Architecture on the Capitol Square

American Exchange Bank

American Exchange Bank © 2012 Bo Mackison

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”~ Baba Dioum

The historic landmarks sign on this building says the original building was built in 1871, designed by Madison architect Stephen Shipman. It was constructed of sandstone quarried in Madison and is styled in the Italian Renaissance Revival Style. It was on the site where this building stands (though not in this building) where the first territorial legislature held its meetings.

It is a Madison Landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. Located across the street from the Wisconsin State Capitol, on a prominent corner of the Capitol Square, the building still sits in the midst of government.

Bank Security

Bank Security © 2012 Bo Mackison

“The past reminds us of timeless human truths and allows for the perpetuation of cultural traditions that can be nourishing; it contains examples of mistakes to avoid, preserves the memory of alternatives ways of doing things, and is the basis for self-understanding…” ~ Bettina Davis

The building was a bank for a dozen decades, and is now undergoing renovation for new tenants. I love all the grill work and the heavy barred windows — this bank was built for security, but with a decorative flair.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. She went to the Farmers Market on the Capitol Square early on Saturday morning. Not only did Bo come home with dozens of colorful photos of autumn veggies and fruits. She also took portraits of several old buildings, she can’t walk past those old architectural details without a few photos.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Lovely photos of this great building. Love the details you captured. As you say, beautiful grillwork.

  2. love the patterns

Leave a Reply