Tag Archives: Mauston High School

Eye on the Past: 1940s Mauston High School Basketball

This photo from 1948 or 1949 has a classic sports-pose look to it. The varsity basketball squad from Mauston High School looking eagerly at Coach Bob Erickson, who cradles the ball like it’s made of gold. It’s so much more interesting than the stereotypical team photo with athletes lined up in rows.

My father, David D. Hanneman,  was a multi-sport, multi-year letter winner at Mauston High School from 1947-1951. It was very common to have multi-sport athletes at small-town high schools. A core of the young men in this photo played basketball together in grade school before moving on to high school junior varsity and varsity play. These same fellows came together with classmates for Mauston High School reunions for more than 55 years. That’s teamwork!

The Mauston High School Bluegold basketball team, circa 1949, coached by Bob Erickson.
The Mauston High School Bluegold basketball team, circa 1949, coached by Bob Erickson. Back row: Almeron Freeman, Bill Cowan, Erhard Merk, Tom Rowe and Gaylord Nichols. Front row: Bob Beck, Dave Hanneman, Bob Jagoe, unknown and Bob Randall.

In the 1950-51 basketball season, Mauston advanced to the sub-regional level of the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) tournament on March 1 in Tomah. In the first game, Mauston rallied with a 23-point third quarter to defeat Richland Center, 55-53. Tom Rowe led Mauston scorers with 15 points.

In  the sub-regional championship game March 2, Mauston ran into a buzzsaw called La Crosse Logan High School. The Bluegold lost big, 72-36. After trailing 8-1 early in the game, Mauston pulled to within five at the end of the firsts period. In the second period, Mauston got as close as three points, 20-17, but then the game got out of hand.

The 1948-49 Mauston junior varsity team, coached by Bob Erickson. Dave Hanneman is first on the bench at left.
The Mauston High School varsity basketball team (circa 1947-48), coached by Bob Erickson. Dave Hanneman is first on the bench at left.

Logan led 29-19 at halftime, according to the game recap in the La Crosse Tribune. At the start of the final quarter, Mauston trailed 50-24. Five Mauston players fouled out of the game. The leading Mauston scorer was Roger Quick with 8 points, while Tom Rowe, Bob Jagoe, Bob Randall and Dave Hanneman each had 5 points. La Crosse Logan made it to the regional tournament finals before losing to Onalaska, 58-56.

One of the best games of that 1950-51 season came on December 19, a 61-42 decision over conference rival Westby. “Big Dave Hanneman had himself a field night for MHS as he hoisted in eight buckets and added four free throws for scoring honors,” read the game recap in The Mauston Star. “Jagoe collected 15 points and Randall had 9 — he scored the first 9 points of the game for MHS.”

Coach Erickson was still fairly new during my Dad’s time at Mauston High School, but he went on to become a legend as a coach and teacher. A 12-time letter winner at Platteville State Teachers College (now UW-Platteville), Erickson was named to the UW-Platteville athletic hall of fame in 1980. He came to Mauston in 1947 after serving in World War II, starting a 13-year tenure at Mauston High School. Erickson coached boxing, basketball, football and baseball. He also served as Mauston’s athletic director. He died in July 2003 at age 82.

©2016 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Mauston First-Grade Class of 1940

Many in this group photo from May 1940 would spend their entire pre-secondary education together in Mauston, Wisconsin. A few of the children in this Mauston Grade School photo had moved from Mauston by the time the 1940 U.S. Census was taken a month later. But many graduated together in the Class of 1951 at Mauston High School. First Grade 1940

Bottom Row: Leah Reynolds, Clara Minor, Carol Quamme, Arlene Naglus, Alice Chilson, A. Longsdorf, Gladys Baldwin, Patricia Lane, Mary Crandall.

Second Row: Gerald Stout, S. Jones, Norman Pelton, Arnold Beghin, Almeron Freeman, Tommy Rowe, E. Roberts, Donald Millard, Harold Webster, George Lyons, Robert Randall.

Third Row: Donald Jax, Bernard Solberg, Wendell Smith, David Hanneman, Clayton ‘Ty’ Fiene, Robert Beck, Robert Firlus, Donald Clickner.

Fourth Row: H. Faulkner, Erhard Merk, Joy Smith, Lillian Ackerman, Jessie Hauer, Edith Shaw, Edwin Booth, O. Boldon.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Stentorian Voice and Singing Medals

“Stentorian Voice.” Of all the notations in the Mauston High School yearbooks of David D. Hanneman, those two words truly stand out. In the “Report of Condition of the Students of Mauston High School” in 1950, David Hanneman’s asset is listed as “stentorian voice.” Not a common adjective, “stentorian” means “of powerful voice.” It can also mean “booming” and “loud.” No doubt the years 1947-51 were stentorian years for Hanneman, for he and his singing buddies at MHS earned accolades and medals for their singing. 

David D. Hanneman's medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.
David D. Hanneman’s medals from the Wisconsin Centennial Music Festival in 1948.

Mauston High School at the time was known for its quality vocal and instrumental music programs. The boys’ double quartet or octette was among the highest profile examples of that quality. The barbershop group regularly competed at the state level in competition sponsored by the Wisconsin School Music Association (WSMA).

The group included Hanneman and Roger Quick at second bass, Bob Jagoe and Dick Shaw at first bass, Clayton “Ty” Fiene and Bob Beck at first tenor, and Alan Banks and Arthur Volling at second tenor. Self-dubbed the “State Men” for annual appearances in competition, the group had its own cartoon likeness drawn into the Mauston High School yearbook, The Hammer.

Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.
Members of the Mauston High School boys double quartet.

In the many WSMA competitions, David Hanneman also sang bass solos, duets and mixed quartets and double quartets. According to one of the judge’s score cards, a Mauston quartet was rated “excellent” for tone, “good” for intonation and “good” for technique. Another judge rated Hanneman “excellent” for his bass solo and noted “maturity of quality” as his greatest singing asset. Hanneman kept the dozens of medals he won at these competitions for many decades after high school.

The "State Men" had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.
The “State Men” had their own page in the Mauston High School yearbook in 1951.

Singing wasn’t Hanneman’s only musical interest, however. He played the trumpet for a time and was in the Mauston public school band. He appeared in numerous parades playing the bass drum for the band.

David got his love of song from his mother, Ruby V. Hanneman. As a youngster, Ruby often performed onstage at theaters in Wisconsin Rapids. The Hanneman home in Mauston had a beautiful pump organ and a Victrola record player with a large collection of music. Later in life he appeared in a number of community musicals and sang in the choir at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Catholic Church in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. His deep voice could carry the entire parish in song, with enough volume to almost lift the church off its foundations.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.
Ruby V. Hanneman sings with son David D. Hanneman.

Mauston Marine Killed in 1955 Hawaii Air Disaster

United States Marine Cpl. Almeron A. Freeman was scheduled to finish his three-year military service in just a matter of months. After nearly 1½ years in Korea with the 1st Marine Division, Freeman was headed for California aboard a U.S. Navy transport in March 1955. He never made it home. The Douglas R6D airplane slammed into a mountain peak on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. All 66 aboard were killed.

The Bakersfield, California paper from March 22, 1955.
The Bakersfield, California paper from March 22, 1955.

My father, David D. Hanneman, played football with Freeman at Mauston High School. Although Freeman was a year behind Dad in school, he was the same age. Freeman played left guard and wore No. 64 during the 1950 season. Dad played left tackle and wore No. 66. They were both muscular and athletic. Freeman’s death left a deep impression on Dad. In 2006, when planning the Mauston High School Class of 1951’s 55th reunion, Dad made sure Freeman’s photo was included in the program.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Almeron A. Freeman.

