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Agriculture and industry are at the root of much of Wisconsin’s history and economy. The Garver Feed and Supply Company, modernly referred to as the Garver Feed Mill, embodies this connection in the present. Vacant for nearly 20 years, the imposing presence of this industrial Romanesque Revival-style building on Madison’s east side seemed a promising redevelopment project, but one few could effectively tackle. Baum Revision succeeded where many others failed, working tirelessly to bring this iconic “sugar fortress,” back to life. In the fall of 2018, Garver reopened as a food-production and wellness destination for the broader community to gather, eat, and reflect on the significance of this building, so readily evident in its physical structure, which once was on the brink of decay.
Constructed in 1906 as the United States Sugar Company for processing sugar beets, the building housed operations to convert raw sugar beets to granulated sugar, molasses, and pulp. During one processing “campaign” (the period after beet harvest between October through January), the company processed up to 500 tons of beets per day and employed 250 people, working 24 hours. Waste disposal issues and tariff legislation marked the beginning of the end for the U.S. Sugar Company plant in Madison. The company filed for bankruptcy in 1924 and the company was sold several times before it landed in James R. Garver’s hands.
The U.S. Sugar Company Building continued to operate as an agricultural processing center with the conversion to the Garver Feed and Supply Company in 1929. The building functioned as a processing plant for livestock and poultry feed, reflecting the research-based, centralized approach to commercialized animal feed. This scientific approach to feeding animals was in contrast to the historic efforts by farmers making their own feed on their farms. The “new” feed was specially-designed to maximize animal health and production, using recently discovered benefits of vitamins and minerals. Garver Feed Mill was in business until 1975, going out of business after the death of James Garver. The building changed hands several times before it was sold to the City of Madison in 1997. From 1997 through 2015, a majority of the Garver building sat vacant until Baum Revision took on the herculean task of rehabilitating a property left exposed to the elements for nearly two decades.
- AIA Wisconsin / Wisconsin Architect Magazine | 2020 Design Merit Award
- InBusiness Magazine Madison | 2021 Commercial Development Award - Best New Development or Renovation - Restaurant or Bar - Garver Lounge
- InBusiness Magazine Madison | 2020 Commercial Development Award - Best New Development or Renovation - Mixed Use - Garver Feed Mill
- International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Southwest | 2020 Pride Award - Mixed Use Award of Merit
- Madison Trust for Historic Preservation | 2020 Historic Preservation Award for Adaptive Reuse
- The Daily Reporter | 2020 People’s Choice Top Project Award
- Wisconsin Chapter of American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) | 2020 Bronze Award - Hospitality
- Wisconsin Historical Society | 2020 Historic Restoration Award
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