Remembering grand times at the Wagon Wheel
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From the left, Paul Liddell, Louie Northrup, Pete Zito and Cy Tellesfson entertain guests at the Wagon Wheel Resort in this photograph from Jim Moses.
ROCKTON — Gary Glaser has fond memories of the former Wagon Wheel Resort in Rockton.
Back in its heyday, the resort’s Pigalle Hall was the place to be to dance the night away on New Year’s Eve.
The resort featured a theater, golf course, indoor swimming pool, bowling alley, tennis courts and horse-riding stables. However, Glaser said one of the more popular venues at the Wagon Wheel was Pigalle Hall, which hosted cocktail parties, banquets and ballroom dances.
“(Pigalle Hall) started out as a theater and then it was used as a venue for dancing. It was a real lively place,” Glaser said. “A lot of people played there. There were a lot of big-name performers who played there. It was then changed into a dance hall. It went back and forth between a theater and a dance hall.”
Glaser, who grew up in South Beloit and now lives in Walworth County, has been researching the Wagon Wheel to preserve the history of the once-popular resort that was a big part of his early life. Glaser said he has collected almost a thousand photos of the resort during the past few years.
(See some of the photos at Facebook.com/StatelineNews.)
“It’s neat how many people have donated photos,” Glaser said.
Glaser said he also has talked with people who have shared their experiences about visiting the Wagon Wheel Resort.
“ I just want to keep the information for history..,” Glaser said. “I know people who worked there. There were so many things that happened there that I can’t keep track of it all.”
When he was growing up, Glaser said he and his friends would spend hours at the Palace Ice Skating Rink.
“Most of the time (I went) to go ice skating. There were all kinds of things to do there. It had stores and a bowling alley..,” Glaser said.
For the complete story, including an interview with Beloit jazz drummer Jack Farina, read the Dec. 30 print or e-edition of Stateline News.
For more photos of the Wagon Wheel Resort in Rockton, see www.facebook.com/statelinenews.