A History and Tour of Sid Boyum’s Backyard

by Theresa Marche, Friends of Sid Boyum conservator

Sid's backyard as it appeared in the 1970s.
Sid’s backyard as it appeared in the 1970s.

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.

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