Freeman enlisted in the Marine Corps on August 27, 1952, directly after his graduation from Mauston High School. He was an infantry rifleman with the First Marine Division. He landed for duty in Korea just four months after an armistice ended Korean War combat and began a tense “peace” along the 38th Parallel.

At the end of his tour, he flew from South Korea to Tokyo, then to Hickam Field on the island of Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands. Just after 6 p.m. on March 21, 1955, Freeman was onboard a U.S. Navy R6D transport that left Hickam for Travis Air Force Base in California. Some 3½ hours into the flight, the plane developed radio problems and turned back for Oahu. Just after 2 a.m. on March 22, the plane was seen roaring low over the Navy’s Lualualei ammunition depot. Marine Pfc. Joseph T. Price, on guard duty at Lualualei, said the pilot turned on the landing lights and discovered the plane was headed straight into the Wai’ane Mountains. At the last second, the plane made a hard right, but slammed into the mountain about 200 feet below the tip of Pali Kea Peak. The explosion “lit up like daylight for about a minute,” Price said.

Almeron Freeman (farthest right in middle row), played for Mauston High School with David D. Hanneman (No. 72 in front row).
Almeron Freeman (farthest right in middle row), played for Mauston High School with David D. Hanneman (No. 72 in front row).

The resulting fire was so hot that it took rescuers nearly two hours to get close enough to confirm there were no survivors. The 66 killed included nine Navy crewmen and 57 passengers: 17 U.S. Air Force, four Navy, 12 Marines, 22 U.S. Army and two civilians (a mother and her baby daughter). It was the worst air disaster in Hawaii’s history. The U.S. Military Air Transportation System, which operated the flight, had flown 1.12 million passengers and crossed the Pacific nearly 42,000 times between January 1951 and March 1955 with no fatalities. The crash was caused by crew error. The plane was 8 miles off course when it struck the mountain.

Freeman's junior class portrait.
Freeman’s junior class portrait.

Almeron Arthur Freeman was born February 3, 1933 in Dresbach Township, Minnesota, the son of Irvin M. Freeman and the former Lilah Jenks. Prior to 1940, the family moved from Houston County, Minnesota to Mauston. Irvin worked as a service station attendant. In addition to being a starting guard on the football team, Almeron was a member of the highly rated Mauston boxing team.

Freeman (at left in first row) pictured with other letter winners in the M Club.
Freeman (at left in first row) pictured in 1951 with other letter winners in the M Club.

He came from a proud family military tradition. His great-grandfather and namesake, Almeron Augustus Freeman, served in the Civil War with the 1st Independent Battery, Wisconsin Light Artillery. The battery served under General William Tecumseh Sherman and General Ulysses S. Grant at the battle of Vicksburg, the battle of Port Gibson and later in defense of New Orleans. The elder Freeman later married and became a river pilot moving lumber on the waterways of Wisconsin.

Almeron Freeman (No. 30) played for Mauston with David D. Hanneman (second from left in front row).
Almeron Freeman (No. 30) played basketball for Mauston High School with David D. Hanneman (second from left in front row).

Marine Cpl. Freeman was buried May 17, 1955 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis. Due to the nature of the crash and fire, the remains of 40 service members were buried in a group grave site containing nine caskets. A memorial service for Freeman was held at Mauston High School on May 15, 1955.

The tragedy of the March 1955 air crash extended beyond the immediate victims and their families. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marion “Billy” Shackleford was scheduled to be on that flight, but because he forgot his travel papers, he was denied boarding. He was spared the fate of the 66 crash victims and returned home to Alabama to report for a new assignment. On April 19, 1955, the car he was driving was hit head-on by a Trailways Bus. He was killed instantly. His father, working on a nearby construction job, witnessed the accident. Like Freeman, Sgt. Shackleford was the great-grandson of a Civil War veteran.

— This post was updated with new photos.

