The Marquette neighborhood, or “The Willy St. Area” as it is more commonly known is almost defined by Willy St (Williamson).
Occupying the south, western portion of the isthmus, the official boundaries are E. Washington in the north, to Lake Monona in the south, Blair St on the west and the odd boundary with Schenick-Atwood on the East (Technically 1st Ave and Division Streets, but most folks think of it as the Yahara river).
While festivals happen all over Madison, Willy St, and the Marquette neighborhood are the epicenter of summer activities. The annual membership meeting / party for the Willy St. Co-op, Fete de Marquette, Fruit Fest, sponsored and anchored by PlanB, the Willy Street Fair, The Waterfront Festival, Orton Park Festival, and everything that happens in the new Central Park are only a part of the reason that the neighborhood has been named one of the top 10 in the nation.
Fantastic food, (Ha Long Bay) La Kitchenette, Pig in a Fur Coat, Umami, The Weary Traveler, Roman Candle, to name only a few) great art, including everything at the Madison Enterprise Center, bars, including the Old Sugar Distillery, PlanB, and The Weary Traveler, the Broom St. Theater all work together to make this one of the most exciting and attractive neighborhoods in town.
The feeling in the neighborhood is artsy, eclectic, liberal, diverse and comfortable whether you are in a suit or a swimsuit, there is a place to fit in on Willy St.
Historically the neighborhood was settled in the 1850’s and most homes date from that time period, the majority of them are LARGE, several have been converted into two (or more) flats, and the lots are typically small – to be expected for a neighborhood settled in a period where most folks walked to – everything. Construction is typically from the 1850’s – for better and worse – while the overwhelming majority of homes enjoy modern amenities, knob and tube wiring can still be found and garages are more difficult to come by. Plan to bring at least $200,000 if you want to move into this neighborhood, and don’t expect Corian® counters for that price, or off street parking.
The neighborhood includes several parks, Central, Orton and the Yahara River Parkway are the most notable. The Wil-Mar center located on the east end of the neighborhood is the spiritual center, offering social services, and meeting / performance space for local events.