Cloudy. Gusty winds this morning. Morning high of 51F with temps falling to near 40. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Higher wind gusts possible..
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Updated: November 21, 2019 @ 8:20 am
Madison's lakes have a long and storied history. Here's a look back at how they have changed over the years.
A row of conical burial mounds adjoins the Park and Pleasure Drive on the north shore of Lake Wingra (now Edgewood Drive, at the south edge of Edgewood College) in 1915. (WHS #39011)
View across water towards the "Scutanawbequon," owned by Francis (Frank) Barnes, launched on April 17, 1866, with seven people aboard. The boat, known as the "Scut," was made in Whitewater. Barnes purchased Squaw Point, known today as Winnequah Point, on Lake Monona across from the city of Madison. (WHS #120625)
This barge was used in copper sulfate treatments of Lake Monona in the 1930s, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. An inboard motor boat was used to tow the barge along the lake shoreline during spraying.
The Yahara River is shown from Williamson Street with Lake Monona in the background in this undated photo. (WHS # 2234)
Bird's-eye map of Madison with an inset of the Wisconsin State Capitol. The bird's-eye was done by the Norris, Wellge and Co., as a promotional item for S.L. Sheldon, a large Madison agricultural implement dealer. (WHS #11432)
Two men relax among Native American burial mounds on the Dividing Ridge between Lakes Monona and Wingra in Madison. The Dividing Ridge and the mounds were subsequently destroyed by gravel mining. (WHS #38942)
A horse grazes near Native American burial mounds on the Dividing Ridge between Lakes Monona and Wingra in Madison. The mounds, and the ridge they stood on, were subsequently quarried away by gravel miners. (WHS #39008)
A woman smiles as she poses while standing in a sand pit near the intersection of Fish Hatchery Road and Park Street. A note on the back of the photograph reads, "Dividing Ridge, Sand Pit, Pieh's Hill/Keyes Hill." (WHS #102503)
This pictorial map of Lake Mendota shows Native American sites and legends associated with the lake and its surrounding area. Some of those mentioned on the map include Lost Lake, Fox Bluff, Den of Water Spirits, Merrill Wishing Spring, and Eagle Heights. (WHS #96155)
A plan by John Nolen from 1910 shows a vision for Madison as a model city. The plan shows existing and proposed parks, railroads, and marshes in a color coded key. (WHS #100762)
In this Sept. 25, 1957 photo, Charlie Bran kneels with his catch of white bass, crappies and bluegills from Lake Mendota. The photo headline reads, "Big Haul for Charlie". (WHS #96299)
A visitor takes in the sight of three linear burial mounds at the Sure-Johnson mound group south of McFarland in 1905. (WHS #2388)
Marshland sedges and rushes, foreground, Lake Kegonsa and a tree-lined horizon are shown in 1965. The then-newly acquired area consists of marsh, woodland, Native American mounds and open fields on the northeast corner of Lake Kegonsa. (WHS #118562)
A man looks out over Lake Mendota in 1954, as the UW-Madison varsity crew team beats the California Golden Bears by 10 feet in a late spurt to win in record time.
Mike Wagner, age 77, is shown "loaded down" with ice fishing equipment on Lake Mendota in 1951. (WHS #69248)
A lifeguard observes swimmers at the beach in Vilas Park in 1950. A rowboat used by the lifeguard is on the beach. (WHS #66915)
A view of the Lake Mendota shoreline, including the Armory and Gymnasium (Red Gym or Old Red) and the Old Boat House from 1900.
This aerial photograph shows Governor's Island in Lake Mendota, as well as the area surrounding the Mendota Mental Health Hospital, in 1935. (WHS #34750)
Exterior view from the lake of the Madison City Boathouse at the foot of North Carroll Street on Lake Mendota. It was an early design of Frank Lloyd Wright in 1920. (WHS #34327)
A large group of well-dressed people stand aboard three small steamboats on Lake Monona in 1875. The boat in the foreground is a barge with a sternwheel. The two behind are sidewheel excursion boats. (WHS #27189)
A group of people in a large model launch with an American flag on Lake Mendota near the UW-Madison boathouse in 1915.
A boy stands on a pier on Lake Waubesa in 1927. There are boats docked at the water's edge and a group of children and adults are on the shoreline in the background. (WHS #119306)
Hundreds of people from all parts of southern Wisconsin descend on Lake Mendota to fish through the ice for perch and other pan fish from a spot about a mile out from Maple Bluff in January 1948. (WHS #34483)
Joanna "Josie" Mayer and her water skiing partner, Jimmy Schneiders, water ski side by side on Lake Mendota on July 12, 1955. (WHS #36843)
A man rows in a rowboat on Lake Monona in 1894 with a view of the city in the background. (WHS #2123)
This aerial view of Madison looking southeast over the Isthmus in 1928. Visible at the bottom is the Lake Mendota shoreline. At center, Lake Monona, just above, Lake Waubesa, and in the distance at the top, Lake Kegonsa. (WHS #31148)
View of Lake Kegonsa shoreline, with cottages and boathouses along the shore, and farm buildings on a hill behind in 1930. There is a dock with several rowboats in the foreground. The dock is at the bottom of a ramp contraption that runs from the shoreline. (WHS #100585)
Mendota Yacht Club members Rosamond Ross, from left, Ann Hastings, and Gina Johnson take down the sail from their boat, "The Freckles," on the pier behind the James Payton house, 409 N. Blair St., in 1947. (WHS #48369)
View from Lake Monona of a row of boathouses at East Wilson Street between South Hancock and South Franklin streets in 1934. (WHS #3647)
Illustration of the exterior of the tourist resort Tonyawatha Spring Hotel (an earlier version was called Tonyawatha House) from across Lake Monona in 1885. (WHS #11250)
The Wisconsin Historical Society collection includes a watercolor painting of the Yahara River at Lake Monona.
Charles E. Brown poses near a historic tablet marking one of a row of conical burial mounds on the Park and Pleasure drive on the north shore of Lake Wingra in May 1939. These mounds are now incorporated within the Edgewood College campus. (WHS #39012)
Two men pose on a boat docked at the Askew Steamboat Landing on Lake Monona off South Carroll Street. The old Governor Harvey residence is in the background on the far shoreline. (WHS # 3494)
A mill on the Yahara River at the outlet of Lake Mendota is shown in 1890. The mill was built in 1850 by Gov. Leonard J. Farwell.
The Eben Peck cabin, the first house in Madison, was built in June 1837. (WHS # 2859)
More in The Yahara Lakes: Giants Among Us (7 of 27)
The state christened the Yahara River’s four main lakes with undulating three-syllable names in 1855.
The Yahara lakes are a largely unknown world within our world. Running right through the middle of our lives, they affect us in ways so big and so familiar that that are easy to forget.
The Yahara lakes help quench the human need for contact with nature.