Hours: 4:00am - 10:00pm Park Type: Community Acres: 37.07 Restroom: Yes Drinking Water: Yes Shoreline On: Lake Mendota
In December of 1956, the City of Madison purchased 27 acres of land on the west side of Lake Mendota from Dr. George J. Maloof. This was the beginning of Marshall Park. James G. Marshall was the city's first Parks Superintendent. He began his career with the city in 1927 when he was hired as the City Forester. In 1932 he was named Assistant Park Superintendent, and in 1937 he became the first Parks Superintendent. He stayed with the City in that role until his retirement in 1969, serving the city for 42 years.
During his tenure, the City's parklands increased from 350 acres to more than 3,000 acres. Today, we have almost 6,000 acres. Marshall was at the helm for the addition of Cherokee Marsh to the park system, and for the development of Olbrich Botanical Gardens.
Demetral Field, Hoyt, Hill Farms, Warner, Duane F. Bowman Park (originally Fish Hatchery Softball Field), and Olin Terrace are among the parks developed, expanded and improved while he was Superintendent.
Marshall saw to the development of both Odana Hills and Yahara Hills golf courses.
In honor of his service, in 1961, while he was still Superintendent, then Mayor Ivan A. Nestingen and the Madison Board of Park Commissioners agreed the new park should be named after Marshall.
In December of 1978, an additional 15.29 acres was added to the park with the purchase of the Mrs. Mary North property.
Architecturally, the North Estate addition included two historic buildings, currently leased to private parties by Parks. In addition, the bathhouse has a sundeck on the roof that overlooks the lake.
In 1997, a generous donor provided money to build a Holocaust memorial placed in Marshall Park. The donation included funds for the much-needed replacement of the railing on the bathhouse, and tied in the bathhouse with the memorial. An inscription on a boulder that is part of the memorial reads:
TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF THE SIX MILLION JEWS AND ALL VICTIMS OF THE HOLOCAUST. 1941-1945
In addition, benches are inscribed with the following:
TO HONOR THE MEMORY OF RAOUL WALLENBERG, and
IN GRATITUDE TO THE RIGHTEOUS
Mr. Marshall was quoted as saying the park program success "has been due to support of Mayors and City Councils through the years, reflecting the desires on the part of citizens to have the best."