks Commission and Madison Trust for Historic Preservation

The University Heights Historic District: A Walking Tour – Written by Timothy F. Heggland – Published in 1987 by the Madison Landmarks Commission and the Regent Neighborhood Association

Three additional brochures about historic Madison, Wisconsin neighborhoods

Mansion Hill: Glimpses of Madison’s Silk Stocking District – Written by Gary Tipler – Published in 1981 by the Madison Landmarks Commission (with the assistance of a financial grant from the Thomas E. Brittingham, Sr., Madison Trust)
Contains a map and photograph, but no walking tour.

Exploring the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood – Published in 1999 by the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association
Note: Many of the links to this guide are broken. There is an online text version available on the neighborhood’s website. In addition, there is a link to a 21MG scanned PDF – but we have been unable to download a copy (perhaps because of the size).

Landmarks and Historic Districts in Madison: A Guide for Property Owners – Written by Kitty Rankin – Published in 1989 by the Madison Landmarks Commission

Although we’ve cited the authors and photographers whose names are listed in these books, you’ll find Kitty Rankin’s name listed in most of them. Hired in 1979 hired as Madison’s preservation planner, during her 30-year tenure in that position, “Rankin helped complete an almost two-decade effort to survey the city’s architectural resources, including 5,700 buildings; helped create the Downtown Historic Preservation Plan, three more historic districts, 14 walking tours; staffed the Landmarks Commission; and gave voice to how to handle countless historic buildings under threat, including city Parks Division treasures from the fireplaces at Hoyt Park to Breese Stevens Field,” according to aJanuary 4, 2009 article written by Dean Mosiman for the Wisconsin State Journal.