Thursday, November 01, 2007

Restoring the Central High School arch

There's always something else to do... but I can tell you what's engaged a lot of my time and attention for the past several weeks: researching and writing an article about the restoration of the Central High School arch on Wisconsin Avenue for the Wisconsin State Journal. The article was published on Halloween on the front page of the newspaper. If you didn't catch it in the newspaper, there's on online version of the story at

When I have some more time, I'll post some more photographs of the restoration work and answer some of the questions I've received from alumni. In the meantime, rest assured that the arch is still standing.

Note: This post also appears on the Class of 1965 blog.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Class of 1937 yearbook available on Flickr

As part of my ongoing effort to write a history of Madison Central High School, I've been acquiring copies of the school yearbooks. Most of the ones I have are hardbound and are not easily scanned or photocopied.

However, I recently acquired a copy of The Orange and Black yearbook for the Class of 1937. During the 1930s and the Great Depression, publication of the Tychoberahn was suspended. Instead of 100+ pages, the yearbooks from the 1930s tend to have about 40 pages. Because the pages are stapled rather than bound, it was fairly easy for me to scan them without damaging anything.

I've scanned all 36 pages of the 1937 edition of The Orange and Black, plus the front and back covers (both inside and out) and posted them on the Central Alumni Flickr account. You may view each page individually, or click on the set and use the slide show option.

The resolution on my scanner is not high, but it seems to be acceptable for this project. The yearbook pages were slightly wider than the scanner screen, but I've done my best to capture everything on the page. The only things you may not be able to read are some of the autographs (like all the yearbooks I've acquired, this one is "pre-owned," but because there are so many autographs, I haven't been able to determine the owner's name).

Please let me know what you think of this online yearbook. Eventually, I would like all of the Madison Central High School yearbooks to be available online -- and to be indexed as well. Indexing is expensive, as are server charges: That's why I'm experimenting with Flickr as a low cost, interim option. A generous donation from the Class of 1956 is helping to pay the annual cost of the now upgraded Flickr account. The upgrade allows for an unlimited number of photos and sets. Prior to the upgrade, the account was limited to 200 photos and 3 sets.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Class of 1943 Annual Reunion

The Madison Central High School Class of 1943 will hold its 64th reunion next Wednesday, July 24, 2007 at the Elks Club in Madison, according to an email I received from Selma Dewey Calnan.

Tom and Dorothy Jafferis, who were high school sweethearts, have been keeping track of the alumni for 50 years.

The class voted to meet every year because "we don't want to take any chances!" It draws alumni from Hawaii, California, Florida and the states where they settled down after service in WWII.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Activity update

Most of what I've been posting, lately on the Madison Central High School blogs has been a bit behind the scenes. I continue to update the obituary archives. Recently, for instance, I've posted obituaries for a member of the Class of 1920 and a member of the Class of 1967 in the archives for obituaries published after 1990. I've also posted an obituary for a member of the Class of 1966 and a member of the Class of 1907 (whose five children later graduated from Central, too) in the archives for obituaries published prior to 1990.

The Blogger search engine (upper left hand corner of the blog) has been greatly improved. If you're looking for a particular person or date, try using it. And, as always, if you have a copy of an obituary for someone who is not yet included in the archives, please contact me so I can add it.

I continue to do research about the history of Central, but don't have the time to write about all my discoveries, especially since I've started a personal blog covering a wider range of subjects. I hope you'll take time to visit it, too. Tonight, I posted a continuation of the "Dirty dancing" and "Puking in the parking lot" posts there. When they were originally published here in January, they prompted a lot of comments. I hope more people will join in the conversation now that I've resumed it in a more general forum.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remembering a Madison [Central] High School Alumnus who died in World War I

Roger Boeker (Class of 1960), Post Commander for the VFW Post 1318 on Lakeside Street, where the annual All-Central Reunion is held, has submitted a short biography of Marion Cranefield, a member of the the Class of 1914 who was killed in action in France during World War I. The VFW facility's namesake is Cranefield, and a copy of the photo shown on the left hangs on an interior wall of the facility.

The complete post is in the archives of alumni obituaries published prior to 1990.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Help preserve Central High School's history by putting some names on faces

Usually Ann Waidelich and some of her fellow volunteers, including Central alumna Charlotte McVicar, spend Wednesday at the Wisconsin Historical Society helping to catalogue photographs, an increasing number of which are being posted online every week.

A conscientious researcher, Ann expends a great deal of time and energy trying to identify the people in each photograph she helps to process, but sometimes it's difficult to be successful in this important endeavor. However, I think Central alumni may be able to help her (and the Wisconsin Historical Society) put some names on as yet unidentified faces, such as the one shown on the top left of this post.

A cropped version of this photo of the 1929 relay team, taken by Angus McVicar, Charlotte's father, appears in the 1929 Tychoberahn. The men are identified by their surnames, as you can see if you look at the scan I've made of page 124 of the yearbook:

Note: Click on scan to enlarge it in your browser window

The names are (from left to right): Gjerde, Cohen, Anderson, Kloetzli, Horne, and Younger.

My copy of the 1929 Tychoberahn has lots of autographs. Although it's difficult to see in the scan, the autograph to the right of the photo is that of Harry Chuck Younger, so presumably he's the man on the right. After looking at the senior photos, I believe I've identified the man third from the right as Carter Anderson. I haven't been able to determine the identities of the other men, perhaps because they were not graduating seniors.

The photo of the track team at the top of page 124 of the 1929 Tychoberahn was also taken by Angus McVicar (note his name in the lower left hand corner). No one in this photo is identified, although it's likely the fourth man from the left in the bottom row is Carter Anderson.

The sign on the building in the background says "Simon Brothers Co" and in 1929, that company was located at 901 E. Washington Avenue, so the photograph was probably taken at Breese Stevens Field.

If you have any information about these team members and can help put some names on faces or tell us a bit about what happened to any of these men after they left Central, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I'll forward any information I receive to Ann Waidelich.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Members of the Class of 1917: Part 2 (Surnames M-R)

Listed below are the members of the Madison High School Class of 1917 whose surnames begin with the letters M-R and whose photos are included in the 1917 Tychoberahn.

The italicized information under many names is the information I have been able to find about that person; or, in some instances, speculation about how that person may be related to other alumni, or what they may have done after graduation. The quotations and information about high school activities are from the 1917 Tychoberahn.If you have any additional information about any of these members of the Class of 1917, please contact me by email or leave a comment.

Dorothy Maclaurin
Probably Dorothea MacLaurin (later Rainey) who graduated from the Univesity of Wisconsin in 1921 and with her high school classmate, Eleanor Riley (later Grant), owned the popular Soupçon Restaurant in Madison
Esther MacLean
John Mader
Alfred Marks
Helen "Carty" McCarthy
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1922; married A.O. Teckemeyer
Esther McKennan
Alice Meidell
Married Eugene Holden, an instructor in agronomy at the University of Wisconsin, in 1923
Hildur Meidell
Louis Melcher
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1922; completed theological studies in the Episcopal theological department of the University of the South in Sewaunee, Tennessee and in 1927 was appointed dean of the Episcopal cathedral of St. Luke in Ancon, Panama Canal Zone
Marie Metz
Florence Moll
Clara Monfried
Mildred Morgan
Probably the Mildred Morgan who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1924
Olga Mrdutt
Emma Mueller
Eunice Neckerman
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1926; married Waldemar Groth
Lucille O'Keefe
William Olds
Helen Olson
Charles Olson
Harold Olson
Ora Olson
Charlotte O'Malley
Arthur Ottow
Martina Paltz
Margaret Parker
Mary Parkinson
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1921
John Penewell
Weston Pidcoe
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1922; married Una DeBard in Haskell, Texas; attended the 50th reunion of his UW class in 1972
Lorenz Potter
Irene Puls
Robert Putnam
Grace Putnam
Loretta Quam
Alfred Radke
Irving Ramsdell ( -1965)
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1923; playwright
Marion Rathbun
Lillian Rhodes
Edward Riley
Eleanor Riley
Probably Eleanor Riley who graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1921 and with her high school classmate, Dorothea MacLaurin (later Rainy), owned the popular Soupçon Restaurant in Madison; Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1921
Gaige Roberts
Douglas Rose
Katherine Rosenberry
Helen Roth
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1921; in 1926 married S. M. McElvain, a professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin
Henry Royce
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1921; in 1924 was a paper salesman for Graham Paper Company in St. Louis, Missouri

Friday, March 16, 2007

Two recent photographs of the Central arch

Walking on West Dayton Street towards Wisconsin Avenue this afternoon, I stopped to take a photograph of the Central arch, the only remaining vestige of the Cass Gilbert-designed building that was home to Madison Central High School until from 1908 until 1969.

I wanted to take some photographs of the inside of the arch, but there was no access from either the MATC side or the Wisconsin Avenue side. Perhaps the orange barrier is seasonal. Let's hope it's not a harbinger of another attempt to demolish the arch.

Note: These post also appears on the CHS Class of 1965 blog

Sunday, March 11, 2007

At least Madison Central High School alumni still have a visual reminder of their school...

When Wisconsin High School closed in 1964, it merged with Madison Central High School, which then became known as Central-University High School.

Central-University High School closed in 1969 and its Cass Gilbert-designed building was razed to make way for an MATC parking lot. But at least Central alumni have a visible symbol of their school in the Central arch on Wisconsin Avenue (shown in the previous post).

Wisconsin High School alumni aren't so fortunate. I've written a long post (with several photos) about what happened to the Wisconsin High School building for the Class of 1965 blog. Please click HERE to read that post.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Central arch on a snowy night in 2006

MATC Central HS Arch
Originally uploaded by MBIMOTMOG.
Here's a great photo of the Central arch taken in February 15, 2006 by Aaron Kraus. Double click on it to see a larger version of it on his Flicker account.

Enjoy. Then check out some of the photos of Central alumni posted on the Central Alumni Flickr account and the Central High School Class of 1966 Flickr account. You may also access these account by clicking on the small Flickr flash badges in the right hand column.

I posted a link to Aaron's photo on the Class of 1965 blog last year, but that link went to a blog. I prefer viewing it on Flickr because there's less visual clutter surround it.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A new location for alumni photos

I'm going to start migrating alumni photos (such as the one shown here) to a special Flickr account, so it will become easier to locate and view them The account name is "Madison, Wisconsin CHS Alumni" and you may access it by clicking HERE. There is also a Flickr badge for the account near the bottom of the right hand column. This is in addition to (and separate from) the Class of 1966 Flickr account which also has a badge on this blog. If you click on any image on the badges, you will also be taken to that Flickr account.

Right now, the alumni Flickr account has 19 photos from the 2006 All-Central Reunion. I will keep you advised of my progress in posting photos to this account.

If you wish to leave comments on any public Flickr account, you must have your own Flickr account. A basic account is free -- and you're not even required to post any photos.

Update: On 3/3/2007, I added photos from the 2007 All-Central Reunion and Class of 1956 reunion to the "Madison, Wisconsin CHS Alumni" Flickr account.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Remembering Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa, members of the Class of 1933 who died before graduation

Not everyone who attended Madison Central High School graduated with his or her class. Two prominent members of the Class of 1933 -- Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa -- died before graduating. Both were honored in The Orange and Black yearbook.

The image below was created by merging scans of page 13 and page 31 of the yearbook. I decided to reproduce the full page images so you could see the memorial to these two students in context, rather than as an isolated clipping. As a result, you may also read a story about the June 1933 commencement ceremony, written by Aleen Anderson and Violet Jane Bagley; a short story by Virginia Oakey; and an uncredited poem.

Click on the image to enlarge it in your browser window. I will also transcribe the text from Olive Nelson's story about Banks and Canepa below the image (the better to capture the attention of search engines).

Two Prominent Members Lost to the Graduating Class
by Olive Nelson

The death of two of its members has twice caused the June graduating class to mourn the loss of a classmate and comrade. One was taken after a long illness which developed into pneumonia during the last few days; the other was taken shortly after an accident, while tumbling, in which his spine was injured. These two pupils, Freddie Lee Banks and Christopher Canepa, distinguished themselves especially in sports. They were known as good sports, always playing fair and always unselfish in allowing others to take their places. All their team mates enjoyed having them as part of the team. They worked industriously at their school work and have been missed greatly in their classes and other activities.

