Q: Why is Hiestand Park on Milwaukee Street more often referred to Radar Hill?
A: Hiestand Park and Woods is the central focus of the Hiestand neighborhood on Madison's Far East Side, developed in the 1970s. The hill in Hiestand Park has legendary status among sledders, a fact noted on several Web sites that list the best sledding hills in the area.
According to the Hiestand Neighborhood Association Plan of 2006, which includes a well-written history, "Radar Hill" gets its name because it was once the site of the "Truax Communications Facility Annex," the highest point of Hiestand Park. It was used for many years by the federal government for operations by the U.S. Air Force.
In 1972, the 8.13-acre site was declared surplus. The city won with its bid over Madison Area Technical College, to turn it into a park. In 1979, the city bought more acreage and today the park, including the popular sledding hill, totals 57.8 acres of park and open space.