East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Archive for February, 2012

Madison East High Auditorium Renovation campaign may get boost!

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on February 28, 2012

The Wisconsin State Journal recently reported on a new program to match public funds with private donations for projects like the “Raise the Curtain” fundraising campaign to renovate the East High auditorium.

We’ve been grateful to East High for allowing us to use the auditorium for our programs by John Olson and Dave Martinson on East High athletics in May 2010 and 2011. But we have to share the opinion of the acoustics and seating expressed in the WSJ article.

“The auditorium remains an ugly, acoustically dysfunctional lecture hall full of uncomfortable burnt orange bowling alley chairs,” wrote Matthew DeFour. The organizers of the “Raise the Curtain” campaign had hoped to find $3.5 million dollars by this year, in honor of East High’s 90th anniversary in 2012.

A refurbished theater would certainly be an asset to the area. DuFour quotes East High Principal Mary Kelley: “It will not only be an East High theater; it will be an East Side community theater.” But fundraising has been tough in the recent economic downturn. This new matching funds program could be just the ticket to get funds coming in. Read more here

We blogged about the “Raise the Curtain” campaign June 6, 2011. Read that post here

Photo by CRAIG SCHREINER – State Journal Paul Milisch, East High drama director, teaches a class Thursday in the auditorium, which currently features bowling alley chairs bolted to a concrete floor.






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March 17 Meeting at East Side Club

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on February 27, 2012


Originally formed as the “Eastside Advancement Association” in 1912, the club changed its name to “ The East Side Businessmen’s Association” in 1923 and in 2006 to “The East Side Club.” If you’ve shopped or banked or attended school on the East Side, or enjoyed the shade trees and sports fields, or attended local festivals, you’ve benefited from the club’s good work.

Bring your stories of the East Side Club to share at our February meeting.

Special Meeting Location! East Side Club 3735 Monona Dr.

Saturday March 17 from 2–4pm. $2 suggested donation.

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Join us at Goodman Center for February 18 meeting

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on February 8, 2012


Anyone who’s visited Olbrich Gardens has likely noticed what remains of an East Side landmark—the “Sugar Castle.” At our February 18 meeting we’ll review the site’s history and discuss the current state of plans for future preservation and use.

This large industrial complex was originally the United States Sugar Co. beet-sugar factory. More recently Garver Feed Mill operated there until 1997. The property’s fate had seemed secure with the approval of a plan by Common Wealth Development for an arts incubator modeled after the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA. But in May 2011 Common Wealth scratched its plans, citing the challenges of fundraising in a recession for the $15 million project, of which only $3.3 million in public funds had been assured. The city hopes to move quickly on a new plan regarding the fate of the building, which has been designated a Madison Landmark.


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