Freddie Lee Banks, home room 202, died Sunday afternoon, March 18, after a serious illness which had lasted approximately a month. The funeral was held Monday afternoon, March 19, in the Fitch-Lawrence funeral parlors. Central senior High school was closed from 12:30 to 1:10 Monday noon, as a tribute to Freddie Lee, a well-known and well-liked pupil.

Freddie Lee was a great athlete, having participated in girls' after-school sports during the three years that she attended Central. Miss Marguerite Shepard, physical education instructor, said this of her" "I think she was one of the best all-around athletes I have ever had in this school. Her sportsmanship was outstanding."

Along with sports Friddie Lee [sic] was well known because of her interest in music. She studied in the chorus class and was a member of the mixed chorus. She was talented as a pianist and had a promising voice.

The teachers who were well acquainted with her speak especially of her generosity, courtesy, kindliness, cheerfulness, and also her strength of character.

Christopher Canepa, better known as "Chris," died on May 4 after an injury contracted while he was tumbling and doing acrobatic stunts. The accident happened on the night of May 3.

"Chris" was an expert boxer, having participated in the boxing contests during both his senior and junior years. In the contests, held this year and only a short time before his death, he won the flyweight championship from other boxers at Central. Following this he competed at West and won the decision in that bout. He also conquered the Vocational flyweight contest.

During his first two years in Central Senior High school he was a manager if the football and basketball teams. He earned his letter "M" as a result of his work in this position.

With four of his brothers he competed in other towns in acrobatic contents which were sponsored by the Y.M.C.A. With his brother John he often gave acrobatic exhibitions at P.T.A. meetings. His four brothers, Phil, Toto, Tony, and John now find it necessary to change some of their routines and find themselves much handicapped by his absence.

Notes: I do not have copies of published newspaper obituaries for either of these students. Please contact me if you have one, so I may make a copy for the alumni obituary archives. Special thanks to Jan Aulik for providing a complete set of photocopies of the 1933 and 1934 Orange and Black yearbooks. Jan's mother, Laurene Meyer, was a member of the Madison Central High School Class of 1934.

Members of the Class of 1934: Part 1 (June Graduates: Surnames A-D)

This is the first of several posts listing the names of the members of the Madison Central High School Class of 1934. I have information about some of the people listed below, but hope that if you're reading this post and know something about one (or more) of these alumni, you'll contact me by leaving a comment or sending an e-mail.

Many members of this class are deceased, but I've discovered some clues to the whereabouts of a couple of nonagenarians who may still be with us.

Among the members of the Class of 1934 who graduated in June are Jay Ashbrook, who was stage manager for a production of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" that garnered praise from the playwright; Violet Jane Bagley, the niece of William T. Evjue, founder and editor of The Capital Times; Harvey Burr, a billboard advertising salesman whose story-telling skills merited a splendid staff-written obituary in The Seattle Times; E. Bowden Curtiss, publisher of the Darlington Republican Journal; and Dr. James L. Dean, one of the founders of the Dean Clinic in Madison.

In those instances where I have posted an obituary for someone in the alumni obituary archives, I've provided a link. However, I'm still missing many obituaries and would appreciate any contributions.

