East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Archive for March, 2010

Seeking Photos of Olbrich Ice Rink

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 26, 2010

Jean Krieg wrote us to say,

“I live on Garrison Street, across from the warming house between the hockey rink and ice skating rink (part of Olbrich park).  I was wondering if there are any old pictures of when the warming house was actually open (other than a few times a week now in the winter).  The windows on the Garrison side are all boarded up so at one time I imagine they were open and soda/popcorn/etc. was sold. It was probably a wonderful place for kids to gather. Seeing old pictures or hearing old memories would sure be great!”

Thanks, Jean Krieg

Jean, all I can offer for the moment is this photograph from the personal collection of Alice Dillman, which appeared in An East Side Album.

Friends at Olbrich skating rink, 1947. From left: Helene Birrenkott, Shirley Sigebart, Alice Dillman. Garver Feed and Supply Company (now defunct) is in the background.

The Olbrich Skating Rink, 201 Garrison Street. Photo taken in early Spring 2010 by Jean Krieg.

Do you have older photos of this building and the activities that took place here? Send them our way!

-Sarah White for the East Side History Club

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Madison’s “Truck Gardener” Remembered

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 26, 2010

At our February meeting on “Meals and Memories,” Judy Wonn VanBlaricom asked if anyone remembered Sam “the Egg Man” aka Salvatore Renda.  Her friend Ingrid Gullickson remembered him living in a big brick house (2118 Oakridge Ave) and keeping chickens in a garage/barn in back. He sold eggs  and chickens to neighbors.  He had a tractor and plowed a vacant lot at Division & Center to grow vegetables.  He died in 1954 at age 72.  His obituary says, “He was a Madison area truck gardener for many years.”  The Madison City Directories list him as a truck gardener from 1943 – 1953.

If you have a photo of the gardens or the gardener, we’d love to see them!

-Ann Waidelich for the East Side History Club

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The Flash Restaurant: Trachte-Style Dining on Atwood Avenue

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 19, 2010

Tom Miller brought this photo of the Trachte building at 2085 Atwood Avenue to our February 2010 meeting, along with information about its various occupants from 1937 through 2002. His interest in the building stems from its time as the “Flash Restaurant.”

Among his family papers is a legal document titled “Article of Partnership between Homer K.Hanson and Paul D. Boyd.”

It reads:

THIS AGREEMENT made this 1st day of July, 1939, between Homer K. Hanson and Paul D. Boyd, WITNESSETH:

The parties hereto hereby form a general partnershp for the purpose of operating a restaurant, sandwich shop, and hamburger stand at 2085 Atwood Avenue, in the City of Madison, County of Dane, Stae of Wisconsin, under the firm name and style of THE FLASH.

Tom’s research includes the facts that in 1945 the Madison telephone book lists the Flash (phone # Fairchild 1096).

An ad for the restaurant appeared in the May 30, 1945 East High Tower Times newspaper.

Tom writes, “We believe the Trachte building now at 2027 Atwood Avenue (see photo) is the same building used by the Flash.” He included a history of buildings at this address:

  • 1950-1960 Vic’s Cafe
  • 1961 Boelsings Cafe
  • 1962 At Last A Lunchroom
  • 1963-1965 Andy’s Cafe
  • 196-1968 Badger Cafe
  • 1969-1971 Nothing shown at this address
  • 1973-1977 Don and Harold’s Barber Shop
  • 1977-2002 His Barber Shop

Perhaps one of the more interesting facets of a Trachte building is that it can easily be moved. We think this may be the same structure that sheltered Gracie’s Cafe at 2035 Atwood Avenue.

Today, look for this building at 2085 Atwood, next door to Texas Tubbs’s Taco Palace.

Curious about Trachte buildings, Madison’s unique contribution to our architectural heritage? Learn more here:



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March 2010 meeting: Music and Dancing in Madison

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 9, 2010

We’ll explore the subject of “old time” Madison bands and musicians, including Schenks’ Corners own Larry Borenstein. We’ll view scenes from a recorded interview with saxophonist Larry Borenstein and hear from other guests involved in the Madison music scene.

We’ll meet Saturday March 20th 2–4pm, at the Goodman Community Center, 149 Waubesa St. $2 suggested donation.

Come prepared to share your memories of bands, musicians, and places where you danced!

Photos: Larry Borenstein with his sax courtesy of Kim “Dr. Sax” Slava. Borenstein’s at Schenk’s Corners courtesy of Jan Foss. Chanticleer ballroom (WHI-60685) courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society.

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Larry Borenstein, Legendary Schenks-Atwood Saxman

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on March 4, 2010

In the building that houses the Alchemy Pub, a connection to a jazz legend creates its own alchemy.

Our story begins with David and Tillie Borenstein operating Borenstein’s Department Store at Schenk’s Corners, beginning in 1925. In 1942 their nephew Larry joined them in the store.  He had graduated from West High in 1937 and from the University of Wisconsin School of Music in 1941.

Borenstein's Department Store, 1980-1988 Atwood Ave, 1951. Photo courtesy of Jann Foss.

Borenstein's Department Store, 1980-1988 Atwood Ave, 1951. Photo courtesy of Jann Foss.

Larry playing his Selmer Balanced Action Alto Sax with the Dick Jurgens Orchestra.

Larry playing his Selmer Balanced Action Alto Sax with the Dick Jurgens Orchestra.

Larry began his music career right out of college in 1941.  He joined the Eddy Howard Orchestra. Eddy Howard was a good friend of Guy Lombardo and a graduate of the Ben Bernie, George Olsen and Dick Jurgens orchestras.

After playing with the Eddy Howard orchestra for a couple of years Larry Borenstein returned to Madison and formed an orchestra with Eddy Webb. They put their names together and called their group Eddy Lawrence and His Orchestra. They played in the Wisconsin and Illinois area for many years.  Larry recorded on all the big labels.

In the 1940s and 1950s his name appears occasionally in advertisements for the Forbes-Meagher Music Company as an instructor of clarinet and saxophone.

Larry performed with a number of well-known musicians during that time, including Doc DeHaven, Boris Joseph, and Herb Morhoff. His sound has been described as “Sweet Jazz” and compared to Lawrence Welk. Larry became perhaps the most famous musician who was born and raised in Madison.

In his last years he had his own smaller group and played often with Robert Johnson, Harry Edwards and the American Jazz Express.

Larry rejoined the family store in 1961. In 1971 the Borenstein Department Store closed and reopened as Borenstein’s Shoes. In 1975 Larry Borenstein went to work for The Hub-East Towne Store selling clothing.  Larry died July 13, 1998.

Larry Borenstein’s Selmer Balanced Action Alto Saxophone…used by him for over 50 years.

Larry Borenstein’s Selmer Balanced Action Alto Saxophone…used by him for over 50 years.

Cut to 2009: Kim Slava of Doctor Sax Woodwinds, 2009- R  Atwood Ave., was looking for a buyer who will appreciate the history behind Larry Borenstein’s 1938 Selmer Balanced Action alto sax. The instrument was brought to him by Larry’s son, who has created a web site for info on Larry Borenstein — http://doctorsax.biz/Lawrence_Borenstein_bio_C.htm

The sax was sold on eBay in August 2009.

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