Crews remove Chamberlin Rock from UW-Madison campus

MADISON, Wis. — Crews worked for several hours Friday morning to remove a 70-ton boulder from Observatory Hill on the UW-Madison campus that was formerly known by a racist name.

Chamberlin Rock has sat atop the hill since 1925, named after Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, a former university president.

But at the time of its discovery, the rock was called a different name — involving a racial slur that was used at the time to describe any large, dark rock.

UW-Madison students have called for its removal for some time, and the removal was approved by UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank in January. The removal also required the input of the Wisconsin Historical Society, since the rock sits within 15 feet of a Native American burial site.

“Renaming it doesn’t remove the history of oppression that in symbolizes and perpetuates,” students told News 3 Now last summer, as they also pushed the university to remove the statue of Abraham Lincoln from Bascom Hill.

The rock will be moved to university-owned land southeast of Madison, near Lake Kegonsa.

The university says it cost $50,000 to move it, with the money coming from non-state tax dollars out of the Chancellor’s office.

“Removing the rock as a monument in a prominent location prevents further harm to our community while preserving the rock’s educational research value for our current and future students,” UW-Madison director of campus planning and landscape architecture Gary Brown said.