Isabelle Albers (1915-1995)
Married Alvin Sampson
Wayne Allemang
Michael Amato (1915-2000)
Aleen Anderson
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1938; married Ward Plater
Lucille Anding (1916-2006)
Married Michael Drozd
Lillian Armbrecht (1915-1982)
Married name Lucio
Jay (John B.) Ashbrook (1916-2002)
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1940; In April 1943, The Wisconsin Alumnus (Volume 44, Number 3) reported that, "Jay B. ASHBROOK was stage manager in the production of Noel Coward 's "Private Lives," given at the Queensbury Club in London, recently. It rated a front page Story in "The Stars and Stripes," the AEF paper published overseas, and Noel Coward, the great playwright himself, attended and said that of the many times he had seen the play Done, this was the nearest to the idea he had in mind when he wrote it. Ashbrook is now in officers candidate training at Duke University."; in 1968, Ashbrook was living in Buckingham, England and working in investment management (source: 1935 reunion book)
Roy Audini (1916-1994)
Violet Jane Bagley (1916-1992)
The niece of William T. Evjue, founder and editor of The Capital Times; married fellow Central Alumnus Frederick W. Miller (Class of 1930) in 1939
Miriam Baird
Married Frank Reibold
Phil Baker
Ruth Becker
Joe Beld
Helen Blazek
Married Oscar Richter
Ellen Bowes
Norman Braith
Frances Briggs
Dolores Buchanan (1915-2003)
Married John Whitmore
Harvey Burr (1916-1997)
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1939
Mary Butts
Married name Schultz
Agnes Cawley
William Cleveland
Jessie Cohen
Married Harry Render; living in Natanya, Israel in 1968
Kay Cohn
Mary Colletti (1915-1998)
Bernice Conohan
E. Bowden Curtiss (1916-2000)
Graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1939; became publisher of the Darlington (Wisconsin) Republican Journal
Joy Custer
Married Douglas Dakin; living in California in 1968
Crescence Daniels (1917-2004)
James L. Dean (1916-2001) - Class President
Attended the Annapolis Naval Academy and University of Pennsylvania Medical School; one of the founders of the Dean Clinic in Madison
Sue De Loreto (spelled Diloreto in 35th reunion book)
Arnold Derman
Listed as deceased in 35th reunion booklet
Katherine Diebold
Listed as deceased in 35th reunion booklet (name listed as Catherine Diebold Gutzmer)
Mildred Doyle
Robert Du Benske
Listed as deceased in 35th reunion booklet

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Remembering the co-captains of the 1954 Madison Central High School football team

Last April, I wrote a post about my visit to the open house at the Italian Workmen's Club on Regent Street, but I didn't have time or space to write about everything I saw and learned during my visit. As a historian, I was fascinated by all the clippings from local newspapers that were on display. Microfilm is better than nothing, but too often, the images it delivers are scratched and poorly focused. That's why I took a few photos of newspaper clippings, hoping the resultant images would be a bit easier to see, albeit far from perfect.

Below is a photo of one clipping that caught my attention: A captioned photo of the co-captains of the 1954 Madison Central High School football team:

Click on the above image to enlarge it in your browser window

The date on the clipping is Thursday, December 2, 1954. The name of the newspaper isn't available, but judging by the typeface, I suspect it's the Wisconsin State Journal.

Here's what the caption says: "The Bank of Madison held its first annual banquet for the Madison Central high school football team Wednesday night in the Belmont hotel, and Bob Gingrass, top center in the picture above, was the main speaker. Others in the picture, left to right, are Coach Harold Pollock, Co.-Capt. Dick Harris, Vice-Pres. Theodore Meloy of the Bank of Madison, Co.-Capt. and Most Valuable player, Louis Cassini."

Note: The link for Dick Harris (a.k.a. Richard A. Harris, Ph.D.) will take you to the first page of a three-page article about Harris from "The People's Stories of South Madison," posted on line as part of the State of Wisconsin Collection. Use the page arrows near the top of the screen to navigate through the collection and read Richard's entire story.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How girls at Madison Central High School could earn in athletic letter in 1928

During its 70-year history (1900-1969), the Tychoberahn tended to give more space to boys' athletics than girls' athletics, but that doesn't mean girls spent all their time on the sidelines cheering for the boys.

Girls could also win an "M" for athletics. In 1928, for instance, they could accumulate points toward a letter by participating in volleyball, basketball, tennis, baseball, or swimming. They could also earn points for participation in various dance programs, including interpretive dancing and clogging.

Below is a scan of a page from the 1928 Tychoberahn showing the letter wearers for that year. Unfortunately, the photo caption lists only surnames. If you can provide a first name for any of the girls in the photo, please send me an e-mail or leave a comment.

The girls are: Top Row: Christenson, Cohen, Rentz, Homberger, Danials, Murphy, Dean; Bottom Row: Butler, Statz, Nathenson, Hoffman, Wildeman, Reilly, Peterson, Hagen.

The wonderful photos on the page below (also from the 1928 Tychoberahn) don't have captions, but the descriptions of the clogging and interpretative dancing classes (and the costumes worn for each) are very informative. My guess would be that the top photo was taken in the girls' gym although I don't remember the windows shown on the left side of the photo). The interpretive dancing class photo was probably taken in the auditorium (note the curtain in the background).

Double click on these images to enlarge them in your browser window if you want to reach the complete text.