608today City Guide Live

15 interesting facts about Madison

608 Bascom flamingo

The annual fundraising event started off as a 1979 student prank. | Photo by Kenton Fowler

Did you know that Madison is home to the world’s largest Brat Fest?

Nah, just kidding. If you know us, you know we’re here for the deep cuts — and there’s plenty of interesting factoids to go around. As connoisseurs of the quirky and unconventional, we put together a list of 608’s history, oddest characteristics, and more. Maybe you’ve lived here your whole life and know some of this, or maybe you’ll learn something new.

Either way, test your local knowledge with these 15 interesting facts.

1. Our official city bird — the plastic pink flamingo — is an homage to an infamous UW-Madison student prank.

2. Made entirely of granite, the state capitol’s dome is the largest in the US.

3. There is a “Madison curse” on movies filmed in the 608. Big-budget projects filmed here often fall short of success. Think: “Public Enemies,” “I Love Trouble” and “The Last Kiss”.

4. The first bone marrow transplant in the US was done at the UW Hospital in 1968.

5. At 3618 E. Washington Ave., you’ll find the Elvis Presley Fight Site monument. Legend has it, Elvis was on his way to a local hotel when he had his limo driver pull over so he could stop a fight via his karate skills.

6. Madison is one of only two major US cities on an isthmus, Seattle being the other. Hey SEAtoday.

7. The Dane County Farmer’s Market is the largest producer-only market in the country.

8. Speaking of the farmers’ market — Stella’s Bakery sells over 64,000 loaves of hot spicy cheese bread a year.

9. In honor of Wisconsin’s agricultural heritage, the famous Memorial Union chairs are made in three specialty colors: John Deere green, as well as Allis Chalmers orange and yellow.

10. The popular satirical media company, The Onion, was founded in 1988 by UW-Madison students Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson.

11. Nirvana recorded “Nevermind” in Madison at Smart Studios. The building still stands today at 1254 E. Washington Ave.

12. Bucky Badger’s full name is Buckingham U. Badger. The Mascot Hall of Famer’s birthday is October 2, 1940.

13. You’re never more than a 10-minute walk from one of the 270 parks and beaches within city limits.

14. Since 1951, UW-Madison has made its own ice cream on campus at Babcock Hall Dairy Store. Fun fact: City Editor Ally worked here through college.

15. The 608 has 140 locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Cardinal Hotel and Brittingham Park’s boathouse.

Your turn. Think you can get one over on us? Let us know your favorite local trivia tidbit and you just might make it into the newsletter.

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