Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood, Madison WI

Dudgeon-Monroe History

The Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood on Madison's near-west side has been bustling with activity for more than 1,000 years. Once serving as farmland & a popular transportation route by Native Americans, eleven effigy mounds can still be seen around Edgewood College, including the famed "bird effigy," which is more than 260 feet wide.

As more settlers moved in, Monroe Street became the first public road in Wisconsin (though it was then called Monroe Road). A nearby inn served thirsty travelers and their horses. By the 1850s, Monroe Street was already becoming a popular shopping and commercial area -- the forerunner to the street we know and love today.


The Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood is known for its mix of history, commerce & nature. The bustling stretch of Monroe Street is home to Trader Joe's, the Monroe Street Library Branch, & dozens of local cafes, restaurants, bars & boutiques. The annual Monroe Street Festival features music, performances & activities.

Dudgeon-Monroe is also home to Wingra School, Edgewood Campus elementary & middle schools, Edgewood High School & Edgewood College

Commuting by bus or bike from Dudgeon-Monroe is easy, thanks to plentiful routes & it’s close proximity to the Madison hospitals, downtown & University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Home to the Young Shakespeare Players, YSP is the only year-round program of its kind. Programs are available to youth ages 7-18 as well as veteran actors & adult actors. YSP performs full-length, original works of Shakespeare, G.B. Shaw, and Charles Dickens. Any young person who registers will receive one or more substantial speaking roles; there are no rejections or auditions.

The Henry Vilas Zoo & Vilas Park & (seasonal) ice rink are also within walking distance.

Get active

Rent a canoe, kayak or SUP at Lake Wingra or enroll your kids at Camp Wingra, which offers a variety of summer camps for youth, including fishing, paddling, outdoor exploration, environmental education, SUP camps & more.

The neighboring University of Wisconsin Arboretum is open year-round for hiking, skiing, snow-shoeing. Don’t forget to check out their special events & if you’re feeling adventurous, look for Madison’s very own Lost City.

The Glenwood Children’s Park is a tiny gem, offering plenty of opportunities to crawl around in weird spaces, build forts, & goof off. What once was a rock quarry, it’s said that the North and South Halls on the UW campus were built from stone from this quarry.

Want to learn about other Madison metro neighborhoods? Check out our Madison Metro Neighborhood Guide.

Do you have an interesting fact, piece of history or trivia to share about your neighborhood? Get in touch- we would love to hear about it!