Exploring the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood -- page 3
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 10
Sycamore Tree Arbor Drive near Pickford Street
photograph © Daryl Sherman
Tree with biggest leaves
This massive American Sycamore tree, Platanus occidentalis, is
growing at the northernmost range for this species. It is believed
that the Arboretum planted the tree about the same time the
neighboring Ho-nee-um Pond was dredged in 1940. Since then, the
tree has grown to be 50-feet high, with an 80-foot spread and a
Several features make this tree stand out from its surroundings. In
addition to its light color, large trunk and long limbs, the tree
has particularly large leaves and distinctive peeling bark.
The unique fruits, sometimes called button balls, appear hairy when
immature. They consist of many tiny, elongated seeds with upright
hairs at the base. The fruit breaks apart when ripe.
The tree has been a popular subject for artists and photographers
over the years and was featured in the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood
Association 1999 directory.
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 11
Wheeler Council Ring
Look for sign along the asphalt path through the Wingra Oak
photograph © UW Arboretum
Civilian Conservation Corps project designed by Jens
The Kenneth Jensen Wheeler Council Ring, completed in 1938 by the
Civilian Conservation Corps, was designed by Jens Jensen, one of
the founders of native or natural landscape architecture. Jensen
believed that a person's character is influenced by the landscape
and that therefore landscape designs should be consistent with the
Jensen carefully chose the location and plantings to reflect these
beliefs: "The spring is secret - it is eternal youth... the plum
trees are the harbinger of spring, the resurrection of life. The
crabapples the poets - the brides of May. The roses - love, the
hawthorn - the symbol of the plains. Oaks and sugar maples for
strength and durability... Violets for sweet perfume and love."
The Council Ring is a memorial to Jensen's grandson, Kenneth
Wheeler, a landscape architecture student who died just before his
graduation from the University of Wisconsin. The 25-foot diameter
circle is constructed of native limestone. Its single entrance and
continuous stone seat around the circle's inner side express
Jensen's interest in fostering informal programs, storytelling, and
the egalitarian traditions of the folk schools of his native
Denmark and the campfires of the American Indians and the
The Wheeler Council Ring design is similar to ones that Jensen
designed in Door County at The Clearing, and at the Glenwood
Children's Park [See Site 18].
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 12
Wingra Oak Savanna
Along Monroe Street west of Arbor Drive
photograph © UW Arboretum
An area being restored to its pre-settlement
The 20-acre Wingra Oak Savanna is bordered by Monroe Street; the
Marion Dunn Prairie [See Site 13]; a remnant
sedge meadow; and Ho-nee-um Pond (an Indian name meaning
"sanctuary"), which was created by dredging in 1940. The savanna is
unique amongst UW Arboretum plant communities -- whereas much of
the land now included in the Arboretum had been farmland, the
Wingra Oak Savanna is a remnant landscape now being restored to its
The savanna showcases large hackberry and burr oak trees that are
at least 120 years old, some possibly dating back to before
statehood. In this way, the Wingra Oak Savanna brings into the
neighborhood a hint of the wilderness landscape that the first
European settlers found here.
Oak savannas used to be the dominant landscape in southern
Wisconsin (5.5 million acres), but now only about 300 acres remain.
The dominant oak savanna landscape feature is broad, open-grown
oaks. A broad range of grasses, sedges and forbs grow under and
between the widely dispersed oaks. The American Indians maintained
this relatively open landscape to facilitate their hunting efforts.
Fires they set cleared brush and small trees, except the burr oaks,
which have thick bark to protect them from fire damage.
Artifacts found at the Wingra Oak Savanna dating back 4,000 years
suggest American Indians used the site for centuries as a hunting
and fishing camp.
After settlement, the site was kept open, presumably by grazing
animals. When it became part of the Arboretum in the 1930s, grazing
animals and fires were no longer allowed, so many woody plants
sprang up under the oaks. By the mid-1980s much of the area had
become a nearly impenetrable thicket of box elder, dogwood,
cottonwood, honeysuckle, buckthorn and other invasive trees and
In the late 1980s, a growing interest in savanna restoration led UW
Arboretum staff to take a close look at the Wingra Oak Savanna.
They found large, open-grown oaks believed to be an important clue
to the site's history. Tree-ring dating and early surveyors'
records confirmed the theory that the site was, in the
not-so-distant past, an oak savanna.
The first giant cottonwood shading the oak savanna was cut in the
winter of 1991-1992. Neighbors voiced concerns about losing the
large cottonwoods, bird habitat, neighborhood green space, and
privacy since the cutting opened vistas from Lake Wingra into the
To address these concerns, UW Arboretum staff held a series of
meetings with the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association. In 1992,
armed with a better understanding of what the Arboretum aims to
achieve, the D-MNA and other volunteers became active partners with
Arboretum staff to restore the savanna.
Work days, held the second Saturday of each month, involve
volunteers in ecological restoration as a way of learning about,
and developing a stronger sensitivity to nature. To honor the land
and the volunteers' work, the D-MNA and UW Arboretum co-sponsor an
annual spring celebration including a speaker, planting activities
and a potluck dinner.
