Originally part of the Town of Blooming Grove, Monona was incorporated as a village on August 29, 1938. Previous to incorporation, the area had consisted mainly of farmland and summer homes. By 1938, the area included more permanent homes and small businesses.
The village developed many public services including police and fire protection, street maintenance, and the provision of sewer and water utilities. During the 1950s, the village grew from 2,544 to 8,178. This was the largest percentage increase (231%) of any community in the state during this decade.
This population increase necessitated expanding the village facilities and services. In 1963, the village built a community center and adjacent swimming pool near the intersection of Nichols Road and Healy Lane. In 1967, the Village built a public library at the corner of Nichols and Schluter Roads. After Monona changed to city status in 1969, a City Hall was built across from the library on Nichols Road. This building housed all city operations (including the fire and police departments).
During the 1960s, there was a significant increase in commercial development in Monona. Most of this development took place along Monona Drive.
Monona annexed a substantial number of properties in the 1960’s and 1970’s for residential, commercial and industrial purposes. By the 1980’s, there was no additional land available for annexation. Monona became landlocked by the City of Madison and by bodies of water.
The next major change Monona faced came during the 1970s and 1980s with the development of the area along the Broadway Corridor from what is now South Towne Drive east to Bridge Road.
With the completion of U.S. Highway 12/18, the city has been working to find the most suitable ways to develop and redevelop the area along the Broadway Corridor. The River Place, Pier 37, and Ahuska Park developments are the result of these efforts. Careful planning will continue into the next millennium as the city seeks to balance the interests of current residents, businesses, city government, and potential developers. Environmental concerns and economic concerns must be balanced to ensure a healthy future for Monona and its residents.
As Monona enters its second half-century as a strong and thriving community, it looks to enhance its assets, take advantage of its opportunities, and preserve all that is good about the city.