190304_SKATING

This photo from February 1931 shows a handful of Janesville’s civic and business leaders out for an afternoon of fun at Gas Pond’s hockey rink. From left are Harry H. Bliss, publisher of The Janesville Gazette; James Harris, owner of Janesville Barbed Wire on River Street; J.L. Wilcox, treasurer of the Lewis Knitting Co.; A.E. Bergman, community boys work director; Stan Dunwiddie, Rock County district attorney; Maurice Weirick, assistant treasurer of Parker Pen, head of the Janesville Chamber of Commerce and alderman; and F.C. Grant, court reporter and school board president.

This February 1931 photo from The Gazette’s archives shows a group of Janesville businessmen and local officials taking a break from their desk jobs for a game of hockey at Gas Pond.

The pond now has a slightly more elegant appellation: Traxler Park lagoon.

Skating on Gas Pond was a popular winter sport, and The Gazette made a point of announcing when the pond was ready for skating or not.

In December 1868 the newspaper reported, “The skating season has commenced, the gas pond being glazed over with a thin coating.

“The first accident of the season took place Saturday when A.K. Wheeler broke through the ice, but he was rescued with but very little difficulty, the water being very shallow.”

A December 1928 story headlined “Skating attains great popularity” reported that “two thousand persons tested the ice at Goose Island.”

“Two propeller motored sleds, similar to those launched last season, have made their appearance,” the newspaper reported.

“Reconstruction of hockey accommodations has been made, and a hockey box and warming house just west of it are under construction. Strings of lights with reflectors have been put in place,” The Gazette reported.

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