McKenna Park

McKenna Park, more commonly known as the Shorewood Hills Beach, was one of the first parks established in the initial Shorewood plat of 1922. The ravine in which the park is located was a well-known scenic spot for university students and Madison residents. The original rustic bridge over this ravine was built by the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association and became a destination for horses, bicycles, and early automobiles. It was at this rustic bridge that the young John C. McKenna conceived of a real estate plat for the Shorewood area. He considered the ravine and Lake Mendota overlook to be one of the  "beauty spots" of the area.

By the time the village was created in 1927, McKenna had already constructed a bathing beach, pier, and diving platform. The first lifeguard was hired in the summer of1928 at a rate of $0.60 an hour. In 1930, the Park Association built a pier and boathouse. The top deck of the boathouse served as a recreation area for children by day, and at night it was used by residents for picnics and parties.

Before the village built its swimming pool in 1970, McKenna Park was a very important destination for village residents. A sidewalk that extends from the school along the west side of Shorewood Boulevard and Edgehill Drive was installed in the 1960s and still provides water access today. A few years after the pool opened, usage of McKenna Beach dropped so much that maintenance was discontinued. The beach area is now used primarily by casual anglers or for storage of small boats. In the winter it serves as a convenient access to the ice.

- Shorewood Hills: An Illustrated History
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