What Might Have Been

Additional reporting by Benjamin Lockwood and Claire Delman.

Strolling along Wisconsin Avenue by Gesu, you might never realize that—had Marquette’s administration in the 90s gotten its way—you would be standing where an enormous, flowing fountain was planned as part of the proposed “Avenues Commons” project. Instead of grabbing a burger from the AMU, you could be passing through a tennis court or a soccer field. Here’s a look at a few proposed architectural changes for Marquette that never made the cut. These beg the question: What might have been?


Athletic Area, between McCormick and Schroeder Halls

An outdoor athletic complex was planned for right smack in the middle of campus, where we currently house the Alumni Memorial Union. Basketball, tennis, and racquetball courts; soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and other grassy, sporty places would have dominated the center of campus, making a stray ball to the head just a little more likely on everyone’s favorite shortcut from Wisconsin to Wells.

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Athletic Area. Photo with permission from Marquette University Archives.

General Hospital, location unknown

Someone once proposed—and sketched a swell picture of—a multi-story general hospital for an unspecified part of campus in 1924. Apparently, the idea was to create a space where then-medical school students could practice their craft. After the medical school closed in the 1960s, however, the hospital would have been out of place.

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General Hospital. Photo with permission from Marquette University Archives.

Avenue Commons, on 12th and Wisconsin

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the proposed “Avenues Commons”—an open greenspace for the community which, if implemented, would have closed a portion of Wisconsin Avenue in front of the Church of the Gesu as well as 12th Street from Wisconsin to Wells, and would have placed a giant fountain right in front of the church—is that the University presumably didn’t think this was going to irritate the heck out of anyone. It turns out, it did. Alumni groups, outside businesses, citizens, and religious organizations united in protest against this absurd plan, because it would’ve literally diverted all traffic around the university.

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Avenue Commons. Photo with permission from Marquette University Archives.

12- story dorm, 2222 W. Michigan St.

In the 60s, there was discussion among administrators about building a 12-story girls-only dorm. However, there was backlash from community. As written in the Milwaukee Journal on June 25th, 1965, “the congestion which would be caused by 210 coeds coming home from weekend dates” was just one of the reasons why building the dorm was not a good idea. Darn those rowdy Marquette coeds and their post-Saturday date shenanigans.


Marquette Stadium, Clybourn St. between 15th and 16th

With a football field, an outdoor track, and seating for 10,000-plus fans, this proposed stadium might have been the crown jewel of Marquette. Additionally, medical, dental, and gymnasium buildings would surround the facility. Instead, the 1-94 Interstate was built. Only the gym made the cut, which is now known as the “Old Gym” across from the Rec Center.



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