One challenge to the restoration efforts has been re-establishing
ground layer plant species. The original restoration strategy had
been to seed and plant the area after clear cutting, but
opportunistic species, such as bitter dock, dame's rocket, and tall
goldenrod proved to be too much competition for the desired
species, which are slower to become established. More recently,
burning and gradually clearing the understory vegetation, followed
by seeding, has been attempted as an alternative restoration
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 13
Marion Dunn Prairie
Along Monroe Street at the Foot of Glenway Street
photograph © UW Arboretum
A well-disguised desilting pond
Because storm water run-off from Monroe Street and erosion from the
ridge above it were slowly smothering the Arboretum wetland below,
a holding pond was built in 1983 to catch silt, excess fertilizer,
road salt and other debris. As bulldozers cleared, scalped and
graded the area to form the pond, the bare land became an
invitation to weeds.
Marion J. Dunn (1917-1987), a retired nurse, was a central figure
in establishing a prairie around the pond to beautify the area. It
was slow, hard work, as young prairie plants are easily overwhelmed
by aggressive undesirable species, although once established, they
can hold their own against invaders. In 1986, she received an
Orchid Award from Capital Community Citizens for her prairie
The prairie landscape constantly changes, featuring different
forms, colors and textures at different times of year. Fall is
perhaps the most dramatic season, for this is when sunflowers,
coneflowers, asters, cup plants, goldenrod, and evening primrose
are all in bloom, and the prairie dock and big blue stem grass
tower above them.
|CAN YOU FIND... A House
with a 1"/2" in its Address?
The home at 3510 1/2 Gregory Street is a garage home set at the
back of the lot [See Site 6].
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 14
Parman's Service Station
3502 Monroe Street
One of 12 original gas stations on Monroe Street
Clayton Parman, Sr., began building this service station at the
intersection of Monroe and Glenway Streets in 1940. Having lived on
a farm on Odana Road near Monroe Street, he knew the site had an
ideal mix of out-of-town and neighborhood traffic.
The building was completed in 1941, just before the World War II
gasoline rationing. Parman's sons, Clayton, Jr., and Keith,
distributed flyers door-to-door to announce the opening and that
the price of gas was 15.9 cents per gallon. The sons worked at the
station while growing up, and they later took over its
The building's appearance is practically unchanged, but in December
1998, the gas pumps and underground tanks were removed from the
lot. The tanks were over 20 years old, and new federal laws
prohibited using the older tanks because of concerns with gasoline
leakage into the ground water. The Parmans decided not to undergo
the expense of replacing the gas tanks, opting instead to remain a
repair/maintenance service station.
John Parman, the earliest American ancestor of the Madison Parman
family, was also in the business of making and repairing things
with wheels. He arrived in Mazomanie in the 1850s and established a
wheel wright, or wagon-making, trade, which prospered into the
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 15
3506 Monroe Street
photograph © Daryl Sherman
Halloween costume and make-up hot spot
In 1941, it was considered a big financial gamble to move to the
edge of subdivision development. Nonetheless, that year Adolph
Mallatt built a new building at 3506 Monroe Street and moved his
pharmacy there from its original State Street location. Mallatt's
opened for business in January 1942, just before World War II
halted such construction.
The building includes an apartment above the pharmacy where Mr.
Mallatt's mother-in-law lived until 1953. Until about 1960, a soda
fountain, booths and a juke box made the store a popular place to
Mr. Mallatt's two sons, Jim and Bill, worked there while attending
the University of Wisconsin. Bill, who had started mopping floors
and stoking the coal furnace at age twelve, joined his father in
1960 as a pharmacist, and in 1972 bought out his dad. In 1982, Mike
Flint began working at Mallatt's, and in 1992 he bought the
It used to be popular for pharmacies to carry a make-up franchise.
Mallatt's specialized in Max Factor. In 1973, employee Kathy Joyce
expanded the franchise with make-up for local theatrical
productions and Halloween. After she began to decorate the windows,
word spread quickly about what was to become, with the addition of
costume rental, the big seasonal focus of the store.
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 16
Percy's Service Station
3600 Monroe Street
Former fisherman's hangout
The blue roof and the 'P' on the chimney indicate that Percy's used
to be a Pure Oil station. At the time it was built in 1937 there
were three gas pumps, a service bay, and another service lift
outside. It was a charming little oasis on the way out of town
where you could fill up your gas tank and have your radiator
checked. It was decorated as an English cottage, with geraniums and
hollyhocks waving in the summer breeze next to the station,
creating a cozy neighborhood atmosphere.
When Hugh Percy (simply "Percy" to his friends and customers) took
over, he personalized the little station, offering a unique allure.
In the front window, Percy displayed 'treasures' he had collected
on trips to the Northwoods: beaver-gnawed logs, paper wasp nests,
snowshoes, and tree stumps with mushrooms and other fungi growing
on them. George Vukelich, who used to visit Percy's frequently,
commemorates Percy's in his North Country Notebook I as 'Hugo
Willie's Gasoline Emporium', where "you could hear the news of the
day, listen to the cranes mating in the Arboretum wetland just a
stone's throw away or ruminate upon where the best snow shoeing
country might be."
