One can only hope that when Walker comes out with his budget this afternoon, he wouldn't be as short-sighted or foolish, but there is little to lead me to expect otherwise.
On the night of February 26, 1904, a gas jet ignited a newly-varnished ceiling in the third capitol building. Although the building had an advanced fire-fighting system, the nearbyuniversity reservoir which supplied the capitol was empty, allowing the fire to spread substantially before the switch to alternate city water supplies could be made. Madison firefighters could not handle the blaze on their own, so additional men and equipment had to be brought in from Milwaukee. The effectiveness of the reinforcements was initially hampered by the bitter cold temperatures; by the time they reached Madison, the equipment had frozen and needed to be thawed. As a result, the entire structure, except the north wing, burned to the ground. Numerous records, books, and historical artifacts were lost, including the mount of Old Abe, Civil War mascot. However, through the efforts of university students, much of the State Law Library was saved.;The fire occurred just five weeks after the State Legislature voted to cancel the capitol's fire insurance policy.