©2015 The Hanneman Archive

Eye on the Past: Mauston 8th Grade Boys Win 1947 Basketball Tournament

There he was, front and center in the photograph, holding the championship trophy. My Dad, David D. Hanneman and his 8th grade Mauston teammates had just won the 12-team basketball tournament held at Wonewoc in the spring of 1947. It was no small feat, considering the competition from Camp Douglas, Cazenovia, Elroy, Kendall, Lavalle, Necedah, New Lisbon, Ontario, Reedsburg, Union Center and Wonewoc.

The Mauston 8th grade boys basketball team won the 1947 Wonewoc tournament.
The Mauston 8th grade boys basketball team won the 1947 Wonewoc tournament.

The championship team photo includes, rear, left to right: Coach Bob Erickson, Bill Cowan, Morris Murray, Bernard Pelton, Gaylord Nichols, Tom Rowe and Coach Doug McKenzie. Front row, left to right includes: Harold Webster, Bob Firlus, David Hanneman, Bob Beck, Bob Randall and Whitey Post. Although the photo does not show jersey numbers, Dave wore No. 1 that day.

The 12 teams and players were listed on the event program from 1947.
The 12 teams and players were listed on the event program from 1947.

Occasionally prints of this photo will appear on eBay, erroneously listing the team as from Wonewoc. That is understandable given how the photo was hand labeled, but to be clear, the winners were from Mauston.

The year 1947 turned out to be a big one for Dad. In just his freshman year at Mauston High School, his team won a share of the West Central Conference championship.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive

Mauston Football Wins Conference Crown in 1947

The 1947 football campaign was destined to be one for the ages at Mauston High School. The photo gallery below could be from that championship season, based on the youthful appearance of my Dad, David D. Hanneman (1933-2007). Dad was a starter for the Mauston Bluegold, even in his freshman year.

David D. Hanneman (center) played tackle, guard and on occasion, running back, for Mauston High School during the 1947-50 football seasons.
David D. Hanneman (center) played tackle, guard and on occasion, running back, for Mauston High School during the 1947-50 football seasons.

Dad played guard and tackle throughout his high school football career. But as is the case on small-town football teams, boys play both offense and defense. Many of the players would switch positions, depending on the opponent and game conditions.

Mauston ran up a 7-1 record in the 1947 football campaign, gaining them a share of the West Central Conference championship crown. Mauston was 3-1 in conference play. Midway through the season, Mauston ranked as one of the state’s highest-scoring teams. Here’s the 1947 season recap:

  • Sept. 12  Mauston 12, Reesdburg 0
  • Sept. 19  Mauston 25, Middleton 6
  • Sept. 26, Mauston 20, New Lisbon 12
  • Oct. 3,  Mauston 13, Tomah 0
  • Oct. 10,  Mauston 45, Westby 6
  • Oct. 17  Sparta 14, Mauston 7
  • Oct. 24  Mauston 37, New Lisbon 0
  • Nov. 1  Mauston 13, Viroqua 0
Dave Hanneman (at right) in one of his early years in Mauston football.
Dave Hanneman (at right) in one of his early years in Mauston football.

Bob “Jigger” Jagoe, who played quarterback for Mauston starting in the 1948 season, recalls how Dave’s mother, Ruby V. Hanneman, was zealous in her cheering.

You could hear her in the stands, shouting. She was so proud. Of course we used to kind of make a mockery of it, because she was so adamant, letting everybody know who her son was out there who made the tackle. They announced, ‘Tackle made by Dave Hanneman’  and she said, ‘That’s my Davey!’

In the 1950s, home football games were played at Veterans Memorial Park on the south end of Mauston. This locale looks much closer to downtown, so I’m betting these 1940s games were played in Riverside Park along the Lemonweir River. In several of the photos you can see the distant spire of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.

— This post has been updated with quotes and other information.

©2014 The Hanneman Archive