After Percy's death in 1998, his business partner, Jerry Nechkash,
took over. He hopes to restore the blue-tiled roof to its original
charm in keeping with the photograph he found of the original
owners posing in front. Percy's time-worn motto, stuck to the cash
register with yellowing tape, continues to be honored as well:
"Great Service at a Great Price".
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 17
American Chestnut Trees
Across the street from 718 Briar Hill
photograph © Daryl Sherman
Rare tree with spiny leaves and fruits
Generations of school children memorized Longfellow's "Under a
spreading Chestnut tree the village smithy stands..."
The Complete Guide to North American Trees describes the American
Chestnut as follows: "The Chestnut has been perhaps the most
familiar of our trees because everyone enjoys gathering Chestnuts
in the fall... It is a stately tree, 40-100 feet high. The
attractive foliage, especially when the tree is in flower, presents
a picture scarcely equaled in beauty by any other tree... It was
one of our most abundant and valuable trees."
An imported fungus has completely destroyed the American Chestnut
in its native range -- the Eastern United States as far west as
Michigan. Botanists believe the tree will come back when the fungus
has lost its virulence. Its fruit, a very sweet, edible nut, made
up part of the food that supported the once enormous flocks of
passenger pigeons. The pigeons are gone forever and the Chestnut is
now so rare that many people have never seen one.
The only American Chestnut trees surviving today are isolated
specimens found outside its native range, such as these five across
the street from 718 Briar Hill. Another (shown in the above
photograph) grows in front of 600 Chapman Street.
Grady Wetlands Tour -- Site 18
Glenwood Children's Park
602 Glenway Street
Area designed and developed by Jens Jensen for children to learn
A quarry on the present site of the Glenwood Children's Park
probably was the source of the highly prized buff sandstone, used
in the Plough Inn [See Site 19], the Edgewood
Villa [See Site 3], and North and South Halls on
the UW Campus. In the 1850s the sandstone was split and pried out
by hand, using picks, steel wedges, and sledge hammers. Hand-driven
drills were also used to make holes for blasting powder -- much
more dangerous than dynamite, which was not invented until some
twenty years later.
Eventually, the quarry was abandoned, but several civic leaders
recognized its potential as a park. It lay beyond the western edge
of the city and was useless to housing developers because it had
been used as a quarry. In approximately 1927, Attorney Michael
Olbrich, head of the Madison Parks Foundation, wrote, "There is
this little glen or dell that is filled with plants and very
picturesque with its ravine and exposed stones."
After Olbrich's death in 1929, William Longenecker, a UW Professor
of Landscape Architecture, kept interest in the site alive.
Eventually, Col. Joseph W. Jackson persuaded the Louis Gardner
family to purchase it and donate it to the City in 1943.
In 1942, Jens Jensen, then in his 80s and known as the "dean of
naturalistic landscaping", visited the glen and proceeded to design
a children's park. His plan envisioned using the formations left by
the quarry to create a series of circles, including a council ring
similar to the Wheeler Council Ring [See Site
11]. He intended it to be an area where children and parents
could gather for activities and conversation amid native wild
flowers, shrubs and trees.
As Jensen visited the site he was quoted as saying, "Yes, it is
good. It won't be the biggest children's park in America, but maybe
we can make it the best. I planned the first one. Maybe this will
be the last one that I will plan. I will put my heart into it."
After the City annexed the area in response to a neighborhood
petition, Jensen himself directed the planting by a volunteer work
party and high school members of the Madison Youth Council.
Plantings included shade-tolerant bushes, cherries, plums and
hawthorn. The volunteers also exposed and enhanced the rock
outcroppings. Through these efforts, Jensen created sunny open
spaces along with secluded forest areas.
The park was dedicated on October 7, 1949. It was in constant use
for many years. Playground equipment was added in 1957, and there
were supervised summer activities. Runoff became an increasing
problem when the Westmorland neighborhood was developed, so in 1974
storm sewers were installed.
In 1975, through the efforts of the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood
Association, the Glenwood Children's Park was designated a Madison
Landmark. Over the next several years, the park was restored,
including new native plants and additional erosion control
measures. The restoration efforts received an Orchid Award from the
Capital Community Citizens.
Another restoration effort began in 1997 to repair the
deteriorating council ring, to remove overgrown trees and shrubs,
and to restore some of the original plantings. The Dudgeon-Monroe
Neighborhood Association Capital Fund Drive raised $2,000 to match
funds from the City Parks Division in order to fund the council
ring restoration. The D-MNA holds yearly cleanup and planting days
with the cooperation of the neighbors and the Madison Parks
|CAN YOU FIND... Dead End
Streets that Used to Go Through?
Leonard Street used to go through to Monroe Street; Cross Street
through Glenway Street; and Briar Hill to the Monroe-Nakoma-Odana
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