ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Watertown Chamber of Commerce

Established 1920


Old Watertown Advancement Association

        and Watertown Businessmen’s Association were forerunners of today’s Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce




04 09       FREE LECTURE

On Tuesday evening, April 14, 1914, at Masonic Temple Hall, there will be a free lecture given by W. J. Pilkington under the auspices of the Watertown Business Men’s Association.  Tickets may be had of the secretary.  Of Mr. Pilkington the Marshall, Mich., Daily News says:


“I would not take many times over what it cost me for the pleasure and profit I received the last ten minutes of Mr. Pilkington’s address” is the remark made by many when Mr. Pilkington had finished.  The speaker of the evening was introduced by Dr. Joy as the highest authority on the science of business in the country.  Mr. Pilkington had not spoken five minutes before the truth of his assertion was apparent.  The business men of Marshall have never before listened to the truth concerning this subject as it was expounded by this inspired evangelist of the gospel of business and advertising.  Such an awakening of the senses of those present, interested in business, was never known here before.  Mr. Pilkington spoke for nearly two and one-half hours and held the closest attention of everyone during his discourse.  He was overcome by the intensity of his effort and sank into his seat at the close.  He was overwhelmed by congratulations of business men who gathered around and thanked him for the enlightenment he had given them.   WG



The Business Men’s Association and invited guests listened to a splendid address at Masonic Temple Hall last Tuesday evening by W. J. Pilkington, his subject being city and community building.  Among other good things he said:


“The building of a town is as scientific as the practice of law or medicine or the solution of intricate problems of nature’s laws by college professors.  Towns don’t grow — they are made.  And they are not made of buildings.  The kind of buildings in a town has nothing to do with the kind of a town it is.  Fine buildings don’t make fine towns.  The finest building I ever saw was a lunatic asylum.  The town is made of the men and women in it.  And the reason why people do as they do is based upon scientific facts, the workings of nature’s law’s.


Watertown is just as good as you have made it.  In other words, it is just as good as you deserve it.  If it is not what you want or would like, it is your own fault.  If you would get more out of your city you must put more into it.   WG


Chamber of Commerce Notes


   Watertown Gazette, 08 12 1920


The two hundred men and women members of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce who attended the spirited meeting held Monday night at the city hall went home with the realization that this organization is now a living, pulsing reality.  It was gratifying to note the interest all present manifested in the proceedings.


The keenness with which the constitution and by-laws were discussed shows that the copies which were mailed in advance to all members were thoroughly studied.  It is active interest such as this which makes for a successful organization and without which no chamber can properly function.


A motion to incorporate the Watertown Chamber of Commerce under the laws of the State of Wisconsin was unanimously carried.  On the whole the constitution and by-laws were approved at the meeting and this document with the few minor changes suggested will be turned over to a committee of five which was appointed at Monday night’s meeting.  This committee is empowered to re-phrase the document so that it will be in shape to be brought before the secretary of state as articles of incorporation of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce.


It was decided, in order to allow sufficient time for the articles of incorporation to be returned from Madison, to hold the next meeting of the members on the first Friday in September, 1920.  At this meeting officers shall be elected who shall hold their respective offices until the first annual meeting and election of officers which shall be held the second Friday in January, 1922.


That Mr. Lehrkind and the temporary executive committee have the confidence of all the members of the chamber and that the efforts put forth thus far by Mr. Lehrkind and the committee are appreciated was shown at Monday night’s meeting when a motion to have this committee continue in full authority until the next meeting was put before the house and carried with more feeling than any preceding or succeeding motion.  This is as it should be.  This committee has worked ceaselessly and tirelessly and deserves this mark of appreciation.


The building housing the offices of the Chamber of Commerce is to be taken over at once by one of Watertown’s industries and as a consequence the offices must be moved.


As a direct result of Monday night’s meeting several additional memberships were received this morning at organization headquarters:


The Brandt-Dent Co. delegated each of its six memberships to the following men: Messer. Gabriel B Levy, G. A. Richards, Alfred J. Price, Hugo Koenig, Herbert Vorr, John Mueller.


