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Lake Mendota Drive

Lake Mendota Drive (1903)

Wisconsin Historical Society Image ID: WHi-38409

Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association

Introduction (from brochure)

Begun informally in 1892 and incorporated in 1894, the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association (MPPDA) raised private funds to develop and maintain scenic drives and parks in and around Madison. Until 1931, the association functioned as the city's unofficial parks department. MPPDA's influence extended beyond park development, however, to other areas of civic life where it set standards for public service.

Former board member Carolyn Mattern developed a brochure, available from Historic Madison, to provide a brief overview of the association's history and to serve as a guide for touring its accomplishments. The parks this association created and managed during the period 1899 to 1931 are largely intact. Contemporary visitors can readily appreciate the parks' scenic and historical qualities.

Many of the participants of the association are included in Historic Madison's two cemetery books.

1892 - Lake Mendota Drive from Willow Drive to Spring Harbor; Owen Parkway and Drive
1897 - Farwell Drive extended to Governor's Island and Farwell Point
1899 - Tenney Park
1900 - Vilas Circle (now Bear Mound Park)
1903 - Yahara River Parkway and Locks; Olive Jones Field
1904 - Henry Vilas Park, Edgewood Drive to Woodrow Street
1905 - Brittingham Park
1906 - Steensland Bridge built over Yahara on East Washington Avenue
1908 - West and South Shore Drives
1909 - Burrows Park, developed much later than the land donation
1910 - Vilas Park zoo
1911 - Monona Assembly Grounds, later Olin Park
1922 - Madison Parks Foundation eventually results in Olbrich Park and the UW Arboretum
1925 - Stewart fountain completed above the zoo
1926 - Madison adopts its first tree ordinance
1927 - Glenway Golf Course
1938 - MPPDA completes transfer of its property and resources and dissolves