At just under 10 acres, and with over 1,400 feet of Lake Monona shoreline, the property known as San Damiano has been described as epic, iconic, and even magical. The property’s small arboretum of cedars, sycamores, oaks, pines, and apple trees serves as a haven for a wide variety of native and migratory birds, and at least one natural spring still gurgles beneath its topsoil. Perched atop a natural limestone bluff, the property offers breathtaking views of the Capitol, and a peaceful natural expanse, amidstSan Damiano is the largest private parcel of land remaining on all of Lake Monona, and it has remained largely undisturbed for more than 100 years. A singular, Dutch Colonial-Revival manor house, built in 1893-4 and known as the Frank Allis House, still stands on the property in testament to a bygone era.
The City purchased the property and closed in June 2021 and will go through a full investigative review of property and house and have applications through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program and Dane County for grants to reduce the acquisition costs.
Friends of San Damiano Group has been established to raise funds for future master planning and development of the property. If you are interested in donating to this project or looking to do volunteer work at the property, please visit this page for further details.
The property is open to the public to enjoy the wonderful setting. The house is not available to tour at this time until inspection work has been concluded.
Parks & Recreation Staff are currently maintaining the property as a public park and will be doing cleanup activities and tree work over the next several months.