The Watertown Table Slide Co. delegated five of their memberships to the following men: Messrs. Wm. C. Schultz, Otto Fischer, Wm. Draeger, Otto Draeger, Arthur Behling.


Wm. F. Brandt & Son Co. delegated six memberships to the following men and women:  Mrs. Leona B. Thauer, W. E. Brandt, George Scheele, Albert Frattinger, Edward Kuenzi, Harry Miller.



Watertown Chamber of Commerce Organizes


G. H. Lehrkind Elected President


09 09       The court room in the city hall last Friday evening was the scene of an enthusiastic meeting of members of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce, at which officers of the organization were elected and bylaws adopted.  The meeting was a most enthusiastic one and spoke well for the success of the organization.  The fair boosting committee of the chamber, headed by the Watertown band marched to the hall and rendered some fine music before the regular program of the meeting was opened.


Mayor Wertheimer urged the members to cooperate in every way possible to make the “Watertown Day Parade” on Wednesday, September 22, the biggest ever held in Watertown.  The meeting was presided over by G. H. Lehrkind. Officers and directors chosen are as follows: President G. H. Lehrkind vice president, W. H. Woodard ; treasurer, Max Tohr, chairman mercantile bureau, W. E. Brandt; chairman industrial bureau.  F. E. Woodard; chairman wholesale and manufacturers bureau, W. O. Peterson; chairman agriculture and good roads bureau, S. Molzahn; chairman publicity and conventions, John Clifford , chairman civic bureau, H. Wertheimer; directors at large J. W. Moore, F. H. Kopp, Francis Darcey, W. G. Pritzlaff, E. E. Fischer, E. L. Schempf, C. A. Skinner, Miss Minnie Sproesser.   WG



What Constitutes a Good City



What Constitutes a Good City


Essay in the 1921 Orbit, the yearbook of Watertown High School


To become a good city does not necessarily mean that that particular city should merely add to its population, for there are many other conditions, which, only when united, can contribute to that end.  A city should not merely be a group of dwellings and edifices, banks and office buildings, but it should be a large friendly family, which travelers will remember and to which people will be drawn.  All things must remain in true proportion; a city's industries must not outweigh its other interests, for while they may increase its population and money value, they may not increase its worth.


The fundamental requirement of a good city is that it must be active and progressive.  A community must do something to hold its inhabitants, for if it does not, they will naturally move to a more advantageous location.  A city must keep its old industries, but it is more important that it should add new industries to those it already has.  What city can exist for any length of time, when, for every new industry the community gains, two dissatisfied companies discontinue their plants in that city?  There must also be harmony between the employer and employee, between capital and labor, and among the administrative forces, for no city can advance when its forces are pulling in opposite directions.


A good location is necessary to the growth of population in a city, but it is no obstacle in the formation of a good city. In a city which is not favorably located, every possible advantage and benefit should be pushed forward.  A city does not necessarily have to be on a good water location, for in these days of railroad, interurban, and airplane transportation, these methods of transportation will be just as cheap and probably more convenient than shipping by water.  Health is rather the watchword in regard to location for a healthy city of ten thousand inhabitants is far better than a degenerate, sickly city of fifty thousand or more!


There must necessarily be something to attract the people to a town and to cause them to stay.  This something may be business advantages, its churches, its social life, its theaters, or its community spirit.  Nothing need be said of the first four, but the fifth may need some explanation.  Community spirit is evinced in several ways; by a city's harmony, by its municipal and fraternal organizations and societies, by its parks and bathing beaches, and by its public conveniences.  Every city of ten thousand in habitants should have a Y.M.C.A. or a Y.W C.A.  Such organizations tend to keep the young men and women interested in more healthful recreations. 


The great war has brought the people together in a more cooperative spirit than ever before.  It should remain so, for cooperation is an absolute necessity for success.  A city should have its community hearth in the form of a building which is the center of all the different organizations and societies which are beneficial to the city.  Community spirit is gauged by a city's progress.


Any city should have some definite, recognized body at the head of its social and industrial activities.  A typical organization of this kind in Watertown is the Chamber of Commerce.  Its purpose is to promote the city, its inhabitants, its products, and manufacturers, in fact, to promote anything that is worth promoting; also, to furnish attractions and wholesome sports for the people of Watertown.  The purpose is a noble one, but cannot succeed without cooperation, and this cooperation must not be given in financial form only. 


The Chamber of Commerce needs people to be interested in it, and it is for the welfare of every person in the city to give this organization as much publicity and support as possible.  Then and only then can it achieve that success which is its goal — a bigger and better Watertown, always on top.  Boost the Chamber of Commerce.


   Anthony C. Hahn 


Cross References:

Anthony C. Hahn was a sophomore at the high school in 1921, son of Amandus and Martha, 200 Ninth St.


Dr. Anthony C. Hahn Retirement, Watertown Daily Times, 02 10 1965

Dr. Anthony C. Hahn, 401 South Fifth Street, one of the Watertown community’s widely known physicians, was honored at a reception and breakfast this morning at Watertown Memorial Hospital by the medical staff of the hospital.  The event was in recognition of his retirement from the medical practice, a step he had announced some time ago.  At the breakfast gathering he was presented with a plaque by the medical staff.  The presentation was made on behalf of the staff by the Rev. Thorlief Harberg, pastor of the Watertown Moravian Church of which Dr. Hahn is a member.







05 19       FRANK VANDER HOOGT, President, Junior Chamber of Commerce

         Local manager of Foster & Foster, roofers





Watertown yesterday welcomed a replica of the Liberty Bell, one of 49 such bells now touring the nation in connection with the U. S. bonds - Independence campaign.


The above picture was taken shortly after the bell reached here, when it stopped in front of the Hornburg Motors building.


Roy Pfeiffer, president of the Watertown Association of Commerce, is shown standing atop the truck on which the bell is mounted, just before he struck the bell. 


During the day its tones were heard many times as it made stops in the downtown section of the city and at local schools and industrial plants.  In the forefront are, left to right:  Leonard G. Braunschweig of the local police department, Capt. Joseph Checkai of the local fire inspection bureau, City Manager Dean Van Ness and Mrs. John W. Keck, general chairman of the bond day program. 


Newell Parker of the Hornburg Motor organization was the chairman of the day.


The Ford Motor Co. is providing all of the transportation for the 49 bells now on tour.



A group of men in suits

Description automatically generated with low confidence   

Members of the Milwaukee Association of Commerce, on a state goodwill tour, enjoyed a dinner at the Elks club, with members of the Watertown Association of Commerce, and other businessmen, as guests.


I. R. Witthuhn, Milwaukee manager of the Standard Distributing corporation, and a director of the Milwaukee Association of Commerce; August F. Mack, Jr., vice president of the Schroeder hotels and also a director of the Milwaukee Association of Commerce; Gerald B. Athey, Milwaukee, resident manager Of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane, and vice chairman of the trade promotion committee of the Milwaukee Association of Commerce; Roy Pfeiffer, president of the Watertown Association of Commerce; Ernest Gruner, this city, toastmaster.







        Sponsored by Watertown Junior Chamber of Commerce

Melvin Damrow, committee chair, Lois Kaercher (1st place winner), Beverly Baker(2nd), Ann Higgins (3rd), Carl Kolata, president Watertown Jaycees.



03 11       Alderman George Shephard who led the fight in the city council against the move to appropriate the sum of $4,000 from the city contingency fund and make it available for use by the Watertown Association of Commerce when and if it establishes a fulltime office of secretary, said today that he has received a large number of telephone calls and is still receiving them relative to the issue.  The move to appropriate the money was defeated by a 7 to 5 vote at the council meeting on March 3, but later a resolution was adopted whereby the council kept the issue alive when it decided to invite officials of the association of commerce to meet with the council at its next meeting to discuss the question and determine what position the association takes on the proposal.  Mr. Shephard had pointed out to the council that not a single request had come from the association asking for money and that no one had appeared before the council from the association even though there were numerous opportunities for the organization to do so.




