–submitted by Ellsworth Brown
Who knew that 115 years ago Madisonian John Olin, believing that Madison was a special place, engaged John Nolen, a preeminent city planner from Cambridge, Massachusetts, to produce a 1911 plan for Madison that became a preeminent example of the urban landscape movement? And who knew that John Nolen, author of projects for well over a dozen cities, created plans as well for the Tenney Park-Yahara River Parkway, the UW, and Wisconsin’s state park system? And especially, who knew that the track of Nolen’s plans affirmed a four-generation vision for Madison that inspired the city, county, state, non-profit organizations and private funding to give us Monona Terrace and leave its traces in a Downtown 2000 Master Plan including 1.7 miles of Lake Monona waterfront, a six-fold increase in the tiff valuation since 1995, a new State Museum, the Overture Center, hotels that will soon double room numbers within two blocks of Monona Terrace, and an affirmed self-confidence in Madison’s common future?
George Austin knew, and he shared it with us on Wednesday, July 20. The exceptional attendance at Wednesday’s meeting honored his 23-year career with the city, including 15 years as Planning and Development Director and leader of the Monona Terrace project; and now the Wisconsin History Center’s project manager.
This is one of Madison’s greatest stories, told to us by the successor to the visions that preceded him.
If you missed our meeting last week, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOPR2u7dYRQ&t=874s.