Archive for May, 2010

Photo challenge summer vacation

May 10, 2010

olbrich orchardFor photo challengers, the sundial by Michael Burns in last week’s photo is in Olbrich botanical gardens. Olbrich is worth a visit in all seasons, though the Bolz conservatory is a perfect winter infusion of warmth and tropical vegetation.

We can’t mention Olbrich gardens without talking about Michael Olbrich. From a threadbare childhood on an Illinois farm, Olbrich became a respected lawyer, UW regent, and key member of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, which created Madison’s great early parks. (Until 1931 city officials regarded parks as luxuries it couldn’t afford. The MPPDA was run—and largely funded—by familiarly named people: John Olin, Edward Owen, William Vilas, Daniel Tenney, Thomas Brittingham, Frank Hoyt, Ernest Warner.)

In the 1920s Michael Olbrich pushed to develop a UW arboretum. He also bought up and donated land for an eastside park on Lake Monona. Olbrich Park was named for him after he committed suicide in 1929, at 48. Many obituaries speculated that  he was driven to it by the stress of a lawsuit, financial pressure, and illness.

With a busy summer ahead, we’re turning to new projects and breaking from weekly photo challenges. Look for more audio and video in 2011!

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