Did you go to see Santa at Manchester's? Leave a comment and share a Christmas season memory.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Did you go to see Santa at Manchester's? Leave a comment and share a Christmas season memory.
From the archives: "Things my father shared with me: a bit of Christmas magic on Madison's East Side"
Most Christmas magic can't be captured on film or a computer chip, but sometimes an image can help to evoke a memory, or send someone else on a quest to experience the magic in person.
The above photo is of a house on the 2500 block of Upham Street on Madison's East Side. My father introduced me to this glowing work of art, so I know it's been a part of my Christmas celebration for more than a decade. The first time I saw this house, my father was my guide, the man behind the wheel who wanted to share his discovery. When he could no longer drive, I drove and we continued to enjoy this extravaganza together every year. After he died, driving past the house on Upham Street became an annual ritual, a way to remember my father, a way to be with him in spirit during the Christmas season.
Some years I've been able to introduce friends to the house on Upham Street, sharing a bit of one of my Christmas traditions with them. But even when everyone else was too busy to go for a ride, I've made a trip across town to make certain the Christmas lights were still aglow.
And as often as possible, I try to park a block or so away from the house on Upham Street, and take a walk to see what can't be shown in a single photo. What really makes the decorations on this house special is that the lights cover and illuminate the entire house: front, back, sides, and backyard. I've peeked around corners and craned my neck to catch a glimpse of as many lights as possible, but ever the obedient daughter, I follow my father's instructions and stay on the sidewalk: I don't go too close, I don't trespass, I don't ring the doorbell. I don't want to break the spell. I want the magic to endure year after year after year.
Note: You may also find fellow alumnus Madison Guy's blog post, "Helping the University Avenue Holiday Lights become a permanent institution," worth a visit. And while you're there, check out his extraordinarily beautiful photograph looking down State Street from the steps of the State Capitol.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
All six Madison Central High School blog templates have been updated; plus how you can contribute to this ongoing project
This blog was only intended to involve a short-term commitment of time – from the summer of 2005 until the Class of 1965's 40th reunion in October 2005. Instead, it's become a long term project and has acquired five siblings: one for the history of Madison Central High School, one for obituaries of alumni who died after 1990, one for obituaries of alumni who died prior to 1990, one for faculty and administrator obituaries, and one for alumni news and reunion announcements.
Unless you've used some of the links post texts or in the sidebar, you may not have even been aware that there were other Central blogs – especially since most Class of 1965 obituaries are posted on this blog, as are many teacher obituaries.
In the past several weeks, I've upgraded and customized the templates for all six CHS blogs in order to make them easier to navigate, as well as encourage people to take a look at their contents. In the sidebar to the right of this post, you'll find a list of the other blogs that includes a brief excerpt from the latest post. I hope you'll be curious enough to visit some of them. Among recent posts on some of the other blogs are the following: an obituary for an obituary for James Dalbec, Class of 1966; an obituary for Dr. Frederic E. Mohs, Class of 1927, renowned for his work in cancer surgery (post-dated to reflect the original publication date); an obituary for Alfred Patek, Class of 1876, a newspaperman who staked his reputation on a hunch about the Titanic disaster – and won.
On the history blog there two recent posts listing the names (and occasional biographic information) of the members of the Class of 1907, a class that included Gladys Owen, who married legendary University of Wisconsin economics professor "Wild Bill" Kiekhofer; Alfred Buser, captain of the undefeated 1912 UW football team,; and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Timothy Brown. The alumni and reunion blog features information about the upcoming Class of 1964 reunion.
Other new features include links on the history blog to complete editions of the 1935 and 1937 Orange & Black yearbooks (the name for the Tychoberahn during the 1930s), as well as to the complete archives for The Madison Mirror. Several of the blogs also feature highlights from (and links to) the CHS Alumni Flickr account.
Contributions welcome (and encouraged)
And speaking of that Flickr account, if you enjoy reading these blogs and checking out the photographs, perhaps you'll consider making a donation to the cause. The Alumni Flickr account is at capacity (200 images) right now. A donation of $25 would allow me to upgrade that account to "Pro" status for a year; this allows unlimited images to be uploaded and visible. Donations also help support expenses such as the server space I'm beginning to use to upload and make available PDF files, and the cost of making copies of obituaries, graduation lists, and other CHS-related stories on microfilm.
In addition to cash donations, I'm always eager to accept donations of Madison Central High School yearbooks from 1900-1969. Most are called Tychoberahn, but during the 1930s and 1940s, the yearbooks were also called Orange & Black and The Mirror. I'm also interested in paper ephemera (graduation programs, photographs, reunion lists). Eventually, all of this material will be archived in a local library.
If you have copies of alumni obituaries that do not yet appear in the more than 600 I've posted thus far, I'd appreciate copies. I'm also interested in any tips about alumni in the news. And if you want to be a guest blogger, I'm certainly interested in that, too.
If you're willing to contribute in any way – cash, yearbooks, paper ephemera, photographs, blog posts, send me an e-mail. If you want to talk, include a telephone number and I'll get back to you in a timely manner.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
According to an article by Lisa Schuetz, published in the Wisconsin State Journal on July 20, 2004 (a few days after the fire):
Josie's [was] a longstanding neighborhood fixture and the last restaurant of any kind on the corner of Park and Regent streets, an area nicknamed Spaghetti Corners by Truax Field servicemen in the 1940s.
The building originally held Jimmie's (Puccio) Spaghetti House. It's neighbors were DiSalvo's Spaghetti House, Bunky's (Capadona), The Roman Inn (Ciulla), and Tiny's (Quartuccio) Lunch, according to Catherine Tripalin Murray's foreword in "A Taste of Memories from the Old Bush" cookbook.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
When I saw Bonnie Hocking at the 2006 All-Central reunion in 2006, I was surprised. Until then, I hadn't realized that she was a Central alumna (Class of 1956). She was, however, a familiar face: I'd seen her many times over the years when I dined at Ella's Deli on State Street.
Ellas Hirschfeld opened Ella's Kosher Deli and Ice Cream Parlor at 425 State Street in July 1963. Bonnie told me she was there from beginning to end. For many years, she worked as a waitress. In the early 1990s, she and her husband Gordy bought the business from Nate Balkin, who had purchased the deli from Ella in 1967 when she left Madison.
In 1999, Bonnie and Gordy sold the business. Today, the site is home to Hawk's Bar & Grill.
If you want to read more about Bonnie, I've posted her obituary in the Madison Central High School obituary archives.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Last Monday, I added one for Lee M. Wagner. I'm not certain what class he was in, but I believe he was a year ahead of us. I do recall that he was blond and handsome (and that I wasn't the only girl in the seventh grade that thought so...).
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
Tonight, I added a new post about banister-sliding to the Madison Central High School History Blog. There also is a link to the entire history blog in the right hand column (under the donate button). The history blog now has more than 100 posts, so be sure to look for earlier posts while you're there. You can access all of them using the pull-down "Archives" menu near the bottom of the right had column (just above the Flicker images).
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Madison Central Class of '66 alumna in today's New York Times: “Hef was nice,” Ms. DiSalvo said, “but I never really found him to be a very sexy man.”
Even before I read the article about the Playboy Bunny reunion in today's edition of The New York Times, I recognized the tall woman in the center of the photograph as Monsine DiSalvo (Class of 1966). The quote in the header for this post is from the article. If you'd like to read the entire article, either pick up a copy of the newspaper, or use this link (or this link) to the online edition.
Note: You may be required to register with The New York Times in order to read the article online.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I also regularly add obituaries to the Central Alumni Obituary Blog. You may wish to check it periodically for notices about alumni from other classes. If I add any obituaries from the Class of 1965, I'll post a notice here.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The Dane County Historical Society put The Madison Mirror online -- but they forgot to tell most of us about it
On June 6, 2008, Dane101 included that post in its Breakfast Links -- and, I think not coincidentally, I received the following email message from the president of the DCHS:
Good morning Nadine,
I saw your blog post in which you mentioned our upcoming program on "I Remember Central". I apologize that we didn't get information out to you. We have a very limited pool of volunteers and so we were not able to do as much publicity for the event as we would have liked to. An announcement did go to the major media in the area, so hopefully many of your readers will have seen it anyway, in time to plan to attend.
Soon after the meeting, we hope to have our web page index to The Madison Mirror up and running. We will let you know when that is available. We would like to be able to link back to your blog page from that page as well.
Thanks for your interest. I will be back in touch when the final index is available.
Mary Clark, president
Dane County Historical Society
There's been no follow-up from anyone at DCHS since then. However, I have discovered that The Madison Mirror is indeed online, as have several other Central alumni, who've encouraged me to post some links to it. So that's what I'm going to do, even though the DCHS hasn't linked back here (or to the Central History Blogs). They have added links to a some, but not all, of the Flickr photo collections you can access from this blog (and the other related blogs).
Before you click on over to the DCHS site to view the online versions of The Madison Mirror, a few words of advice/wisdom/caution:
(1) The link in the middle of the "I Remember Madison Central High" page for title "Read The Madison Mirror" doesn't work; use the one in the sidebar ("View The Madison Mirror") instead.
(2) When you click on the "View The Madison Mirror" link, you'll reach a 32-page PDF document with a list of links to the issues of The Madison Mirror in chronological order. This means you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. Most people do, but if you don't have it, you'll have to install it. Use this link to Adobe for a free download (and uncheck the box for the free eBay Desktop before you start to save space on your hard drive).
(3) BE VERY CAREFUL: Many of the PDF files for individual issues of The Madison Mirror are HUGE. I've found some that are 12 MG. If you're still using a dial-up connect, you probably don't want to try to access any of these PDFs because it will take too long to open them. Even if you have a high-speed connection, you may find that you're unable to open some issues because of the size. Trying to do so may tie up your browser. Note: It's not just me (and I have DSL). Some other alumni have also been trying to open issues of particular interest to them and reported to me that they couldn't.
One more observation -- and then I'm going out for a walk. Since the DCHS invites you to submit your memories, I want to remind all Central alumni that your contributions to this family of Madison Central High School blogs have always been welcomed. A few of you have sent posts, letters, and photographs. Many of you have left terrific comments filled with fascinating memories and observations. I'd love to have more -- but I've learned in the past several years that most of you prefer to read rather than write -- and that's fine with me. Just remember to check back once in a while to see what's new and visit the other blogs focusing on Central History and archiving alumni obituaries. You'll find links to all of them in the right hand column.
Update (11/24/2008): The DCHS website now has a link to the Madison Central High School History blog, as well as to the Central Alumni and Class of 1966 Flickr photostreams.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Before you start squawking about the "misleading" header for this post, let me remind you that an alumnus or alumna is someone who attended a school, not necessarily a graduate. That's why Madison [Central] High School can claim Frank Lloyd Wright and Georgia O'Keeffe as alumni, even though Wright dropped out (and never graduated) and O'Keeffe transferred to another school after her sophomore year.
So yes, Clarke Caywood is a Central alumnus. He attended Central in ninth grade and was a member of the junior high football, basketball, and track teams. The following year, he joined the Shorewood School defectors and transferred to West, where he graduated in 1965.
Now back to the news: Clarke, who is now on the faculty at Northwestern University in Evanston, carried the torch on June 10, 2008 as part of the torch relay in Lijiang, China. Clarke, who has also been a visiting lecturer at several Chinese universities, was invited to be a torchbearer by Samsung Corporation.
"I'm not an athlete, but I am very honored to be part of the Olympic cause and history," Clarke told a reporter for the Northwestern University News and Information Service.
According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Clarke "ran about 43 meters, short of the 200 he had expected to run."
"At one point they were talking about running on cobblestone streets, and I thought, 'Oh great, I'll be the guy who falls,'" Clarke told Tribune reporter Jodi S. Cohen.
The relay has been marked by protests over China's human rights record and by pro-Tibet demonstrations. If you're interested in reading how Clarke responded to the protests, read Cohen's article.
For additional information, check out these links:
Northwestern University press release: "Professor Carries Torch for the China Olympics" (and see if you can spot the spelling error!)
His UW-Madison School of Business alumni profile
See him talking about his work at Northwestern on the video that's part of his faculty profile
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
While I was out walking tonight, a car pulled over to the curb and someone tried to catch my attention: It was Ralph and Linda Guerin -- so of course, I asked him why he hadn't responded to my email about having a reunion committee meeting.
Ralph said he's retired and no longer has e-mail, but he was easily persuaded to assume responsibility for contacting reunion committee members and convening a meeting. I'd already heard from Craig and Jane. Craig said he was willing to meet most anywhere. Jane wanted to meet at the usual place -- Fyfe's on East Washington Avenue -- but it's closed. I told Ralph that as I was walking I'd been thinking about meeting places and it occurred to me that Papa Phil's on Monroe Street might be an idea worth considering: It's owned by Phil Clemente (Class of 1960) and while I've never been there, I've heard reports from other alumni that the good is good.
Since Ralph is going to contact committee members the old-fashioned way -- by telephone -- he should be able to reach Cathy and Tom, whose e-mails bounced back because the addresses were out of date, and John, whose e-mail didn't bounce back, but who hasn't replied either.
The reason for the meeting would be to set the date for the 45th reunion in 2010. At the 40th reunion there was a consensus that the 45th should be the first weekend in October after the World Dairy Expo that there wasn't a Badger home football game at Camp Randall. By my reading of the schedules, that means the weekend of October 22-24, 2010, but we need to meet to make it official.
If you've been yearning to help plan the next Class of 1965 reunion and you're willing to attend a couple of meetings over the next two years, send me an e-mail or drop me a postcard and we'll be glad to have you join us.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
The Dane County Historical Society presents "I Remember Central High School!!" -- but they forgot to tell most of us about it
Maybe they'll head down the the Memorial Union Terrace to soak up some sun and enjoy the Isthmus Jazz Festival, mosey over to Yahara Park to participate in the Marquette Waterfront Festival, enjoy the music at the Brooklyn Bluegrass Festival, or visit the Henry Vilas Zoo.
Maybe a few of them will drop by the downtown campus of MATC to attend the Dane County Historical Society's program featuring a couple of Madison Central High School alumni -- if, that is, they even know about the event described in the flyer shown below:
I discovered this flyer by accident on Monday: I was at the Stoughton Public Library doing some research and just happened to see the flyer on a bulletin board next to the photocopy machine. Naturally, I made a photocopy, which I scanned and transformed into a format I could post here. I just wish the Dane County Historical Society did a better job of publicizing events such as this one. If they'd sent me a copy of this flyer when it was first issued, I would have posted it then. Now, it's a little bit late for most people to include this event in their plans for Saturday.
If you read the fine print at the bottom of the flyer, you'll learn that there's a potentially interesting development afoot. I'd like to be able to provide more details about this development, but I won't be able to attend the event. Saturday is my birthday and I have other plans.
I will, however, attempt to find out more about the digitization of The Mirror and post a report here when I have more information.
This is the first obituary for a member of our class that does not "reside" in this blog. When you click on the link, you will be taken to an archive that now contains more than 500 obituaries for Central alumni who've died since 1990. I read the Madison obituaries almost every day and update this archive whenever necessary. If you want to explore it further, use the search box in the upper left hand corner of the blog, or use the tags indicating class year at the bottom of a post to find other members of that class.
With the exception of James Schmitz, all other Class of 1965 obituaries still "reside" in this blog, since it was the first one I created. I will gradually be moving them to the other blog to make it more comprehensive, but you will continue to find a list on this page (just the links will change).
My thanks to Jane Wadsworth Blandino for bringing this obituary to my attention. There was also a James Schmitz in the Class of 1963, so I had originally mis-labeled this obituary. However, today I called the funeral home and confirmed that the man described in this obituary is indeed James David Schmitz, a member of our class.
Monday, March 31, 2008
The Spring 2008 issue of the Wisconsin Alumni Association magazine, On Wisconsin, has a feature story about Tracy Nelson (Class of 1963). The text of the article is available on the WAA website; however, the photographs accompanying the story are not online. I've reproduced the title page of the article, but if you want to see the other photographs of Tracy, you'll need to find a copy of the magazine -- or hope that one day I'll be able to afford to maintain a server where I can upload PDF files.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
On Tuesday, March 25, 2008 Joe will be one of several people with Central High School connections participating in a Greenbush Day celebration from 4 p.m. utnil 6 p.m. at the UW-Madison Welcome Center at 41 N. Park Street. The celebration is free and open to the public and features "light refreshments" for those who attend.
From 4:20 p.m until 4:40 p.m. Cerniglia will be one of five people participating is a program titled "Stories from the Old Bush." The other participants include 92-year old Anne Bruno, mother of Joann Bruno (Class of 1962) and actor-producer Michael Bruno (who went to Edgewood); former City Council member Mike Shivers; Marshall Shapiro (a.k.a. Marshall the Marshall), son of Sarah Sweet Shapiro (Class of 1931); and Bill McDonald (Class of 1950). After a mere 20 minutes, these venerable storytellers will be ushered off stage so that UW Provost Patrick Farrell can extend his greetings to anyone who cares to listen.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
On Sunday, May 4, 2008 Russ Loniello (Class of 1965) is headlining a variety show at the Madison Marriott and he'd like to see lots of his fellow Madison Central High School alumni in the audience. If you're interested in seeing Russ perform, however, you need to make reservations by
**Update (3/31/2008): Russ sent an e-mail saying that the reservation deadline has been extended to April 17, 2008.
**Update (6/23/2008): Russ sent an e-mail saying the show has been postponed indefinitely. Please do not call him since no further details are available at this time.
For more information about The Russ Loniello Show, visit the show's website.
And if you want to see a sample of Russ's performance, check out this YouTube video with excerpts from a show he did in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina:
Friday, February 22, 2008
Note: The photo of Phil used with this post was taken in the summer of 2006 at Festa Italia.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Whenever I know the someone's class year, I put it in the header and I include a tag/label at the end of the post. If you click on a tag, it will bring up all the other posts with that tag. Right now, the most common tag on alumni obituaries is "Class year needed." If you read an obituary that carries this tag and you are able to provide information about that person's class year, please contact me so that I can update the post.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Will Elmendorft (Class of 1967) braved sub-zero temperatures to attend the All-Central Reunion -- and took lots of photographs
It wasn't snowing on Sunday, but the roads were icy and the temperatures were below zero. Nonetheless, a surprising number of Madison Central High School alumni left home and headed to the VFW on Lakeside Street to attend the 2008 All-Central Reunion. I wasn't among those who braved the elements, but Will Elmendorf (Class of 1967) was -- and he was accompanied by his camera.
Yesterday, Will e-mailed me more than two dozen photographs from the All-Central Reunion -- and told me there would be more. I've posted the first batch of Will's photographs to the Central Alumni Flickr photostream and created a special set for them. I hope you'll take a look at the photos in this set and then help with labeling them, so we know who's who and what graduating class counts them among its members. If you have a Flickr account, you can leave a comment or add a tag. If you still haven't set up a Flickr account, send me an e-mail with any information that needs to be added to a photo.
And if you, too, attended the reunion and took photos, I'll be glad to post them.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
Roger Boeker (Class of 1960) invites Central alumni to attend the Steak Night Fundraiser at the VFW on Friday
The menu includes salad bar, baked beans, rolls, choice of baked or au gratin potatoes, beverage, dessert -- and, of course! steak. If you order an 8 oz. Black Angus tenderloin, your dinner will cost $12. If you order a 12 oz. Black Angus t-bone steak, your dinner will cost $14.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday afternoon, I attended a Founders' Day celebration at Tripp Commons in the Memorial Union. Founders' Day celebrates the birthday of the University of Wisconsin on February 6, 1849. On that date, 159 years ago, the first University of Wisconsin classes were held in a building on Wisconsin Avenue that had previously housed the Madison Female Academy.
A few years later, in 1858, that building on Wisconsin Avenue was sold to the Madison School Board. It became the first permanent home to Madison [Central] High School. If you'd like to read more about this year's Founders' Day celebration and see a drawing of the Madison Female Academy building, check out this post on my "Something else to do..." blog.
There's also another "Central connection" to Founders' Day: Walter Frautschi, editor of the 1920 Tychoberahn, was president of the University of Wisconsin Class of 1924 and helped to organize the first Madison celebration of Founder's Day 84 years ago.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Friday, January 18, 2008
If you haven't stopped by my personal blog for a while, you may want to pay it a visit. Many of the posts on that blog are about Madison. Recently, for instance, I wrote about the changing face of Madison, focusing on all the high rise buildings that are being constructed in the campus area. I also wrote about the amazing Flickr photostream from the Library of Congress (no Madison photos there yet, but lots of other fascinating photographs).
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Researching and writing a page-one feature story for the Wisconsin State Journal about the restoration of the Central High School arch, was one of my most satisfying assignments in 2007. Trying to tell it in 1,500 words or less was a real challenge.
The State Journal has consistently been generous about giving me plenty of space for feature stories, but occasionally there isn't quite enough room on the page and some paragraphs have to be cut. Quotations from Central alumni Nils Olsen (Class of 1965) and Sidney Iwanter (Class of 1967) were omitted from the story published on October 31, 2007, as were a few other paragraphs, and two sidebars. For those of you who would like to read my original, uncut story, I'm going to post it here, along with the the two sidebars.
Later, I will post some material I had to cut from my story before I submitted it to the State Journal.
Restoring the Central High Arch (the uncut version)
A lone worker stood atop yellow scaffolding and began repairing the Central High arch on Wisconsin Avenue earlier this month. The sight brought sighs of relief from admirers of the arch, who noticed what seemed to be visible signs of structural disintegration this summer.
The arch is all that remains of the Cass Gilbert-designed Madison Central High School building torn down in 1986 to make room for a MATC parking lot. At that time, the arch was allowed to stand as a means of mollifying local preservationists, Central alumni, and the occasional fan of Gilbert, an architect whose works also include the Woolworth Building in New York City and the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
In 2002, a proposed development plan involving the Madison Children's Museum threatened the arch. It survived because the Museum found another home.
However, many Central alumni and preservationists worried the arch's increasingly fragile condition continued to pose a threat to its existence. Some, including Central alumnus Mark Pankow, tried unsuccessfully to organize a project committee to raise funds to pay for restoration of the arch or to move it to another location. Others feared that MATC, which owns the arch and the property on which it stands, was deliberately allowing the arch to disintegrate so it would eventually become unsafe and have to be torn down.
Now the worrying can cease and the conspiracy theories can be abandoned.
Jacob Arndt, the stonemason and sculptor who's doing the repair and restoration work, says continued worry about the condition of the arch is unnecessary – and not just because of what he's been doing for the past several weeks. "The arch is not delicate," he says. "It's robust and healthy: It just looks disheveled." Furthermore, says Arndt, owner of Northwestern Masonry & Stone in Lake Mills, "With regularly scheduled routine maintenance these masonry buildings last forever: My partner, Gayal Oglesbay, and I own one in France that was built in the 15th century."
Kelly Thompson, principal architect at Facility Engineering, Inc., the firm that sub-contracted the restoration work to Arndt, agrees. He says when his firm analyzed what work needed to be done on the arch for MATC, "We looked at it with our historic preservation glasses." The firm's assessment was that the structure was solid, not sinking, but needed to undergo routine maintenance.
Fred Brechlin, MATC Professional Services Manager-Facilities, says the current work being done on the Central High arch – including tuck pointing and making certain there are no loose bricks – is part of its regular 10-year maintenance program
"We're maintaining the arch," says Roger Price, MATC Vice President Infrastructure Services. "There's been no discussion about moving it."
One of the reasons the arch looked especially disheveled this summer was because white streaks were appearing on the stonework, particularly at the top of the arch. Arndt says the white streaks are salt deposits created by moisture leaking from the roof and pulling salts from the Portland cement used in the building. When the moisture evaporates, it deposits the salts on stonework.
Arndt says the maintenance work he's doing will solve this problem by replacing the roofing material – currently a rubber membrane – atop the arch. He originally planned to use leaded copper and masonry, but Thompson says there are some concerns about copper discoloration of the bricks and stone, so he and Arndt are discussing alternatives before making a final decision.
The rubber membrane was a cheap and quick way for taking care of the problem for a few years, says Arndt. However, Douglas Maki, CEI, Asset Manager for Facility Engineering, says "Nowadays we would never specify using it, but for its time the skin was a pretty decent way to protect the roof."
Arndt, who has created stonework and sculpture for the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul (another building designed by Cass Gilbert) and the British Museum in London, says he was eager to work on the restoration of the Central High arch because, "We didn't want to see them tear it down because you don't see this kind of exquisite fabrication any more." He notes that the heads and faces on the arch are "excellent, world-class sculpture."
But are the quality of the workmanship and the reputation of the architect enough to justify the continued existence of the arch? Five years ago, when it seemed likely the arch would have to come down to make way for a museum, City of Madison preservation planner Kitty Rankin told Isthmus reporter Melanie Conklin, "The only thing historic about the arch is that is used to be attached to a historic building."
Since then, Rankin has changed her mind about the arch. "I don't believe that any more," she says when asked about the comment she made in 2002. It was telephone calls from Central alumni responding to her comment that persuaded her to reassess her original opinion. "For a lot of people who grew up in the Bush, much of their neighborhood is gone," she says. "The arch is a reminder of their youth and a monument cherished by a lot of people."
Central alumni from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s agree with Rankin that the arch is a reminder of their youth, but also believe it is historically significant not because it was designed by a pioneering architect, but because it represents both a bygone era in Madison history and a very unique institution.
"The Central High arch is the last remaining, nostalgic sign of where I went to school," says Joan Severa (Class of 1943), retired Curator of Costume & Textiles for the Wisconsin Historical Society. She recalls that, "We took a lot of ribbing from kids at other schools because it was popular to be prejudiced and Central had so many Jews, Italians, and Blacks." Like alumni from at least three decades, she still remembers the way students from other schools substituted ethnic and racial slurs for some of the lyrics of Central's school song.
"The arch is a very valuable piece of history to me," says Donald Gothard (Class of 1953), a retired electrical engineer who now lives in Michigan. One of the first Black electrical engineers to graduate from Notre Dame, Gothard worked on the guidance and navigation systems for the Apollo Lunar Landing Mission. During his senior year at Central, he served as student council president and remembers, "At that time Central was a very diverse school, but we were all working together harmoniously, not like East and West."
Nils Olsen (Class of 1965), Dean and Professor of Law at the University at Buffalo Law School in New York, says, "The arch is a very nice monument to what was a very special place – a school that was small, diverse, and provided a great education." Furthermore, he adds, "Central was an important institution in the city and it is only appropriate to have some testament to where it was."
Sidney Iwanter (Class of 1967), an independent producer who lived in the Greenbush neighborhood and now lives in Los Angeles, says, "The arch is evocative of a portion of Madison that no longer exists except on microfiche. If you've moved to Madison recently and you walk down West Washington Avenue, you wouldn't know that this was once a ghetto for Jews, Blacks, and Italians." What makes the arch important, says Iwanter, is that, "It is a monument to a school that helped produce the American Dream for so many parents in Greenbush by serving as a feeder school to the University of Wisconsin."
Judy Karofsky, a longtime Downtown Madison resident and activist, who not a Central alumna, says it was "pathetic" to save such a small piece of the Central High School Building, but she's glad the arch survived. "At the beginning, it may have seemed frivolous, but the importance of the arch has increased over time," she observes.
"The presence, size and elevation of the arch influences people as they walk by" says Arndt. "Beautiful architecture inspires a sense of worth that's not there in today's fabricated buildings."
But if there seems to be a broad consensus that the Central High arch is something that should be maintained and preserved, why has it taken so long for routine maintenance to be performed? Terry Gulmire, who recently retired after 15 years as MATC's facility director, says a 1999 exterior repair cost estimate for the Central High arch prepared by Angus-Young Associates, Inc. was $152,000. Repair of the arch was one of four projects MATC was considering and the high cost could not be justified, says Gulmire, because at that time the arch was deemed to have little historic significance.
The cost of the current maintenance work on the arch is $18,500, says Brechlin.
"One of the things we specialize in is historic structures," says Maki. "They (MATC) have their priorities in place. The arch was up in the air. We provided a second opinion."
Sidebar: A brief history of Madison Central High School
1858: School Board purchases the
1873: North wing of the "old building" replaces the academy
1877-78: South wind if the "old building" erected; "old building is occupied until 1906
1906-1908 – "Two years of wandering" (high school classes held in various buildings in Downtown Madison)
1908 – The new, Cass Gilbert-designed building built on the site of the "old building" opens its doors
1969: Last class graduates from
Sidebar: Notable Central High School Alumni
Georgia O'Keeffe (attended 1902-1903) – Artist
Margaret H'Doubler (1906) - Credited with establishing, in 1926, the first dance education program at a
Timothy Brown (1907) – Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice from 1949-1964 (Chief Justice 1962-1964)
Alfred Buser (1907) – Captain of the undefeated 1912 University of
John Hasbrouk van Vleck (1913) – Nobel Prize-winner in Physics
Wayne Lyman Morse (1919) – U.S. Senator from
Walter Frautschi (1920) –
John Bardeen (Class of 1923) – Only person to win the Nobel Prize for Physics twice
Edward Withers (1947) – All American defensive football player at the
Tracy Nelson (1963) – Blues and country singer
Notes: The links in the above text did not appear in my original copy, but were added for this post. My original copy had an error, which I have corrected here. Both my original copy and the story published in the Wisconsin State Journal stated that Donald Gothard graduated in 1953. He did not: He graduated in 1952. A sharp-eyed alumnus caught the error and contacted the newspaper, which subsequently printed a correction. This post also appears on the Madison Central High School History blog.