ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Watertown’s Centennial Tea

Contributed 07 02 1954


A more colorful or picturesque gathering than that assembled for Watertown's Centennial Tea held yesterday afternoon from 3 to 6 p.m. in Turner Hall would be hard to conceive of. Perhaps it could happen only once in a hundred years!


In the capacity audience the brightly colored skirts and bonnets of the Sisters of the Swish were much in evidence.  On the stage the radiant gold of the Centennial Queen's regal attire and the soft pastel shades of her attendants' dresses and those of her trainbearers presented a never to be forgotten sight.


    Brothers of the Bush         Sisters of the Swish


The variety of beautifully arranged floral pieces lent additional color and a garden party touch. For an altogether delightful three hours those present took the fond final official glimpse back through the veil of history into the past century to get not only the look, but the feel of the olden days.


Garbed in their Swish dresses and standing in the receiving line to extend a hearty welcome to the eager guests as they arrived were: Mrs. Dean Van Ness, Mrs. E. Lemmerhirt, Mrs. Charles Johannsen, Mrs. George Fischer, Mrs. O. E. Carlson, Mrs. Minnie Jecklin, Miss Marcella Killian, Mrs. Dave Barry, Mrs. John Clifford, Mrs. Sam Friedman, Miss Gladys Mollart, Mrs. E. F. Hulbert, Mrs. George Bayer, Mrs. Robert Schuenke, Mrs. William H. Schlueter, Mrs. Ray Kaercher, Mrs. Ralph Ebert, Mrs. Carl Kolata, Miss Betty Faber, Mrs. Richard Hoge.


In charge of the registration of guests were Mrs. Max Rohr and Miss Minnie Sproesser. The guestbook shows there were several visitors from out of town.


Promptly at 3 o'clock three trumpeters in natty bright blue uniforms, Miss Beverly Baker, Donald Draheim, and Frank Westphal appeared on the stage and with their bugle notes heralded the arrival of the Centennial Queen, Miss Carolyn Seefeldt, her two train-bearers, Paula Klink and Marie Klink, and her court: Beverly Stafeil, Pat Melius, Elaine Murphy, Marilyn Kressin, Faith Blaese, Patricia Steffen, Rita Maron, Dorothy Jaye, Verona Martin and Helen Jellyman. They entered the hall from rear and as Mrs. Palmer Strache played the piano number "Pomp and Circumstance" they walked in royal dignity through the middle aisle and up onto the stage where they remained seated for the program.


Although seated in the audience, all guests over 75 years of age were also guests of honor.


Mrs. George Fischer as chairman of the Women's Division of the Centennial Committee welcomed the guests. Her pink Swish dress with matching picture hat seemed to reflect the warmth of her welcome.


She introduced the Rev. Victor Thomas of the Moravian Church, who delivered the invocation, calling upon all present to give thanks for the men and women who built our community, and urging them to endeavor with Divine help to live by the ideals to which they were dedicated.


Everyone then joined in the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.


Mrs. Fischer next introduced Dean Van Ness, the city, manager. Mr. Van Ness emphasized the solid foundation on which Watertown has been built, evidenced strikingly in the many century families living in the city and on the farms, and in the number of local businesses and industries of long standing. He stated that our founding fathers left us a marvelous heritage, and that it is up to us to so build that we may leave a similar heritage to those who follow us. On behalf of Watertown and its rural neighbors he then extended a welcome to everyone.


Charles Johannsen, the general chairman of Watertown Centennial and Homecoming Inc., was introduced next by Mrs. Fischer. Mr. Johannsen thanked all the people who participated in the Centennial celebration.


He reviewed briefly the events of the week's celebration, pointing out that the city was honored in having so influential a congressman as Senator Alexander Wiley present, and that the entire celebration brought much favorable publicity to our city, "showing that Watertown is here, is alive, and is going places!"


He stated that the Centennial celebration showed that our people can learn to do things together to put something big over.  He said that working together people can make Watertown not necessarily a bigger place in which to live, but a better place.


Mr. Johannsen further stated that although the books are not yet closed the celebration has proved to be a financial success - that there will be some profit.


