In 2003-2004, our 4th/5th grade class at Randall School spent four long days walking along the nearby Park Street corridor in Madison Wisconsin, stopping to visit many people and places… and exploring occupations, recreations, education, foodways, and artistic, religious, and civic expressions.
We spent many more days planning our tours, discussing what we observed, and re-writing our field notes. Each student also visited Park Street a number of times alone or with a class partner or parent—and came back with reports to the class.
Park Street is one of the main streets in Madison. From Lake Mendota it heads south for 2.8 miles towards the belt line, passing through some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. While Park Street itself is mostly a commercial area, with many unique businesses, the corridor feeding into it includes many single and multi-family homes, public buildings, and open spaces.
The University of Wisconsin dominates the northern part of the corridor. The southern part is more “muscular,” with automotive businesses, building trades, a salvage yard, and other light industries.