East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Remembering the Polar Bear Root Beer Stand…

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on October 28, 2010

The Polar Bear root beer stand visualized at 2801 Atwood Avenue

David Hull brought the above artwork to the Club meeting on Oct. 16th. He would like to find a real photo of the Polar Bear Root Beer Stand that stood at the corner of Atwood and Miller but so far none has turned up — so-he drew the stand from memory and pasted it over a photo of the BP gas station that is on the corner now.

The most obvious characteristic of the building is that it was a metal building created by the Trachte Brothers Company of Madison.
History of 2801 Atwood Avenue:

Using the Madison City Directories it seems that Ross Woodhead had a tavern on the corner of Atwood and Miller in 1939.  By 1941 he had moved across the street to what is now the parking lot next to Madison Kipp and nothing is listed for 2801 Atwood.

From about 1943 through 1956 the Polar Bear Root Beer Stand is listed at 2801 Atwood Ave. Some of the owners were Henry Bartsch, Otto Chirstensen and Frederick Christian. In 1957 the site was “under construction” and by 1958 the Clark Service Station had been built.
Does anyone have a picture of the building and/or themselves drinking root beer in front of the building?  David says it was also a drive-up.  Any pictures of the car hops serving root beer?

Ann Waidelich


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