East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

Support Tenney Park Renewal

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on June 29, 2009

Just about everyone who grew up on Madison’s East Side can tell stories about fun times at Tenney Park.

Tenney Park originated as a project of Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association (MPPDA), a private group formed to address the city’s need for increased parkland. Development of the park began in 1900. Tenney Park became the first Madison park to provide public lake access.

While the land purchase came from Madison lawyer Daniel K. Tenney’s donation of 14 acres of land, augmented with $2,500 in city money, the amenities in the park were purchased with many small, individual donations from ordinary citizens.

Today, “ordinary citizens” again have an opportunity to contribute. The Tenney Park Shelter Fund, an ad-hoc citizen’s group, is raising funds to enhance the park with a new shelter and other amenities.

The park has had a shelter structure since 1958, which many remember as a warming house for skaters. But that building has become worn over time. A new, larger Green-built shelter is envisioned with better facilities for weddings and parties, better play area for little ones, and of course, a fireplace for making memories on winter nights.

A fundraising campaign currently under way intends to raise $1.6 million dollars to make these improvements possible. Read more about this campaign at www.tenneyshelter.org. Then start thinking what you can do to help.

Skaters, 100 years ago…

Tenney skaters ca. 1904-06, photo courtesy of Orin Boebel.

Tenney skaters ca. 1904-06, photo courtesy of Orin Boebel.

and skaters today, still enjoying Tenney Park.

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