East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Archive for April, 2009

Sid Boyum Sculptures at Lowell School: see the movie!

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 29, 2009

Want to see Gretta Wing Muller’s short video documentary about moving some of Sid Boyum’s sculptures to Lowell School?

View it online here: http://vimeo.com/4126552

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

More big game…

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 28, 2009

Some great images of the Tenney Park area were added to our photo archive during our March 2009 Show &  Tell, brought in by Orin Boebel. We know these images date from about 1904-1906, just following the improvements that created the Yahara River Parkway. Unfortunately, we have no more information than that–the photos were given to Mr. Boebel without accompanying information. Please, history fans, don’t let this happen to you! A picture is worth a thousand words only if we know the who what when where and why of it…


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

More Big Game sighted on Madison’s East Side

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 28, 2009

When it comes to catching photos of big game, Wes LeFebvre’s luckiest season occurred in November, 1944.  Note the use of croquet mallets to prop the deers’ heads into positions of lifelike attention. Yes, this is the same Wes LeFebre who at age 18 won a talent show at the Majestic Theater with his ‘triple-tongue’ harmonica technique. Successful hunter and harmonica-player… the East Side has always been home to great talents. Thanks, Jean LeFebvre Lang, for sharing your historic photos with us.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Where did the Gisholt Factory get its name?

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 18, 2009

An article in the newsletter of the Koshkonong Prairie Historical Society came my way, courtesy of Lorraine Hawkinson of Oregon. The article profiles John Anders Johnson, the founder of the Gisholt Machine Company and a famous “Son of Koshkonong.”

John was born to innkeepers in  Skibsnaes, Norway, who took the place name for their own. Because of the parents’ work at the inn, they placed young John in the care of a paternal aunt and uncle, who lived on an ancient farm named Gisholt. John carried memories for his entire life of the happy days spent there.

At the age of 12, John reunited with his parents and the family immigrated to America In 1844.

Fast forward 10 years:  John purchased a farm outside Stoughton and entered politics with election to the post of Pleasant Springs town clerk. He continued to serve in town and county board positions. In 1856 he married and was elected to the Wisconsin state legislature but four years later, lost both his wife and child. He sold his personal property and moved to Madison.

In the years that followed he showed an uncanny ability to foresee the needs of his growing country, starting an insurance company, a Norwegian language newspaper, and playing a lead role in the Civil War effort in Wisconsin.

When did he get around to starting the Gisholt Factory? I don’t know yet–the story will be continued in the Autumn issue of the Koskhonong  Prairie News. But it’s safe to say he named it after the beloved old family farm in Norway.

-Sarah White for the East Side History Club


1952: Union members tour Gisholt. Photo courtesy Charlotte (Legrey) Kalish.

1952: Union members tour Gisholt. Photo courtesy Charlotte (Legrey) Kalish.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Moving/Marimba Lady

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 17, 2009


Shirley Vickerman Spaith brought up the “Marimba Lady” in a letter she sent us following  the January ’09 History Club meeting:  

“I lived on Atwood Ave. for 25 years – first at 1924 Atwood and after 1941 at 2047 1/2 Atwood.  My father worked for Kennedy Dairy and kept the horse that  he used to pull the milk delivery wagon in the barn that still stands and is used by Krupp Construction as an office (2020 Eastwood Drive).

“A few doors down across from the Eastwood Theater a lady gave marimba lessons.  I baby sat for the Howard Nedderman children (Joyce, Jane & Gayle) who lived in the same house (2087 Atwood).  It was fun to listen to her play.”

Ann Waidelich did a little History detective work and produced the following: 

The ‘marimba lady‘ that Shirley Spaith mentions is/was Dorothy Heick Jorgenson.  An Aug. 16, 1970 Wis State Journal article described Mrs. Jorgenson as president of Heick Moving and Storage Inc.  The company was started by her grandfather and managed by  her father and then her husband Clarence Jorgenson. 

When her husband died in 1956, responsibility for managing the firm was thrust upon her.  Dorothy’s background hadn’t really prepared her for the position.  ‘My background was in music, but I was born in a moving family,’ she said.  She had studied music since she was a child, including private lessons in Chicago and classes at Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin.  

She had toured with an all-girl band and had given private instruction in piano and MARIMBA. Inexperience did not prevent her from being successful in her new role.  She became the first woman ever named to the board of directors of a national moving firm, and was named woman of the year (1970) in Wisconsin trucking by the Women’s Division of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association.

In 1970 she was living with her daughter in Sun Prairie. Our history detectives have not located her in current phone records or newspaper obituary listings.

If you know the rest of the story, please let us know!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

April meeting: Lowell School Tour & Talk

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on April 5, 2009


If you attended Lowell School, you remember the building, your teachers, administrators, and fellow students. Let’s reminisce!

Saturday April 18th

2 pm: Meet at Lowell School for tour (Corner of Maple and Atwood Avenues). 

3 pm: Discussion & social hour at Goodman Center

Built in 1916 on the site of former circus grounds, Lowell School combined great architecture with a great learning environment. Lowell School was home to many “firsts” — first to have a parent-teacher organization, first to participate in the federal hot lunch program. During the 1930s, the school even featured atuberculosis solarium. 

We’ve heard East Siders mention all kinds of Lowell School fun and we want to know more! Join Principal Beverly Cann for a tour of the school at 2pm. Then bring your memories and memorabilia on over to the Goodman Center for sharing at the discussion following the tour. We’ll have our scanners ready to capture images.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »