Janesville's Beauty Contest Winner in 1921

"The Big Winners in the $20,200 Beauty Contest"

--The Chicago Tribune, June 5, 1921, B6.

A patron asked for help finding information about Marie Scarcliff, of Janesville, who won a beauty contest in 1921. The contest was sponsored by The Chicago Tribune. Marie went on to compete in the Mid-western states contest, but lost out to Miss Indiana, who won the $10,000.00 grand prize - worth about $120,000.00 today.

Librarians searched the online NewspaperArchive, available on our Research Databases web page, and found several articles from The Janesville Gazette in 1921. This database is invaluable when seeking older articles from the Janesville newspapers. While the library has microfilm of every issue since the 1800's, there is no published index. Unless you have a date or at least month and year, it can be daunting.

NewspaperArchive provides an index. However, not every article from every issue is included online.

An article from Monday, June 6, 1921, explained that a 'new and beautiful picture of Miss Scarcliff was published in the Tribune....Sunday, along with photos of the other five prize-winners. Miss Scarcliff was awarded the ...prize for Wisconsin several weeks ago'.

Another HPL librarian found the citation to the article online, and we requested a copy through InterLibrary Loan, a free service to Arrowhead Library System patrons. We received the Chicago Tribune microfilm from 1921, and with our digital reader, scanned and uploaded the photos here:

"Miss Marie Scarcliff, 164 South Franklin street, Janesville, Wis. Home Girl, 21 - Awarded the $1,000 prize for Wisconsin."

(equal to $12,000.00 today)

(click photo to enlarge)

Miss Hackett, of Indiana, is in the top left photo (profile) below. Marie is in the group photo across the top of the page below, (first girl on the left), with her portrait below that.

Here's the second page of the article:

(click photo to enlarge)

And, a later Gazette article dated July 2, 1921, revealed that "Marie Scarcliff Has Thrilling Hour With Auto Bandits". While traveling with friends in Kansas City, MO, she had a "thrilling experience with hold-ups.....who stopped the car, a Marmon sudan, and stripped it of tires, search-light, glass wings and other equipment."

We learned Marie survived this and lived a long life. Our patron's uncle was the photographer who took Marie's picture. We found his name in our online city directory for 1921: "James McCartney, photographer", located on Milwaukee Street.
This morning our patron came in and explained that she met Marie in Hartford, Wisconsin, in the late 1970's and visited about her experiences. The patron brought in a large, framed portrait she found in her mother's home - of Marie, taken by Mr. McCartney. Our graphic artist took a photo of the framed print - isn't it lovely!
You can see 'McCartney' in the lower right corner.

Another example of how the more we learn, the more we add to Janesville and Rock County's history - @ your library!
Keep your library's Reference librarians in mind for help with your local history questions!

--posted 12/17/2010 by sb

"Camp Janesville" - World War II POW's Lived Here

A 'Sound Off' entry in today's Janesville Gazette (November 10, 2010 p. 6A) asks about German POWs in Janesville during World War II. According to the Local History Database on Hedberg Public Library's web site, 'Camp Janesville' opened at the corner of Western Avenue (Rockport Road) and Crosby when 250 German prisoners were brought here to help with the canning industry. Assisting them were "high school students, Jamaicians, Barbadians, Mexicans, soldiers from Truax field and full time war workers who work short shifts in order to help with the harvest."

Betty Cowley's book, Stalag Wisconsin: Inside WWII Prisoner-of-War Camps, includes a chapter about Camp Janesville, with recollections of people who lived in the area at the time.

Included are memories of Mary Lee, wife of Captain Hugh Lee, Camp Commander in the summer of 1944. They lived in a mobile home beside the camp.

Cowley's book includes over 30 Wisconsin POW camps, from Antigo to Wisconsin Rapids. Rock County public libraries have copies available to loan. Her book includes an extensive list of primary source material about Camp Janesville. Librarians at Hedberg's Reference Desk can assist you.

We found this article, describing the closing of the camp, using our research database NewspaperArchive. This is free online through our Research Databases page with your Hedberg Public Library card.

