Richard B. Dudgeon
Dudgeon Park on Monroe Street is named after Richard Ball Dudgeon, who served as superintendent of Madison’s public schools from 1891 to 1920. Born in 1853, he graduated from the UW in 1876, then headed the Hudson and Menomonie school districts before returning to Madison. The present-day Wingra School on Monroe Street, built between 1926 and 1928, was originally named after him (he died in 1922).
Madison’s educational environment was significantly different during Dudgeon’s tenure. In September 1900, for example, he reported that only 57% of Madison students had attended school the previous year. Due to overcrowding, he called for a new high school to be built. The school budget for the year was $54,765.20; the cost per pupil was $16.63.
Richard’s father, Richard Sr., was a missionary to the Indian tribes of western Wisconsin and Minnesota. Reverend Dudgeon was known for reciting the Old Testament aloud in Greek from memory while traveling his circuit by buggy. His wife, Deliverance “Della” Ball, was related to Mary Ball, the mother of George Washington.
Their daughter, Sarah, was married to Emanuel James Baskerville. He came to Madison in 1893 to accept the pastorate of the First Methodist Episcopal Church. He also conducted services in the Sixth Ward school at Jenifer and Brearly streets, and in a chapel which stood on the site of the Sixth Ward branch library. He was pastor there from 1893 to 1898, then moved to Detroit. Three years later he returned to Madison and engaged in evangelistic work until he retired and went into real estate. He was owner of the Baskerville Apartments at South Hamilton and West Doty streets, and established Baskerville Park on the west shore of Lake Mendota.