During the 19th Century, Willow Creek marked the western edge of the University of Wisconsin campus and the end of University Drive. In 1892, at the suggestion of Prof. Edward T. Owen, a committee of public-spirited citizens constructed a "pleasure drive" west from this point, opening the privately-owned Lake Mendota shoreline for public enjoyment. As part of this project, the first Willow Creek bridge was built. The drive, intended for saddle horses, carriages, and bicycles, crossed University Bay Marsh, ascended Eagle Heights, and followed the shoreline to Merrill Springs (Spring Harbor). In 1894, the committee became the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association under the leadership of John M. Olin. Relying on voluntary contributions, this renowned organization established other pleasure drives as well as Tenney, Vilas, and Brittingham Parks. In 1938, its activities were assumed by the Madison Parks Commission and the Association dissolved.