Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Lake Monona: People
Madison's lakes and savannas contained amazing plant and animal diversity. This ecological wealth created a natural gathering place. Early inhabitants hunted and gathered food, grew corn, made camps, and held ceremonies. Later, Ho-Chunks lived on Lake Monona at the Yahara River outlet, on the Isthmus, and in present-day Monona. Settlers started to arrive in the 1830s, also drawn by the lakes and good soil. In the next decade, James Doty surveyed the Isthmus
Dividing Ridge and Drumlins
Until 1910 an 80-foot-tall dividing ridge, half a mile long, rose between Lake Monona and Lake Wingra. The ridgetop had stunning views of Lake Monona and the Isthmus. About 25 effigy mounds were built on its slopes. A moraine left by the last glacier, the ridge was composed of sand and gravel. It was steadily quarried to fill wetlands and build streets between 1870 and 1910. The glacier also left Madison with drumlins, which are elevated, egg-shaped deposits. The Capitol, University's Bascom Hall, and Edgewood College stand on drumlins.
Effigy Mound Builders
Effigy mounds are scattered around Lake Monona. Unfortunately only a small number survived city settlement. Native people usually formed mounds on high, scenic ground overlooking water, such as the old dividing ridge above Monona Bay, on the drumlin where the Capitol now stands, and between Hudson and Olbrich parks. Effigy mounds were no longer built after about 1100. Perhaps a changing society based on growing corn created new ceremonies.
Lake Monona Summer Resorts
In the late 1800s, Lake Monona was a popular summer resort destination. Lakeside House (located at today's Olin-Turville Park), Tonyawatha Hotel, and Winnequah resort promoted Lake Monona's clean, pure waters. Visitors, many from the South,
Madison Remakes its Lakes
Lake Monona once produced high-quality ice for Milwaukee, Chicago, and points south. Each winter throughout the 1860s and 1870s, railroad cars shipped ice from near this spot. But water (and ice) quality dropped as Madison grew. By 1880, ever-larger volumes of sewage poured into Lake Monona, causing a nightmare for residents and city government. Today, sediments, pollutants, livestock manure, and fertilizers flowing through the Yahara River watershed are Lake Monona's greatest environmental challenges.
Erected by the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. (Marker Number 2.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Native Americans • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 43° 4.29′ N, 89° 22.786′ W. Marker is in Madison, Wisconsin, in Dane County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Wilson Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, on the left when traveling west. The marker is on the lake railing in the Center Circle Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: One John Nolen Drive, Madison WI 53703, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Black Hawk (within shouting distance of this marker); Third Lake (within shouting distance of this marker); Otis Redding (within shouting distance of this marker); Pioneer Men and Women (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Olin Terrace (about 500 feet away); Madison Club (about 500 feet away); The Fairchild Home (about 500 feet away); State Office Building (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Madison.
Also see . . . Madison is an Indian mound capital. (related marker with links to markers for area effigy mounds) (Submitted on September 10, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 7, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 703 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 7, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.