Mayor R. P. White and Council President William Wiegand last night joined in a request that the members of the common council give approval to a resolution first proposed by the mayor in December that would set aside the sum of $4,000 from city funds to enable the Watertown Association of Commerce to establish a fulltime secretary’s office as a means of stimulating an industrial growth program for Watertown.



William R. Neis, general agent for the Indianapolis Life Insurance Co., with offices at 105 West Main Street, has accepted the position as secretary-treasurer of the Watertown Association of Commerce, according to announcement made today by Gerald Mallach, association president.  Mr. Neis will begin his assignment, a part time position as of April 1, and his office will serve as the association of commerce downtown headquarters.  Mr. Neis has been a general agent of the Indianapolis Life Insurance Co. for the past nine years, and prior to that served as personnel director of Aunt Nellie’s Foods Company for 11 years.  He has been a resident of Watertown for over six years, and has a wide knowledge of the Watertown area and its residents.




Allen H. Frater, vice-president of the G. B. Lewis Company, was elected president of the Watertown Association of Commerce at a special meeting called last evening by the board of directors for the purpose of electing new officers.  Dr. George E. Samquist was elected vice-president.  The meeting was held at the Association of Commerce office in the Municipal Building and was conducted by the out-going vice-president, Ira Kritz in the absence of Gerald Mallach, retiring president.   WDT




Watertown city officials, including Mayor A. E. Bentzin, Chief of Police M. K. Mann and City Attorney David Fries have been advised that the weekly merchandise prizes which are being awarded here by the retail division of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, constitutes a lottery and under Wisconsin statutes is illegal and is to be halted.  Each week, since the Main Street reconstruction program has been under way, a prize has been awarded in order to stimulate business while the street is torn up, the winner’s name being drawn from individuals who “sign up” when they make a purchase at local stores and shops and complete a most simple sentence which is printed on each entry coupon.   WDT




The Board of Directors of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce has expressed opposition to the proposed ramp, and recommends that the newly acquired properties on North First Street be utilized for street level parking, and suggests proposal No. 3 as outlined in a recent bulletin of the chamber.  Proposal No. 3 calls for fixing up the area to accommodate 40 cars, at an estimated cost of $57,500.   the two street level options, proposal No .3 calls for the smallest outlay of money.     WDT




A group of men in suits

Description automatically generated with medium confidence        A person in a suit

Description automatically generated with medium confidence



Don Malcolm, proprietor of Riverview Grocery, has been elected president of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce.  He succeeds Ray Rose.  He was elected at a meeting of the board of directors of the chamber.  Ken Beyer, manager of Keck Furniture Company, was elected vice president; Gerald Flynn, president of the Bank of Watertown, treasurer, and Clarence E. Hartmann was again named executive secretary.   WDT




Jack Erdmann appointed executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce.




The board of directors for the Watertown Chamber of Commerce went on record Wednesday night in support of a Central Business Association.  The directors also agreed it would welcome the president of the organization to its board of directors.  It is a big step for the yet-to-be formed group, according to Todd Fischer, of Fischer’s Department Store, who is heading the preorganization plans for the Central Business Association.  “It gives us more legitimacy,” he added.  Fischer said the formation of the group is also backed by Mayor David Lenz.    WDT



08 23       MOVE TO 519 E. MAIN ST

When Jack Erdmann was hired as executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce five years ago, one of his directives from the chamber was to find a place where the office would be more visible.  The goal became a reality in June when the chamber office was moved from the basement of Bank One to new quarters at 519 E. Main St.  The new downtown corner location gives the office the visibility it needs to serve a growing community.  The chamber purchased the office building last April from Dr. Richard Stolsmark for $61,500.  The building has undergone extensive renovation at a cost of approximately $28,000.  Money for the project was obtained through fund-raisers over the years such as RiverFest and calendar sales as well as numerous donations.




