Skip to Content

Sunbursts on the Lake
The History of the Terrace and its Iconic Chairs

The Memorial Union Terrace opened for its first full season in 1929, and students flocked to the Terrace to lounge on rustic hickory chairs and enjoy the lakefront. But the rustic wood chairs quickly began to wear and tear in the harsh Wisconsin winters.

In the 1930s, the wood chairs were replaced with metal counterparts, constructed with sunburst-like designs. By the 1960s and '70s, the sparse furnishings gave way to a busy center of socialization and relaxation. Metal tables were added along with with steps to the water, new paved seating, walkways, and a live music stage. 

In the 1980s, the iconic chair was patented and produced in Oregon, Wis. The sunshine yellow, John Deere green and Allis Chalmers orange chairs represent the seasons of spring, summer and fall, while also paying homage to Wisconsin's farming traditions. The Terrace chair has become a campus icon, representing decades of summers along the lake.