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Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

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Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby Bwis53 » Sat Apr 17, 2010 9:43 pm

I was sitting there, this morning, remembering. There used to be a few chairs, with the classic sunprint design. This version had a puffy, springy construction, to give the feeling of cushion spring. Anyone else remember that?

I can also remember they could sometimes pinch.
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby roadkill bill » Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:04 pm

Bwis53 wrote:I can also remember they could sometimes pinch.


Yes, I remember them, having been a Terrace rat off and on for... um... decades. And yes, they did pinch your ass or thighs on occasion, not a good property for something that is most frequently used in the summer.

If my memory of rumor is correct - and with a rock solid intro like that, why wouldn't it be? - the original manufacturer of the chairs went out of business. The Wisconsin Union contracted for an exclusive design and mold that would produce the chairs you see today.

I also remember some of the less unique metal chairs they used before the current design - mesh chairs that had a tilted back, so you ended up leaning away from the table. Comfortable, but shitty for having a conversation.
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby lolagirl » Mon Apr 19, 2010 7:26 am

Yeah, I remember those chairs, and they were not that comfortable. The newer ones are much better. As long as we're boring the young folks - remember when the Terrace was a lot smaller - just the very center part in front of the Rathskellar? The rest of the area was a grass/dirt hill. I think the original Terrace was paved with field stones - I recall it being much more difficult to walk on than now. Or maybe that was after too many beers..
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby frozenCow » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:33 am

Yes, I remember sitting in the old springy chairs back when the terrace was smaller. I remember seeing the springy chairs Bwis53 is talking about when I first went to the terrace in the early 70s. By the late 70s there were fewer of them. The story I heard back then was that many had worn out (and I did see some with the seats rusted completely through) but I also heard that a number of them had found their way to the bottom of Lake Mendota. I was always under the impression that the springy chairs were the original terrace chairs dating back to at least the 1940s. A friend once claimed the same springy chairs can be seen in the movie Casablanca (and I have a faded memory - I think - of seeing a still from the movie showing the same chairs, but every Google image search I do now does not support that).

Just as roadkill bill recalls, I too remember that when the UW went to replace them (in the late 70s/early 80s) they could not get an exact replacement, and so they commissioned a company to make the chairs in the style we see today. Once again, I was under the impression that the current chairs were an “as close as they can get” replacement for the “original” chairs. That was the way I remember it, but through the years I’ve noticed that any reference to the current chairs in official UW publications makes it sound like they are exact replicas of an earlier chair.

So today I went to the archives, and the photographic evidence shows that I was wrong about what the original chair design really was.

Observe: In this 1940 photo, the chairs are totally different.

Memorial Union Terrace, 1940 ca.
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=2122

In this 1948 photo, the chairs look much like the chairs look today.

Memorial Union Terrace, 1948 ca.
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id= 57986

In this 1952 photo, the chairs look much like the chairs look today.

Memorial Union Terrace, 1952 ca.
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=42913

In this 1968 photo, there is a mix of chairs like they have today and the springy chairs. The student in the left foreground is sitting in a springy chair.

Students at the Memorial Union Terrace, May 23, 1968
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=42829

In this 1970 photo, more springy chairs.

Group on Memorial Union Terrace, 1970 ca.
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=67636

In this 1973 photo, it looks like a mix including springy chairs.

Group on Memorial Union Terrace, May 30, 1973
Imagehttp://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/fullRecord.asp?id=55330
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby lolagirl » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:25 pm

fcow - thank you for a wonderful post. These pictures are fantastic.
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby fennel » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:01 pm

Here's a slightly earlier view:
Fauerbach beer truck at Union Terrace
I don't see any of those distinctive chairs, but I believe I do see Waldo.
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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Mar 04, 2011 3:32 pm

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Re: Old UW Memorial Union Terrace Chairs

Postby fennel » Fri Mar 04, 2011 5:33 pm

Here are a few more Terrace pics, in no particular order. It looks as if there were similar chairs in 1933.

Terrace 1
Terrace 2 (Where's Waldo?)
Terrace 3
Terrace 4
Terrace 5
Terrace 6
Terrace 7
Terrace 8
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