East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Chuck Steele follows up to Bob Finley about Hudson Park Beach (see blog post 6/16/09).

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on August 3, 2009

First little-known fact was the city called it Lakefront Beach at Hudson Park.  We used to have city swim meets at a all city beaches, because no Madison schools had pools. Tenney Park would swim against B.B. Clarke or Lakefront would swim against Vilas, etc. In addition to the main pier and diving board we had “racing piers,” a short pier with boards that reached the water for racing turns.

If you look toward the water up the hill to the right was a concrete bathhouse. It was exposed on the lake side with the roof at grass level. One could walk up on the roof, which had a chain link fence around three sides. In 1948 and ’49 it was already in disrepair and not used.

If you go down the wooden steps to the left of the rocks, you’ll notice what appears to be a culvert. A door lowered on hinges to access the “tunnel.” It was approximately 12’ deep and was used to store our rowboat. During busy times we had one guard in the boat patrolling the swim area. It was also a great place to sit on rainy, cold days. The funny part about the culvert, it was at sand level. Not anymore.

I guarded there in the summers of ’48 and ’49. The beach went downhill after Olbrich Park beach opened.

– Charles “Chuck” or “Chully” Steele.

The enclosed picture was taken at the top of the park near the curve of Lakeland Ave. near wher the “bubbler” was, in the spring of 1955. My wife Margie is expecting our first child. My mother Horta Steele is in the picture as is my father Bob Steele, walking toward the bathhouse.

The enclosed picture was taken at the top of the park near the curve of Lakeland Ave. near wher the “bubbler” was, in the spring of 1955. My wife Margie is expecting our first child. My mother Horta Steele is in the picture as is my father Bob Steele, walking toward the bathhouse.

Chuck Steele's sketch of Lakefront Park at Hudson Beach ca. 1948-49

Chuck Steele's sketch of Lakefront Park at Hudson Beach ca. 1948-49

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