East Side History Madison’s Blog

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

Toboggan run at “Ice House Hill”

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on January 25, 2013


Thanks to Charles “Chuck” Steele, we now have this fantastic photo of the toboggan run and ski jump  at “Ice House Hill” circa 1949.

For those who missed growing up with memories of ice houses still in our collective past, “Ice House Hill” is the sledding hill at Olbrich Park. An ice house was located here until beet juice waste discharged into Lake Monona via Starkweather Creek from the U.S. Sugar Company factory made the ice unsaleable and the operation went out of business. The ice house was torn down; the building providing lodging for its workers was moved to the corner of Garrison and Buena Vista and turned into a private home; the hill became the site of this city-sponsored winter entertainment.

According to Chuck Steele, city road-crew workers who would otherwise have no employment in winter were given jobs assembling and operating these recreational structures in city parks. Madison’s East Side was lucky to have such fun provided by the city.

5 Responses to “Toboggan run at “Ice House Hill””

  1. Eric Amlie said

    Thanks to Chuck Steele for providing this. Not many photos seem to exist of it.

  2. Laurel H said

    This was taken by my father when he was 19. He loved to ski jump!

  3. Roger said

    Many years ago while ice skating at Olbrich park one of the guys that watched over the warming house said the toboggan slide was stored in the warming house on Garrison st. Not sure if it is true.

  4. swhin said

    I remember going down the toboggan slide with my 6 member family and falling off the end of the toboggan. What a great memory to have. We went for hours. If you were the first person at the front you’d have chips of ice hitting you.

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