Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Ass. - MPPDA
The Madison parks system got its start in 1888 when George Raymer built a pleasure drive along Lake Mendota from UW-Madison to Eagle Heights. In 1892 Edward T. Owen built a parkway connecting Raymer Road with the area that is now Hoyt Park. The drive opened in October 1892. Owen got help on the project from John Olin, and Edward Hammersley. At first, they called their group the Lake Mendota Pleasure Drive Association, but on July 10, 1894, it was reorganized as the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association. The original goal of the MPPDA was to open, extend and improve rustic roadways through picturesque scenery in Madison. Later the group began creating parks. In 1897 the MPPDA started building Farwell Drive from Sherman Avenue north to Governor's Island. In 1899 it purchased Tenney Park for $15,000, including a $5,125 donation by D.K. Tenney. Tenney Park offered the only city access to Lake Mendota, except for street ends, and Tenney insisted that the MPPDA hold the land in trust for the city. In the next decade, the MPPDA would develop Vilas Park, Brittingham Park and several pleasure drives. Those projects included planting more than 200,000 trees and shrubs.

For nearly four decades it served as the city's unofficial parks department. Much of our parkland today is the legacy of this group of citizens. In 1938 the city took responsibility for local parks and assumed MPPDA lands.