Friday, October 19, 2007

Hoyt Picnic Area

Hoyt Park is a hidden jewel on Madison's near west side, far removed from heavy traffic and the cacophony of city life. The park dates back to 1890 when the city acquired 24 acres for a stone quarry that ceased operation around 1933. Then 31 acres, the land was established as a city park and named for Frank W. Hoyt, an active leader in the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association. Significant improvements were made to the park during the Great Depression, thanks to funds provided by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Italian masons from the old Greenbush neighborhood built the twelve stone fireplaces and tables scattered throughout the park, completing the job without pay when funds ran out. In 1995, The Friends of Hoyt Park was founded to restore the stone structures that had fallen prey to harsh winters and vandelism.

Some of the fireplaces are again in deed of attention, but what fascinates me most are the tables. Can't you imagine your grandparents or great-grandparents strapping a couple of straight-back chairs to the wagon or car, then sitting around these rough structures over which a table cloth and wonderful feast has been spread?



Annie said...

I can imagine people enjoying the weather at those tables, decking them all out in cloth finery with real plates and cutlery.

Anonymous said...

I just happened by and saw the photos and just had to find out about the fireplaces and tables. That's fascinating. Thank you for sharing with us all.
Beautiful British Columbia

Heather said...

Annie~ Fabulous picnic area, isn't it? There are a few modern picnic tables near some of these old fireplaces, but thankfully not many.

Hi Wendy! Thank you for stopping by - I'm glad you enjoyed this historic picnic area!