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Leffler, Virginia E. (ed.) / Reflections from a warming house window


This project started nine years ago. One afternoon, I was reminiscing over an undated
photograph of my father, Leonard "Hans" Wagner, stoking the warming house stove, at Goose
Island. This photo, which had appeared in The Janesville Gazette, is one of the most treasured
pictures I have. In attempting to ascertain a date, I discovered that the Historical Society had
little, if any information or photos on the rink.
I placed an ad in the Gazette... "Looking for old newspapers from the '50s." One person
responded. He had a collection of many papers from very early 1900s on up, but nothing for the
'50s. I decided then to research the history and look for photos. A decision founded on
memories dear to my heart.
I drove to his place of business, which included antiques and assorted items, in Emerald
Grove. That trip led to several to bring home the large, bound volumes of papers. Countless
hours were spent, a page at a time, sometimes going through them twice, and microfilming all
the papers missing, so as not to miss anything printed on the rink. In between lay hours and
hours of research. I had the daunting task of reviewing each and every missing paper during the
skating seasons from 1920-1960. An average of 74 papers per season, 14-19 pages per paper, one
at a time. I have reviewed an estimated 50,000 pages plus throughout the course of this
endeaver. Along the way, the photo of my father stoking the stove was found, Feb. 3, 1951. A
copy of all articles and list of photos relating to the rink was compiled.
Many of the articles found have been re-typed. Microfilmed photos proved to be of inferior
quality. I then hired Dooley Photography. Through the expertise of Rick Chrsitensen, and
through the graciousness of the Historical Society allowing access to the papers, the majority of
photos for this project have been retaken from the originals. I wanted nothing but the best for
this book.
I placed another ad Jan. 20, 1995, for anyone willing to loan photos, so negatives and copies
could be made. Two wonderful people responded. Bob Schachtschneider had taken a great
photo, in 1947, of my father coming out of the first warming house, with an armful of wood. He
also loaned two others of him and his buddies standing by his 1935 Standard Chevy.
Esther Walhovd loaned four photo's of the '30s. She and a friend on the ice, workers scraping
snow off the ice, and one of a Model A Ford converted to a snow plow.
Bob Fulton loaned photos of ice hockey.. .1925, 1931, 1933, 1935.
The result of all this work and investment, both in time and money, is, "Reflections from a
Warming House Window." I hope you enjoy your reflection and reminiscing on that special
place. This truly has been a labor of love.
- Virgina E. Leffler

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