by Andy Kraushaar and David Erickson, Wisconsin Historical Society
In July 2015, Mark Fraire of the Dane County Cultural affairs Commission invited staff members of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS) to review the contents of the Sid Boyum house at 237 Waubesa Street. The County had recently taken over the house for non-payment of taxes and had planned to sell the house and all of its contents at public auction in September of 2015. Mark wanted to save the art within the house and asked if WHS could make an assessment.
by Theresa Marche, Friends of Sid Boyum conservator
It all started out slowly, but inexorably at 237 Waubesa Street, a small residential property on the east side of Madison, WI. Owner, photographer, and neighborhood eccentric, Sid Boyum had a thing for Asian cultures, Japanese in particular. So of course he would build a Japanese-style teahouse and garden in his small backyard. Early photos show an open lawn with a small red and yellow teahouse in the back corner, with a large torii gate between two small (but deep) fishponds. A tiny bridge, just for show, and an open Japanese-styled picnic pavilion completed the scene. There was Sid in a kimono, to welcome guests to one of the many parties enjoyed in that setting.