"Camp Janesville Closes Monday"

--The Janesville Daily Gazette
October 26, 1945

(click several times to enlarge)

This article explains that POW's were paid 55 cents per hour for their labor. Prisoners were allowed to keep 80 cents per day for their spending money.

Note the headline to the right of the Camp Janesville article ,about the safe return of four solders from the 192nd Tank Company:

Contact the Reference Desk for more information: 608-758-6581 or referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org

--posted by sb

Janesville's City Hall Buildings: 1902 & 1968

In the fall of 1901, city officials laid the cornerstone of a three-story, 66 x 94 foot building, located at the southeast corner of North Jackson and Wall Streets. The E.A. Rush Company, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, designed the building. Initial cost was to be $44,000, but the final cost was $64,000. New furniture and fixtures pushed the total cost to almost $80,000. An old stone barn on the site was retained for city-owned horses.

--source: City on the Rock River: Chapters in Janesville's History

The city replaced the old building with the new Janesville Municipal Building in 1968.

This new building was constructed right behind the old City Hall.

Old City Hall was then demolished for a wide piazza fronting the new building.

This article from The Janesville Gazette on August 2, 1968, page 2a, includes a detailed history.

(click several times to enlarge as needed)

--posted by sb

Rambeau Field

What do reference Librarians do when a question comes to us that seems impossible? We try anyway!

Joan Clark*, a former Janesville resident visiting from Arizona, asked whether we could help her find a photo of herself and her husband, Lefty*, that had been printed in the Janesville Gazette sometime in the 1990s. The only thing she remembered about the image was that the two of them had been photographed in their winter hats outside a tavern called, perhaps, the Blue Moon. The photo meant a lot to her and her husband because the original, once in their daughter's possession, had burned in a house fire.

What are our methods when trying to track down something as difficult to find as this? The Hedberg Public Library has many sources for finding local information. HPL has the Janesville Gazette back to when the paper was started in 1845. So we knew if we could verify the date and location of the photograph, we could get a copy of the photo. First, we checked our own Local History Database--an index to many books, photos, newspaper articles, and pamphlet materials about Janesville and Rock County. Nothing there. Next, we checked city directories and old phone books to see if there was a Blue Moon Tavern in Janesville. Again, no luck.

Questions that one staff member can't answer are written out and left at the reference desk for other staff members to work on. One librarian remembered that there was a Silver Moon tavern on Highway 14 back in the mid-1990s. This librarian phoned the Clarks who verified that the photo was taken at the Silver Moon Tavern! Sometimes we need the memory of staff members to get the question on the right track!

A mere year date is not going to yield useful results -somehow the date needed to be narrowed down. Next, a search was done on the Internet that included the search terms "Silver Moon Delavan." This search yielded contact information for Glenn Davis*, former owner of the tavern. The librarian emailed Glenn about the photo. He remembered that the photo was possibly taken during a Green Bay Packer Super Bowl event at the tavern. This was enough information to jog the Clarks' memories; they verified that it was a Packer Super Bowl game that had drawn them to the Silver Moon.

Staff found the dates of the two Green Bay Packer Super Bowls in the 1990s -- January 26, 1997 and January 25, 1998. So we now had likely dates for the photo.

Another librarian checked the newspaper microfilm for the day after the 1997 Super Bowl, which was Monday January 27, 1997. There, on the front page of the paper, was the very picture we had been seeking: Joan and Lefty Clark in their winter hats sitting in the "cold section" of the bleachers set up at "Rambeau Field" outside the Silver Moon Tavern!

HPL has the technology to take that image from the microfilm, put it on a flash drive, and email the image as an attachment. The Clarks preferred to have copies of the microfilm images printed and sent to them in Arizona by mail. Both the Clarks and the librarians, all of whom thought that finding this photo was truly a long shot, were thrilled.

Sometimes it takes the teamwork of a number of reference librarians, pooling their knowledge, memories, and skills, to answer a single - apparently impossible - question!

--posted by DM/LG/KH (*names used with permission)

Starr & Lombardi: Packer Legends Visited Janesville

On August 4, 1956, Bart Starr threw his first professional touchdown pass right here in Janesville, Wisconsin, at Monterey Stadium in an exhibition game. Read all about it in the Monday, August 6, 1956 edition (there was no Sunday paper at the time). We scanned this from our microfilm collection.

In this photo, Coach Lisle Blackbourn is pictured with Rev. G. E. Carlton from St. John Vianney Catholic Church, along with Packer players Billy Bookout and Howie Ferguson. Vince Lombardi was not hired as coach until February 4, 1959.

Click once or twice to enlarge

Bart Starr's return to Monterey Stadium on October 15, 2010 to dedicate a plaque is explained in the September 21 issue of the Janesville Gazette - read it now.

Vince Lombardi spoke in Janesville on February 25, 1969. An audio cd of this speech may be purchased at Videogenics, or borrowed from the library. Our local history pamphlet file for Vince Lombardi includes a note that Howard Gage, owner of Videogenics, recorded Lombardi's speech and recalled that the Master of Ceremonies for the event was Bob Rhodes, former editor of The Janesville Gazette. The library has a copy of the text of Lombardi's speech. While reading "Lombardi and Me" by Paul Hornung, library staff noticed an entry in the Table of Contents: 'Appendix B: Lombardi's Farewell Speech, Given February 26, 1969, in Janesville, Wisconsin'. The date of the speech is listed incorrectly. It was given on February 25, part of a 'Town Hall Series', at what is now the Janesville Performing Arts Center, in the former Marshall Middle School building next to the library.

Here's an excerpt:

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, Bob, for that wonderful introduction. Anytime I hear all of those things, in an introduction like that, I always can hardly wait to hear what I have to say. I am flattered of course to be invited here, to be one of your speakers in the town hall series. This is my first attempt at anything like this; usually I speak at after-dinner banquets, I mean after-dinner speaker at banquets and so forth and so on, but very seldom am I asked to appear in auditoriums, such as this, and in a town hall series. I want to say, however, that I am flattered to be asked, very much so. The last few weeks, as Bob said a little bit, have been very, very hectic for me. In fact I am somewhere on a cross, somewhere between a Baptist minister who bought a secondhand car and never had the vocabulary to run it and a football...a football coach who died and went to hell, and never noticed the transition....."

After his speech, Lombardi answered questions from the press.

We scanned The Janesville Gazette article from our microfilm of February 26, 1969, with the headline: "Lombardi Not Surprised by Jets' Super Bowl Win". This was the victory predicted by the brash Jets quarterback, Joe Namath.

At the time of the speech Lombardi was the new coach and part owner of the Washington Redskins. It was his last public speech in Wisconsin. Lombardi died on September 3, 1970.

--submitted by sb, 10/6/2010

"Layoffs Swamp Library"

This was the headline in the Janesville Gazette on April 30, 1980. Sharon Ebel, of the Gazette staff, wrote of the effects of layoffs at the General Motors and Dana Corporation plants in Janesville and Edgerton, respectively.

The two men in the 1980 photo are Guy Hinkle, left, and Scott Jordan on the right. Notice they are using a drawer from the library card catalog, a collection of index cards listing books by title, author or subject. This was before computer catalogs.

In 1980, Library Director Dan Bradbury said circulation skyrocketed in part due to area layoffs. More patrons - especially men - visited the library, and were observed reading to their children in the children's department.
Janesville Public Library in 1982

Books about automotive repair, home improvement, garden and landscaping, and career opportunity materials were popular. The first three months of 1980 saw a 15 percent increase in circulation compared to 1979. In 1980 the library's reference department received more requests for "8mm and 16mm movie projectors, which are circulated almost daily". There was no Internet, computer catalog, or VHS/DVD player in 1980.

"With many persons unable to take long vacations because of the energy and economy pinch, [the library] hopes to saturate library shelves with information describing Wisconsin tourist attractions." Other patrons requested information about job opportunities, pay scales, resumes and educational requirements in other fields.

In 2010 even more options for job-hunting are available @ your library:
  • Free computers to write a resume or search the Internet
  • A Job-Seekers lab held monthly - no registration required - for job-hunting help.
  • A Job Resource Center (JRC) located across from the library Reference Desk with books, magazines and reference material. Find help with choosing a career, returning to school, studying for an entrance exam, finding work or writing that resume. See also our online Job Resource Center - available 24/7!
Contact the library Reference Desk if you have questions or need assistance.

Helpful library staff are here to assist with your information needs - just as in 1980!

We're here for you.
--posted 9/20/2010 by sb

Judi Kneece and the Janesville Women's History Mural Dedication Ceremony, August 26, 2010

Thursday's ceremony outside the Rock County Courthouse was a wonderful tribute to the women of Janesville, who worked for the right to vote and established local institutions, including the first library and the first public hospital in the city. The mural project began as a way to honor the memory of community leader and former JATV station manager Judi Kneece, (photo) who passed away last year.

(Click to enlarge)

The Friends of Judi Kneece committee spearheaded this project, and in just 6 1/2 months developed a plan, selected the artist, secured funding and put the mural in place on the courthouse wall! The ceremony coincided with the 90th anniversary of the 19th Ammendment, giving women the right to vote. Elected officials and community leaders were there to dedicate the mural to Judi's memory. Judi, you are missed but will not be forgotten!

This reverse side of the flyer from the ceremony tells of the women in the mural:

Friends of Judi Kneece committee members wore purple in her honor. An article in The Janesville Gazette 8/26/10 explains the project.

Did you know that.....
Susan B. Anthony visited Janesville to promote women's rights?

Headlines in The Janesville Gazette dated September 26, 1887 declared that "Susan B. Anthony took occasion Saturday night to draw the Rev. T. DeWitt Peake over the coals....". Susan also 'spoke here on suffrage', according to the somewhat buried (page 11A!) headline in the March 12, 1889 issue of the Janesville Gazette. Search our Local History Database to learn more about women of Janesville's history. For assistance, contact the Hedberg Public Library Reference Librarians at 608-758-6581 or email us anytime.

--posted by sb on 8/30/2010

--includes excerpts from HPL's Weekly Windup

Do you know where Tommy James performed in Janesville in 1966?

"In February 1966, we found ourselves booked in another club in Janesville, Wisconsin. One day, in the middle of our first week, the club went bankrupt. When we showed up for work that night, the doors were chained and padlocked."

...Excerpt from "Me, the Mob, and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James & The Shondells"

Which club in Janesville went bankrupt?

The June 19, 2010 Janesville Gazette's "Asked & Answered" column by Catherine Idzerda asks if anybody knows what club James is referring to.

Hedberg Reference Librarians may have found the answer!

"Tedons A-Go-Go, the In Crowd Goes Where the Action Is", claims this ad found by searching the NewspaperArchive.org database, available under Research Tools on the library web site.

Tedons was located on Highway 51, between Janesville and Beloit.

The ad appeared on page 18 of The Janesville Daily Gazette on Friday, January 28, 1966.

Koachmen was the band's name *before* they were The Shondells, according to Tommy James' book.

We found no listing in the older city directories for Janesville and Beloit.

So...we checked our collection of older Janesville telephone books.

"Tedon's Night Club" is listed under 'Taverns' in the yellow pages of the 1965 Janesville Telephone directory:

A photograph of Tedon's has not been found.

Who was Gary Edwards, the other name in the Tedons ad?

Librarians found this article from the June 10, 1972 issue of Billboard Magazine on Googlebooks:

This article explains how Edwards was on the road for 12 years with the Koachmen and his act 'Gary Edwards & the Abominable Snowmen'. He produced records with Tommy James and Bob King. In 1972 Edwards lived in Niles, Michigan, home of the Koachmen before they became the Shondells.

If you have any information, let us know at 608-758-6581 or email us at referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org.

For more Janesville and Rock County history, visit our Local History page.