In his concluding remarks Mr. Johannsen complimented the Women's Division of the Centennial on the excellent organization of everything they undertook and thanked them for their helpful cooperation.


Mrs. Fischer then thanked the various women's committees responsible for organizing the tea, and the program got under way.


Shades of the past - grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and great aunts-were recalled from the last century, and strolled forth in the forms of their gracious descendants who so ably modeled the ancestral bridal gowns and street and tea dresses. The models promenaded across the stage in front of the queen’s court and down the middle aisle of the hall to the accompaniment of soft piano music provided by Mrs. Palmer Strache.


Mrs. Richard Behling narrated the entire style show in a professional manner, pointing out many interesting details on the lovely old dresses, and giving many human interest sidelights on the personalities to whom they belonged.


Below are listed the models and the wedding dresses they wore in the Bridal Style Show (dates refer to years of marriage):


Mrs. Richard Behling - dress of Mrs. Dewey Davies (Ann Hopkins) -1871 (grandmother of Mrs. Edward Pugh)


Miss Gail Gruner - dress of Mrs. P. B Jones - 1863 (grandmother of Mrs. Ben Krueger)


Mrs. Ralph Ebert - dress of her grandmother, Mrs. C. F. Mabbett of Edgerton - 1874


Mrs. Cliff Schoechert - dress of her grandmother, Mrs. William Edwards - 1877


Diane Schoechert- confirmation dress of her great-grandmother


Linda Schoechert - child's dress worn by Linda Mundt 66 years ago


Mrs. Art Frederick - dress of Mrs. William Greisback - 1877 (mother of Mrs. Ed Warner) Cape - 75 years old


Mrs. Harold Schroeder - dress of her mother-in-law, Mrs. Otto Schroeder - 1892


Mrs. Robert Harthun - dress of Mrs. Clazel - 1894 (made in France)


Mrs. Howard Beaver - dress of her mother, Mrs. Robert Miller - 1896 (made by Mrs. Oliver Beggan of Watertown)


Miss Anita Kusel - dress of her grandmother, Mrs. Max Kusel - 1897.


Mrs. Earl Layman - bridesmaid dress of her mother, Mrs. A. F. Henderson - 1897.


Mrs. Harley Rupprecht - dress of her great-aunt, Mrs. Fred Moldenhauer - 1900 (made by Mrs. Moldenhauer)


Miss Evelyn Dantuma - dress of Mrs. Walter Mabbett of Edgerton - 1903 (Mrs. Ralph Ebert's mother)


Mrs. Wesley Baumann - dress of her mother-in-law, Mrs. Herman Bauman - 1905


Diane Mundt - dress of her grandmother, Mrs. Herman Mundt -1908


Mrs. Dwayne Miller - bridesmaid's dress worn by Mrs. Harry Miller - 1908


Mrs. Leroy Wilkes - dress of her mother, Mrs. Helgeson - 1908


Mrs. Edwin Hulbert - dress of her mother-in-law, Mrs. E. F. Hulbert, 1908


Miss Theresa Klecker - dress of her mother, Mrs. Edward Klecker - 1908


Mrs. Herbert Bauman - dress of Mrs. Orsen Williams - 1916


Mrs. Charles Barnes - dress of Mrs. Basil Trueblood - 1916


Mrs. Dwayne Miller - dress of Mrs. E. Budewitz - 1922


Miss Anita Kusel - dress of her mother, Mrs. Erwin Kusel - 1931


Miss Barbara Swailes - dress of Mrs. Ben Thauer - 1934


Mrs. Erwin Lemke - her own wedding dress - 1937


Mrs. Emil Pirkel - her own wedding dress - 1937


Mrs. Max Gossfeld - dress of Mrs. Edgar Wurtz - 1910


Mrs. Harley Rupprecht - her own wedding dress - 1941


Mrs. Leo Reamer - her own wedding dress - 1952


Mrs. Glenn Neitzel - her own wedding dress


Miss Mary Jane Pfarrer - dress of her grandmother, Mrs. Fred Maas - 1904


Miss Delores Appenfeldt of Watertown, known professionally as Jeanne Blaire of Universal-International Studios and a Powers model - Modern wedding dress worn by movie star, Anne Blythe


The following wore miscellaneous dresses and garb of the past century, all of fascinating historical interest in reviewing the fashions of the past 100 years:


Mrs. Nellie Schaub - modeled her taffeta dress of 53 years ago; wheeled the same baby buggy used for her daughter; the doll wore the same dress her baby daughter did - this baby dress was also worn by the baby's father, William Beske, and is over, 80 years old.


Mrs. Ray Schuelke - modeled a gown, shoes and shawl, belonging to Mrs. Frank Schubert's great aunt, the items are all about 100 years old.


Miss Dorothy Rehbaum - modeled her grandmothers cape from Germany - 100 -years old; wore her grandmothers brooch - 75 years old; modeled her aunt's black dress - 55 years old;; wore a hat belonging to Mrs. Anna Heitz -75 years old; carried an umbrella, belonging to Miss Ell Sipp - 75 years old.


Miss Venita Hagman - modeled a skirt and blouse belonging to Ethel Rand of Reeseville; wore a bonnet belonging to Grandmother Bober of Reeseville; carried a Paisley shawl - Hagman, family heirloom - items all about 100 years old.


Mrs. John Brennn - modeled dress of Mrs. Hugh Kerr - 1864.


Mrs. William Crosset - modeled dress of Mrs. George Webb - 1860 (one of first dressmakers in Watertown).


Mrs. Ralph Ertl - modeled dress of Mrs. William Gruesback - about 77 years old (mother of Mrs. Ed Warner).


Mrs. William Bentzin - modeled dress and hat of Mrs. Albert Otto's mother - both over 75 years old. Umbrella was owned by Mrs. Whelen.


Mrs. Emma Rehbaum - modeled a mourning costume: dress of Mrs. Laura Stemple's mother - about 70 years old. "Mourning jewelry" of Mrs. Rehbaum's grandmother, "mourning hat and veil" of Mrs. Albert Otto's mother.  Dolman belonged to Mrs. Samuel Hildeman - 75 years old (Mrs. Rehbaum's mother). Fan - given to Hermina Flohr by a daughter of John Cole - about 75 years ago.


Mrs. Arnold Rueschel - modeled trousseau dress and hat of her husband's great-grandmother, Mrs. Blake of Oconomowoc. Dress about 65 years old. Hat about 100 years old.


Mrs. Harley Rupprecht - modeled dress and hat of her grandmother - Mrs. Theodore Schmidt - about 1891.


Mrs. Al Stenburg - modeled afternoon dress of Mrs. John W. Cole - about 112 years old; and stole and umbrella of Mrs. John W. Cole - about 112 years old; and hood belonging to mother of Mrs. J. W. Cole - 135 years old.


Mrs. Nellie Schaub - modeled her formal dress purchased at Chapman's in Milwaukee for $65 - 50 years ago; wore her hat purchased at Schempf's in Watertown for $25 - 50 years ago; modeled her mother's cape - about 80 years old.


Miss Lois Nell - modeled dress of Miss Louise Vergenz - of 50 years ago.


Miss Daisy Eckhardt - modeled schoolgirl middy blouse, black skirt and black stockings - of 1923.


Miss Janet Buske - modeled a replica of an 1854 teenagers dress - dress of Miss Leora Mabbert of Edgerton - 1917 (Mrs. Ralph Ebert's aunt).


Mrs. Edward McGowan - modeled tea gown of great, great aunt Jane Bortl of New York - over 100 years old. Wore cameo which belonged to her grandmother, Mrs. Frank Tuttle - 125 years old.


Following this unique and most enthusiastically reviewed style show of fashions of the past 100 years arranged by Mrs. O. E. Carlson, co-chairman with Mrs. Minnie Jecklin of the Centennial Tea, Mrs. George Knispel and Mrs. Palmer Strache played a rhythmic and gay two-piano arrangement of "Jamaican Rumba" during an interlude before refreshments were served.


