Type: Decomposed granite
/ Length (Miles): .20
Size: .65 acres
/ Combined Large & Small Dog Area
San Antonio parks give people an opportunity to spend time enjoying the outdoors, with fresh air, sunshine and exercise on tap for visitors. Take a walk, enjoy the scenery, and de-stress. Studies show people who spend time in parks will be sick less often, which means less time missing from school and work, as well as lower healthcare costs and better overall health. And it’s fun and refreshing. Visit a San Antonio park today!
Alcohol is prohibited at Madison Square Park. All amenities are first come, first serve.
The .65-acre dog park at Madison Square Park officially opened in 2010 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and animal blessing. The dog park features a fenced off-leash area, mutt-mitts, a doggie drinking fountain, and benches.
Madison Square comprises part of a land grant made by the Spanish Government to Joaquin Menchaca on March 10, 1778. I.A. Paschal and Nat Lewis, both of whom lived in the area, acquired part of the Menchaca grant in the middle of the 19th century for a residential development called Upper San Antonio. The subdivision was platted and surveyed for Paschal and Lewis by H.S. Upshur in 1847.
According to the original plat of Upper San Antonio, Paschal and Lewis set aside one block of land -- the northern portion of the park as a public square. At that time the block was bounded by Second Avenue (Lexington), Fourth Street (Camden), Third Avenue (Baltimore) and Third Street (Dallas). By the time the plan for Upper San Antonio was filed in the Bexar County deed records in May 1869, the southern portion of the park bounded by Lexington, Dallas, Richmond and Camden was set aside as dedicated ground. (The two blocks were originally numbered 17 and 18, and later renumbered as City Blocks 798 and 807.) Paschal and Lewis owned the Upper San Antonio land jointly until 1857 when they divided the lots. After Paschal died in 1869, the remainder of his property was sold to settle his estate.
By 1881, City Council minutes indicate that Madison Square had been named, though the date and origin of the name have not yet been located. The Council committed $100 to improve the park "and the money was to be spent by a citizens' committee appointed by those who have subscribed to this matter of the subscribers would provide $200." This early public/private partnership was apparently successful and led to further improvements. In April 1882, citizens petitioned City Council for the cultivation of trees, construction of gravel walks, installation of gates and grubbing of weeds at a cost of $100. In 1884, lamps and water lines were added to the park. The City Council voted in March 1885 to hire a man to care for Madison Square for three months at a cost of $30 a month. In July 1885, citizens petitioned to continue this appropriation and the request was referred to the Mayor. It is not known if the request was ever approved and few references appear in City Council minutes to Madison Square in subsequent years.
These improvements coincided with the planning and construction of Madison Square Presbyterian Church. Adjacent to the park, Rev. William Howell Buchanan acquired several of I.A. Paschal's lots which he transferred to his fledgling church in 1882. The cornerstone was laid on Nov. 30, 1882, and though a storm destroyed part of the church on Aug. 20, 1886, it was rebuilt and continues to operate at that location in 1998.
The area around Madison Square developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a residential neighborhood of large two-story houses. These included several houses along the western edge of the park designed and built by prominent architect James Riely Gordon, designer of the Bexar County Courthouse, that were known as Gordon's Madison Square. Though these houses have been demolished, others dating to the early 20th century remain both north and east of the park.
By just after 1900, San Antonio's business district was growing rapidly to the north, and commercial development encroached on the Madison Square neighborhood. Physicians and Surgeons Hospital and Medical and Surgical Hospital opened just south of the park in 1902 and 1924 respectively. Baptist Memorial Hospital, founded in 1948, stands on that site today. In 1927, the Goad Cadillac Company (later called Riata Cadillac Company) built its new building east of the park at the corner of Lexington and Dallas.
San Antonio experienced rapid population growth and extensive construction in the teens and 1920s. To accommodate these changes, streets and utilities were reconstructed and thoroughfares extended, including Lexington Avenue. In June 1925, it was reported that "traffic to and from the new municipal auditorium will be facilitated by extension of Lexington Avenue through Madison Square Park. (The original plat of Upper San Antonio shows Second Street or Lexington Avenue running between the two blocks of the park. The street was evidently closed at some time to create an uninterrupted green space.) The extension of Lexington Avenue was completed in April 1926.
Because of the designation of a portion of Madison Square as a "public square" in 1847, it joins Main, Military and Alamo Plazas and San Pedro Park as one of the oldest facilities in the San Antonio Parks and Recreation System. Today, Madison Square comprises 5.1 acres with ornamental plantings, picnic tables and benches.