...and keep those questions coming! The more we learn from helping you, the more local history can be preserved for future generations!

posted by sb 8/15/2010

Janesville's First High School - Historic Marker Dedication July 4, 2010

Janesville's first high school opened to students in May 1859 and was located at Third (now Holmes) Street and Wisconsin in what is now Jefferson Park. A marker will be dedicated during a neighborhood ceremony at 9:30 am on Sunday, July 4 in Jefferson Park. When the 'new' high school opened in 1895, the old high school was renamed Jefferson School and served elementary grades until it was razed in 1947 to make way for the current neighborhood park.

This photo is in the book 'Art Work of Rock County' by W.H. Parish Publishing Co., copyright 1893.

View this book and more Rock County history online at Janesville's Past

This lithograph of the building appears in the 'Combination Atlas of Rock County' from 1873:

(Click image to enlarge)

Some Janesville School History:

May, 1859 High School opens - located at Third (now Holmes) and Wisconsin

1895 - 1922 Janesville High School located on High Street

1923-1955 Janesville High School located on Main Street

1955 New Janesville Senior High School opened on Randall Avenue

Main Street school became Marshall Junior High

1962 Franklin Junior High opened on Crosby Avenue

1967-1968 George S. Parker High School opened on Mineral Point Avenue

1967-1968 Janesville Senior High School renamed Joseph A. Craig High School

1971 Edison Junior High School opened on Chatham Street

1997 New Marshall Middle School opened on Pontiac Drive

The Janesville Schools Annual Report for the School Year Ending June 30, 1895, includes this description of the first Janesville High School, which opened in 1859. It describes the controversy surrounding the removal of remains from the old village cemetery prior to building the school. Click image to enlarge:

The story of the new school continues on the next page:

Learn more of Janesville's local history through Hedberg Public Library or contact the Reference Desk for assistance 608-758-6581 or referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org.

Posted 6/25/2010 by sb

"March Madness" from Janesville's Past

Basketball "March Madness" took center stage in Janesville, Wisconsin over the years....

On March 29, 1913, Janesville High School boys beat LaCrosse 38-24 to win the state basetball championship in Appleton.

On March 20, 1971, the Parker High School boys defeated Milwaukee Rufus King, 79-68, to win the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) state high school boys basketball championship.

Bob Morgan coached the '71 team, featuring two all-conference players, Bob Luchsinger Jr. and Dick Meier. Parker players set state records by hitting all 23 of their free throws and shot 62.2 percent on field goal attempts. All three are members of the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame.

You can view the commemorative booklet from that championship season in the Janesville Room at Hedberg Public Library, 316 S. Main Street, Janesville, Wisconsin.

According to the WIAA, 1971 was the last year of a single division in the state boys basketball tournament. The 1934 tournament was the first that was broken into divisions. In 1940, it went back to a single division. In 1972, it returned to a divisional format and has remained that way.

In 1993, Parker High School girls won the state championship after trying three times before. Tom Klawitter was the coach, and Jennah Burkholder was named tournament MVP.

Learn more about it at Hedberg Public Library!
Contact the Reference Desk for assistance at referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary.org or 608-758-6581.

Source: Century of Stories, George S. Parker High School yearbooks, 1971 commemorative booklet.

--posted by SB on 03/27/2010
GM & UAW: In Their Own Words: A collection of interviews with General Motors employees, union members and others involved in Janesville's manufacturing history.

Eugene Osmond is one of twelve interviews now available online. You can read or listen to his words as told over thirty years ago in Janesville!

Born in Janesville in 1908 and one of 14 children, Eugene worked for Janesville Sand and Gravel at age 13 before working 40 years at the Chevrolet plant. He participated in the 1937 sit-down strike and was one of the earliest members of the United Auto Workers and served as a trustee.

Others interviewed: Lou Adkins, Don Dooley, Ralph Hilkin, Harry Johnson, James (Jack) V. Johnson, Gerald Litney, Hugo Preuss, Glenn Swinbank, John Wesley Van Horn, and James Wells.

To read or listen to all interviews, visit the Hedberg Public Library web page: GM & UAW: In Their Own Words.

Contact a Reference Librarian by email referencedesk@hedbergpubliclibrary or phone 608-758-6581 for more information.