This park was formerly known as Lake Front Park and remains one of Madison’s largest lakefront parks with sixteen acres of land. In 1922, Micheal B. Olbrich formed the Madison Parks Foundation to raise money necessary to complete the new park and to acquire shoreline between it and the Yahara River Parkway.
By 1928, Olbrich had achieved the goals of acquiring the funding for this parkland and turned his attention to the acquisition of the first portions of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum on the shore of Lake Wingra.
In 1929 when Michael Olbrich died unexpectedly, the park was renamed Olbrich Park to honor and recognize the remarkable legacy he left to Madison.
Michael B. Olbrich
Michael Balthazar Olbrich moved to Wisconsin from McHenry County, Illinois in 1889 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison at the young age of 17. He was a great debater and graduated from law school in 1905. He soon opened his own successful law firm and was a UW Regent.
Olbrich was deeply influenced by the example of another Madison attorney, John M. Olin. Mr. Olin was a longtime president of the nationally known Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association, the private organization that created Madison’s outstanding park system. In Olin, Olbrich found both inspiration and a perfect model for living a life that united a career in law with a passion for social betterment and a love of the natural world.