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South Side Community Picnic in Olin Park  - June 23, 1929 | by South Madison History
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South Side Community Picnic in Olin Park - June 23, 1929

This high resolution photo was taken in 1929 with the photographer standing near the present day beach location in Olin Park with his back to Lake Monona. The camera is pointed to the southwest looking up the grass covered glacial hill that drops down to Lake Monona.


The building in the center of this picture is in approximately in the same location as today's restroom building. Note that the orientation and architectural style of today's bathroom building is very similar to the building in this picture. The large structure on the right is a unique 5000 seat circular auditorium built by J. H. Findorff in 1895. Normal Hall, which is the only building from this time period still standing today, is off the picture to the left. On the far right of the picture you can see two of the many large garage door type doors that surrounded the perimeter of the auditorium structure. These doors were probably mounted with counter weights and opened by lifting them straight up much like an old double hung window. This allowed light and fresh air into the structure when lectures were held but retained the capability to close up the structure in inclement weather and over the winter months.


Though the year is not shown in this picture, it is probability Sunday June 23, 1929. This was determined by calculating in which years June 23 fell on a Sunday and by looking at the style of the automobiles in the background. The Madison residents in this picture appear to be enjoying a fine summer day just 10 weeks before the great depression threw the county into many years of hard times.


This image is viewed best by downloading the highest resolution image from Flickrand zooming in on the details with your computer. The detail in the close up views of all the people is amazing.


You can find out more information about the Olin Auditorium and the history of Olin-Turville Park at the following website-


Special thanks to Evelyn Shimshak for providing the original photograph used to create this digital image.

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Taken on January 9, 2012