Madison Parks celebrate 125th anniversary

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wednesday, July 10th is the 125th anniversary of the Madison Parks System.

The Madison Parks Foundation is the non-profit arm of Madison Parks which helps the community conserve, promote, and enhance our parks.

As many people may not know, the city's public parks were privately created by a group of influential and civic-minded leaders that came together to create the Madison Parks and Pleasure Drive Association 125 years ago.

This organization was comprised of many recognizable names today, such as Olin, Owen, Vilas, Burrows, and Tenney. The park land was donated by private citizens.

History of Olin Park
Olin Park was established in 1923 by the City of Madison to honor John Olin for his significant contributions to the city's park system.

Between 1994 and 1909, Olin served as the President of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association and is known as the "father" of our park system. He was able to convince community members to contribute over a quarter of a million dollars to the development and maintenance of the parks. Olin's legacy continues with the trust he left to the MPPDA, which provides funds for beautification projects throughout the parks today.

Thanks to Olin, the parks system has grown from 3.5 acres to over 6,000 acres. Today, Madison has 276 parks, 176 playgrounds with 3.5 million visits to our parks.

Picnic in the Park
Picnic in the Park, presented and organized by Event Essentials, is one way you can support Madison Parks.

Join us for an elegant, historically-themed evening with an exquisite dinner prepared by local celebrity chefs on Saturday, October 19 at Vilas Park.