Jack Conley, representative of Rogers Brothers, who directed our Centennial Celebration, then spoke briefly. He told the many women present that if it hadn't been for them he might have been in trouble. He said there were a few discouraging moments, but that it really had been a great pleasure to have been in Watertown and that he hoped to return some time for a leisurely visit.


Concluding his remarks, Mr. Conley presented a scrapbook of Watertown's Centennial Celebration to Mrs. George Fischer, entrusting it to her to give to the library as a permanent record.


Mrs. Carlson introduced the three Simon Sisters who used to be on radio and all of whom at one time lived here. Mrs. Oswald Peters played the Spanish guitar, Mrs. Martin Oschmann, the Hawaiian guitar, and Mrs. Dwayne Stanton accompanied them on the piano They played and sang as the guests began to gather around the tea table for refreshments. Their selections were "El Rancho Grande," “There's a Gold Mine in the Sky,” and "When Pa Was Courtin Ma."


Presiding at the long tea table were Mrs. Harvey Lehtoma and Mrs. Clarence Weise, co-chairmen of the Refreshments Committee, assisted by Mrs. Edgar Wurtz. The lovely floral centerpiece was arranged by Mrs. Edward Wurst in an antique vitreous china dish loaned by Mrs. P. E. Burkhalter.


At each end of the table was a large bowl of refreshing bright red punch and several plates of delicious cookies, many of them donated by Watertown women with a real flair for baking. As a special tribute to our Centennial Celebration several dozen were also donated by three well-known cookie companies. 


During a slight abatement in the chatting over the cups of punch Mrs. Fischer acknowledged a gift of glassware the Women's Committee received from Duddeck's Food Market and on their behalf expressed their appreciation. She said the Committee had decided to present this gift to the Centennial Queen, Miss Carolyn Seefeldt, for her approaching wedding, and handed it to her. Miss Seefeldt thanked the committee for their thoughtfulness.


Mrs. Fischer urged everyone who has not already done so to purchase a copy of the Watertown Centennial booklet, as a historical reference and as a wonderful souvenir of the Centennial celebration.


She also expressed thanks to the La Belle Garden Club of Oconomowoc for the interesting and colorful floral arrangements they worked out as five period bouquets: Colonial - by Mrs. Jerome Paulus of Milwaukee; Modern - by Mrs. B. C. Spransy of Golden Lake; Victorian - by Mrs. Chester Colley of Oconomowoc; Contemporary - by Mrs. Dan Stilling of Oconomowoc (President of the Wisconsin Federation of Garden Clubs); Japanese Modern - by Mrs. J. C. Stevens of Oconomowoc. These women have all repeatedly won blue ribbons in garden shows.


While the guests were enjoying refreshments and visiting, announcement was made of the winners among the Watertown women who brought bouquets to the hall. Bouquets were received from: Mrs. Arnold Kohlmetz, Mrs. Ruth Brennan, Mrs. Sam Schroeder, Mrs. Harvey Lehtoma, Mrs. Ben Krueger, Ann Kleineschay, Mrs. Sarah Rummel, Mrs. Herman Kaczor, Miss Bonnie Baumann, Mrs. Herbert Baumann, Mrs. A. H. Mallow, Mrs. Hedwig Voigt, Mrs. Leonard Kramp, Arthur Volkmann, Mrs. Ronald Schmeling.


Popular vote determined the following as winners: Best Arrangements: Mrs. Sam Schroeder and Mrs. Ben Krueger. Best Flowers: Mrs. Sam Schroeder; Mrs. Arnold Kohlmetz; Miss Bonnie Baumann.


The committee in charge of these floral arrangements comprised the following: Mrs. Sam Kuenzi, Mrs. P. H. Burkhalter, Mrs. Harold Ebert, Mrs. Ben Fuelleman and Miss Esther Heiser.


Those responsible for the dainty corsages all the models in the promenade of bridal fashions carried were members of the program committee - Mrs. Nellie Deist, Mrs. Joseph Rhodes, Sr., Mrs. Minnie Jecklin and Mrs. C. E. Carlson.


The decorations committee, responsible for the decorative touches on the stage and tea table, consisted of Mrs. Harvey Gritzner, Mrs. William H. Schlueter, and Mrs. Edward Wurst.


During tea-time there was an opportunity to announce the many door prize winners. Those on the committee for prizes were: Mrs. Walter Bremser, Mrs. John Feutz and Mrs. Leonard Kresinski.


There was also an opportunity to look at the many interesting heirlooms on display on tables at the front of the hall. Several of them were actually 100 years old, and all of them 50 years or older.  There were fruit bowls, toothpick holders, glass cake plates, cut glass dishes, canisters, wine bottles, water bottles, mugs, bread plates, teapots, bud vases, sugar and cream sets, etc.


Contributors to this display of tea settings and heirlooms were: Mrs. Adelia Gerbitz, Mrs. E. V. Brand, Mrs. John Brennan, Mrs. August Henze, Mrs. Oscar Carlson, Mrs. Max Rohr, and Miss Minnie Sproesser.


Mrs. August Henze and Mrs. Oscar Zautner were in charge of arranging this exhibit.


Following the pause for "tea," winners in the preliminary judging of the city's Sisters of the Swish held Monday afternoon at Riverside Park were presented by Mrs. Ronald Schmeling, assisted by Mrs. Clarence Smith, and Mrs. Ruben Henning. Mrs. Schmeling and Mrs. John Faeh have served as co-chairmen of the Sisters of the Swish.


Finalists were the following: Oldest Authentic Costume: Mrs. Frank Bergin, Mrs. Lovel Jahnz, Mrs. Arnold J. Guetzlaff; Prettiest Costume: Mrs. Herman Kaczor, Mrs. Emil Pirkel, Miss Charlotte Mohr; Most Comical Costume: Mrs. Gilbert Tietz, Master Donald Huggett, Miss Mary Bee Ebert; Best Gay 90's Costume: Mrs. Minnie Ray, Mrs. O. E. Carlson, Miss Sylvia Wendt; Best Mother and Daughter Costumes: Mrs. Lyle Buske and Barbara Jo and her doll; Mrs. Arnold Kohlmetz and Sue Anne and her doll; Mrs. Kenneth Fendt and Susan and Bonnie. Best Identically Costumed Group: Sisters of the Swish of the Moravian Church, Sisters of the Swish of the M&M Bar, Sisters of the Swish of the Sportsman's Bar.


After the presentation of the finalists in the preliminary judging of the Swish Sisters, Mrs. Carlson announced that pupils of Miss Mary Lynn Krier, local dancing instructor, would offer some dance numbers.


The first was a baby ballet, "Miniature Music Box."  The following little girls dressed in bright pink ballet dresses participated:  Mary Lou Schlueter, Karen Oestreicher, Meredith Haney, Rosemary Robinia, Eloise Bucheger, Judy Theder and Kathy Krier.


The second was a tap dance number "Louise" in which another group of young girls wearing pastel colors took part: Suzie Kwapil, Vicky Beaver, Annette Schmutzler, Caryl Lewandowski, Ruth Richart, and Barbara Sievers.


After her pupils had finished their well-executed routines; Miss Krier very gracefully danced a ballet, "Dance Caprice."


Concluding the afternoon's program a variety of musical selections was provided by the following members of the Watertown Accordion Band: Darryl Ruehl, Esther Lueck, Mary Aufdermauer, Carol Harshbarger, Mary Ertl, Harold Heitzel, Sharon Keppler, Shirley Rather, Gene Bilau, Jane Bilau, Carol Stephen, Teri Unrein, Shirley Runyard and Arvilia Otto. There were polkas and waltzes by the entire ensemble, duets by Jane and Gene Bilau, and Carol Harshbarger and Sharon Keppler, and a trio by Mary Aufdermauer, Mary Ertl, and Esther Lueck.


The last part of the program was planned especially for those coming to the tea directly from work.


As the last musical note faded away and the time came to leave, one began to realize that with this beautiful tea which recaptured so charmingly the graceful style of the past and which served as a grand finale to our week's Centennial celebration, our 100th year is now receding into the pages of history, and that inspired and fortified by our city's official look into the past at our glorious heritage we must now be up and doing to get Watertown's second century off to a good start.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin