Henry Vilas Park (Lake Wingra)
Henry Vilas Park is one of Madison’s oldest lakeside parks, and provides a gathering place along Lake Wingra for swimming, fishing, and even ice skating when the lagoon freezes over. The park was created from a 1904 donation from Wisconsin’s U.S. Senator, William Freeman Vilas (1840-1908), to the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, an organization committed to the development of parks and scenic drives in the Madison area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Vilas also served as U.S. Postmaster General and Secretary of the Department of the Interior under President Grover Cleveland. Henry Vilas Park is named in memory of William’s son who died in childhood.