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The Madison Candy Company building has stood at 744 Williamson Street since 1903, four years after the company was founded. The brick three-story building with limestone belt courses and cornice was designed by John Nader, a Madison architect and engineer. Madison Candy Company operated until 1927. The building housed the Wisconsin Farm Bureau from 1935 to 1945. Ela Welding Company first occupied the building in 1945 and sold welding and industrial supplies. Eldorado Grill restaurant has been operating in the Madison Candy Company building for over twenty years, moving in after the welding supplies firm left. The Madison Candy Company Building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, the Wisconsin State Register in 1996, and became a Madison Landmark in the 1990s. The building has importance in local industrial history, architecture, and for its association with Nader.

2009 photo, Madison Candy Company building, by James Steakley

Building, Mixed-use, Commercial building, Neighbourhood

1995 photo of front and parking lot side of building, by Barbara Wyatt, for NRHP

Building, Architecture, Neighbourhood, Town

Joseph E. Kleiner founded Madison Candy Company; he lived at 854 Jenifer Street. James J. Prendergast was the manager and company vice president; he had worked for 29 years at another candy manufacturing company, Woodward & Stone, before moving to Madison in 1899 to take the job. Two brothers (Thomas and Charles) and a sister of James (Mary) held company offices or jobs with the firm. The Prendergast siblings lived with their mother and another sister in 1902 at 731 Jenifer Street; their father stayed in Ireland.

The Madison Candy Company was established during a period when industries became common in Madison, the 1880s and 1890s. An anti-industry faction helped to keep industrial facilities on the eastern part of town. Closeness to the St. Paul rail lines was another plus of the area. Before moving to their new structure, Madison Candy Company was just a block away, at 623 Williamson. The company was especially known for their chocolate creams. The confectionery company also sold crackers, nuts and cigars. Around thirty-five factory workers and four salesmen worked for the company, distributing products throughout Wisconsin and later to Illinois.

The front of the Madison Candy Company building is faced in red brick; the building's three other sides reveal the underlying "Milwaukee cream" brick. The main facade features round arched arcades; the year 1903 is carved into a stone near the top, flanked by oculus windows. On each level, a central wooden beam runs the length of the building. Four double chimney flues from the candy-making era extend the height of the building; two single chimney flues are only on the second and third floors. The central entrance used to be accessed by an exterior stairway; the stairway was removed in the early 1950s when Williamson Street was widened and a new aluminum and glass door was installed. Window wells in the basement windows were removed and bricked in up to sidewalk level, with glass blocks above. A loading dock was added to the rear of the building in 1980 where a concrete pad and nearby frame outbuilding were located. The loading dock blocked a former entrance into the basement, where materials (lots and lots of sugar!) used to be brought into the building by a conveyor system from the nearby railroad tracks. The loading dock was enclosed around 1985.

Ela Welding Company bought the adjacent building to the west in the 1970s to increase their usable space. New internal doorways connected the buildings. An architect named John Martens bought the building in 1991; Martens rented the building back to the welding firm for the next six years, before the company found a new location. The next tenant was a restaurant by Monty Schiro named Monty's Eldorado Grill, which opened in 1998. A coffee shop named Ground Zero moved in next door in the two-story building, also in 1998. Both restaurants were still operating in 2020.

Engle, Jeanne. Essential Landmark: Madison Candy Company, Madison Essentials. January 1st 2020. Accessed November 15th 2020.

Quaife, Milo Milton. Wisconsin, Its History and Its People, 1634 - 1924. Volume 4. Chicago, IL. S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1924.

Toman, William J.. Madison Candy Company, Historical Markers Database. June 16th 2016. Accessed November 14th 2020.

Wisconsin Historical Society. Property Record, 744 Williamson Street, Architecture and History Inventory. Accessed November 15th 2020.

Wyatt, Barbara. Rankin, Katherine. City of Madison Landmarks Nomination for Madison Candy Company, City of Madison Planning Department: Landmarks. January 1st 1999. Accessed November 15th 2020.

Wyatt, Barbara. NRHP Nomination of Madison Candy Company. National Register. Washington, DC. National Park Service, 1995.

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