East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

Archive for March, 2009

Bubbler Sighting: Jean LeFebvre Lang

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 28, 2009


Jean LeFebvre Lang donated lots of pictures to the E.S.H.C. at the March 21 “Show and Tell” event. 

One of the photos is of a little girl (who is Jean LeFebvre with panties showing !) drinking from a bubbler in front of the Hudson park Pharmacy, 2337 Atwood Ave. Tthe buildings shown are still standing.  Photo is probably 1930s.



Jean LeFebvre Lang at bubbler, 2337 Atwood Ave.

Jean LeFebvre Lang at bubbler, 2337 Atwood Ave.

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Big Game Hunting on Madison’s East Side

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 28, 2009


What is the connection between Madison’s East Side and Big Game Hunters? We don’t know, but we’re hot on the trail.

An anonymous donor gave the East Side History Club a photo of Dr. Carl Fosmark with several big game ‘trophies’ in his Atwood Avenue office, dated December 1958.

Our crack team of history detectives located Dr. Fosmark’s obituary:

“Dr. Carl Fosmark, 85, a family physician and big game hunter for more than 50 years died on September 21, 1994.  Dr. Fosmark, who maintained a practice at 2453 Atwood Ave. and lived at 602 South Thornton Ave. , served East Side residents from the time he earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota in 1938 until his retirement in 1993.  His office was lined with zebra skins, the heads of antelope, water buffalo and other big game shot during hunting safaris.  In later years, he gave up hunting and began photographing the animals instead.” 

Dr. Fosmark’s office was located just up the street from the Berg-Pearson Sporting Goods store, 2123 Atwood Avenue. Bennie Berg was well-known as a big game hunter. Like Dr. Fosmark, he eventually gave up the gun for the camera.

Both men were Masons. Did they travel together on some of their adventures? Did one influence the other to switch from blood sport to photography? You tell us. Anyone with information about the East Side’s big game hunters, please contact the East Side History Club.


Dr. Fosmark with  his animals in his Atwood Avenue office

Dr. Fosmark with his animals in his Atwood Avenue office

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Effigy Tree sculpture makes progress toward return

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 12, 2009

A hackberry tree that had been struck by lightning in Hudson Park was transformed into a sculpture in 1991 when neighborhood residents commissioned Native American artist Harry Whitehorse to work with the remaining trunk. But the wooden carving took a beating from the elements, and after one restoration in 1997, it was removed for preservation in 2007.

Ann Brickson of Lakeland Avenue recently emailed Effigy Tree Supporters this report:

Metal casting of the Effigy Tree is complete. Sculptor Harry Whitehorse will select a patina, which will be applied to finish the process. Committee members, along with Harry and some generous donors and consultants, are working on designing and constructing a cement footing and base of rough cut native Wisconsin stone at the original site in Hudson Park. The Madison Parks Division is committed to working with neighbors to improve the care and appearance of the Hudson Park mounds. The Ho-Chunk Nation will sponsor a re-dedication event on the afternoon of September 12, 2009. We will keep you posted as we move towards completing this project, and we look forward to celebrating with all of you on September 12.


The Effigy Tree Sculpture, prepared for patina application.

The Effigy Tree Sculpture, before removal for renovation

The Effigy Tree Sculpture, before removal for restoration.

The Effigy Tree Sculpture honors the Native American history in our neighborhood. Hudson Park, on the shore of Lake Monona, is the site of three effigy mounds representing a bear, a lynx, and a panther or water spirit. These are all that remains of an extensive cluster of mounds that once extended from the Yahara River to Olbrich Park and included giant birds, one with a wingspan of over 550 feet.

Effigy mounds were constructed between 700 and 1200 A.D. and are believed to be the creation of the ancient ancestors of the Ho-Chunk Nation. They are unique to the upper Midwest, with the vast majority of sites in Wisconsin and a significant number of these clustered around lakes in Madison. Dane County alone once had over 1000 mounds, 80 per cent of which have been destroyed. Not just burial sites, the mounds are ceremonial landscapes that recreate the world view of the builders and were constructed to maintain balance and harmony with the sacred character of the natural world. 

Thanks, Ann Brickson, for sending us this info.   -Sarah White

Photo credits: top; Vanguard Sculpture of Milwaukee. Bottom; Harry Whitehorse.


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A streetcar named (your business here)

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 9, 2009

When Madison’s streetcars were phased out in 1935, several of the old trolley cars found new uses on Madison’s East Side.

Bessie Vale’s Grocery was one, located on Fair Oaks Avenue between Webb Avenue and Thurber Avenue. Bessie had worked for the streetcars as a painter for 17 years and when she lost her job, she decided to buy a streetcar and turn it into a grocery store. 

Her son-in-law John Hanson bought another streetcar and turned it into The Spot Lunch, 640 Williamson Street. (Red Caboose Daycare now occupies that approximate location.) 

The Spot Lunch at 640 Williamson Street in 1952, courtesy of Wisconsin Hisotrical Society. Image WHi-24415.

The Spot Lunch at 640 Williamson Street in 1952, courtesy of Wisconsin Hisotrical Society. Image WHi-24415.

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“Show and Tell” topic for March 21 2009 meeting

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 4, 2009


Join us March 21 2009, 2-4pm at the Goodman Community Center, and show us your “stuff”!


 Bring your photos and mementos to share with other attendees. Meanwhile, club volunteers will scan or photograph items, for use in future programs and publications. An appraiser will be on hand to give informal value estimates, and historians to share insights about items’ significance. Refreshments will be served.

We want to see your “home-made history” – the artifacts that would otherwise not be preserved in the community’s newspapers and institutional records. These include:

  • scrapbooks
  • diaries
  • photos taken around the neighborhood
  • family portraits
  • civic event artifacts, especially of East Side Festivals
  • East Side business items
  • school trophies
  • athletic wear
  • play and dance programs
  • premiums and prizes
  • East Side factory artifacts such as time cards, uniforms, etc.

Write down information about the items you bring, such as names, dates and anecdotes.


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