WILLY STREET PARADE 5-09222013145914 (copy)

A crowd celebrates at the Willy Street Parade last month. Named one of the country's top 10 neighborhoods, Williamson-Marquette now has another reason to celebrate.

Mike DeVries

One of Madison’s oldest neighborhoods, which over the years has staved off decrepitude and decline, has made the American Planning Association’s top 10 “great neighborhoods.”

The Williamson-Marquette neighborhood, which in 1969 became the first in Madison to form a neighborhood association, made the list with neighborhoods ranging from San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown to homey Central Street in Evanston, Ill.

“From its earliest beginnings in the late 1850s, Marquette, as it commonly is known, has embraced diversity,” notes the APA. “Grand Victorian homes were built along the lakefront, and single family Queen Annes and two flats filled the adjacent grid. Along Williamson, the neighborhood main street, modest workers' cottages were sandwiched between shops, taverns, implement dealers, and blacksmiths.”

Neighborhood representatives and Mayor Paul Soglin will be at an event Friday at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, 953 Jenifer St. at 1:30 p.m. during which APA Executive Director Larry Ward will present a certificate for the honor.

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Steven Elbow joined The Capital Times in 1999 and has covered law enforcement in addition to city, county and state government. He has also worked for the Portage Daily Register and has written for the Isthmus weekly newspaper in Madison.