Three nights before Christmas, what do I see out my window? Something new, something I’ve never seen before. The illuminated nurses dorm folly of Lake View Hill Conservancy Park.
Dane County wrecked down an old building next to its Human Services building at the top of Northport Drive on Madison’s North Side. It was the old nurses dorm next to what was then the tuberculosis sanatorium, which closed fifty years ago and is now the Department of Human Services main building.
The County neglected the old nurses dorm, so they tore it down in August—as well as decimating a pine grove—and has been recreating a corner of the old dorm ever since—a fake ruin or a “folly” as Europeans call it.
Oh and if you think there may be something wrong with creating a dangerous “attractive nuisance” that is lit up all night long, seven days a week, in a so-called “conservancy,” you may want to let these public official now: County Executive Joe Parisi, Supervisor Michele Ritt, and Parks Director Darren Marsh.
01 Oh, what’s this I see out my window?
02 Holy Toledo! It’s an illuminated Nurses Dorm Folly!
03 Oh yeah, here’s all the heavy machinery they left behind after they took down the construction fence. Man, this place is a mess. It’s been like this since August.
04 You’d think they’d want to get this equipment out of here, protect it from vandalism. Without the fence, people are walking around here all times of the day and night.
05 Why in the world is this remnant of the old nurses dorm all lit up? At several public meetings, the Pars Director told me explicitly there would not be lighting.
06 This is kind of strange.
07 And very eerie!
08 And creepy.
09 Oh look, they took the windows and door out so you walk right in—at night, after 10 pm when the park is closed, every night of the year. How fun!.
10 Wow, what great walls for graffiti.
11 Ooh, cool. What a great view! I’m glad they cut down all those 80-foot high pine trees so I could see this anytime I want—like late at night.
12 Perfect for Halloween. It’s like a haunted house. Can’t wait to bring my friends.
13 Is anyone there? I hope not, it’s perfect for making our scary video.
14 Let’ see what it looks like from the new water fountain in front of the Human Services Building.
15 I wonder why the lights in the fountain are off but the lights in the folly are on? It’s as if they want you to go into it at night. After 10 pm. After the park is closed. After 10 pm. After the park is closed. It’s great that there’s more than sledding and snowboarding here now in winter.
16 Wow, you can see it from Northport Drive, the six-lane state highway at the bottom of the hill. I’m sure people are noticing it and many will make their way up to the folly to check it out.
17 Yep, certainly looks intriguing as you get closer. Can we be in the park this late?
18 People will be asking, “what the *&%$ is it,” at this point.
19 Oh man. I don’t know what it is. Looks scary. Is anyone there? I hope not, it’s perfect for making our scary video.
20 Hey look—a drain pipe that makes it easy to climb up on to the roof!
21 We’re kind of high though.
22 Yep, like fifteen feet up.
23 A perfect ledge for falling off of! Or for getting air on a snowboard. Come on, wuss. It’s only fifteen feet!
24 Well, I’m back at home. I am blessed to live next to a Conservancy Park. Thank you, County officials.