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How This Iconic Wisconsin Symbol Came To Be | Know Your Wisconsin

February 29, 2024

One of the most recognizable features of Madison is the sunburst chairs at the UW Madison Memorial Union Terrace. Their reemergence each year after a long winter brings a pop of color and the promise of spring to the downtown area.

The original sunburst chairs were made of hickory and couldn’t withstand Wisconsin’s harsh winter weather conditions. After going through several iterations, they transformed into the iconic chair we recognize today.

The 3 colors used for the chairs come from the state’s agricultural history. With green representing John Deer green tractors, orange representing Allis-Chalmers orange tractors, and yellow representing sunshine. The chairs also mirror the 3 best seasons to farm; spring, summer, and fall!

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