The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce will be a chamber of action, according to the new president Duane Floyd who took over as president of the organization at the annual banquet Thursday night.  Approximately 144 members and spouses attended the meeting which was held at the Watertown Country Club.  Outgoing president Karen Melcher noted the positive changes she has seen in the chamber since Jack Erdmann became executive director.  “It used to be hard to get board members to serve.  Now we have an active membership and our own building.  It took the selection of the right executive director.  Jack Erdmann is enthusiastic and motivates the people around him, but it is a team effort to keep the chamber moving on to the next highest level,” she said.




Jack Erdmann, executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, will be retiring early next year.  Erdmann, 63, told the chamber board of directors this morning that his retirement date would be Feb. 29.  John Ebert, this year's chamber president, said, “We're surely going to miss Jack. He has done an outstanding job as our executive director.  It's going to be a big hole to fill when he leaves.”  The chamber of commerce has made great strides in the nearly 13 years he has been in the leadership position.  When he took over the position in September of 1986, the chamber was having financial difficulties and membership was lagging.   WDT



11 30       ORNAMENTS

The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce is offering a new series of collector ornaments to begin this year.  The series of ornaments will include scenes depicting winter in Watertown with vintage images of skaters, ice harvesting, ski jump, Main Street and a blizzard scene.  There are five ornaments in the collection and they are priced for gift giving or for resale.  The 2005 ornament, the first in the series, features skaters on the Rock River in downtown Watertown in 1895.  WDT



12 24       GALLUP RETIRES

Bonnie Gallup, the project coordinator for the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, will retire after almost 13 years of service to the community.  Gallup was given a retirement ceremony Thursday by the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors where she received gift certificates and presents thanking her for all the work she has done.  Gallup’s last day with the chamber will be Wednesday.  The former project coordinator first started working with the chamber in 1994 when it took over the annual farmer’s market from the city.   WDT




Three local business members were recently elected to the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.  New members of the board are Jeff Tate, owner of Piggly Wiggly; Jaime Jaeger, manager for Windwood of Watertown; and Brad Kuenzi, owner of Platinum Realtors.  The ballots to determine membership are based on the categories of service/professional, retail and industrial work in the community.  Tate is in the retail category and Jaeger and Kuenzi are in the service/professional category.  There were no industrial positions available this year.



Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce’s first-ever reward stimulus program was deemed a success as the last of the gift certificates were issued this morning.  The program was based on the reinvestment of $5,000 into the local economy through the chamber gift certificate program and rewarded approximately $35,000 of local purchases of goods and services.  In order to qualify for the program, shoppers needed to make a purchase on or after this past Friday at any chamber member location.  Customers were then asked to bring their receipts to the chamber office to receive reward gift certificates.




Randy Roeseler, executive director of the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, submitted his resignation; accepted position as vice president at the State Bank of Reeseville; 9 1/2 years of service.  As vice president of the bank, Roeseler will be expected to serve the community's needs in several ways, including management support, business development and lending and deposit relationship management.  Before being hired by the chamber, Roeseler was employed as a manager of Commonwealth Credit Union in Watertown.  Before that was a financial consultant at Associated Bank of Watertown. 


Executive Director - Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce


Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking an experienced manager for the position of Executive Director. The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors. Duties include, but are not limited to, operational and financial accountability for the total operations of the Chamber of Commerce, developing and implementing long range planning as well as playing an active role in all areas of promoting the Watertown area.


Requirements Include: No less than 5 years in a leadership/managerial role with strong written & oral communication skills. Must possess the ability to work well with local and state officials, business executives as well as small organizations in a professional and productive manner. Past experience in Economic Development Projects a plus.


We’re looking for a talented individual who is self motivated and enjoys coming to work every day, welcomes challenge and change and is excited about leading a highly motivated and productive staff of 2 plus a volunteer staff of boards and committees.


Computer skills are a must with proven ability in Microsoft Office Software (especially Word, Excel and Access) as well as QuickBooks.








The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Watertown Program installed three interpretive panels on the Octagon House grounds.




Watertown resident, Bonnie Hertel has been hired by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors to serve as their executive director.  Hertel began her professional career in Watertown as a manager of Kline’s Department Store.  She then served as the director of operations for Midwest Hospitality Management Company.  Most recently, she was the general manager of the Johnson Creek Premium Outlets. During this time,




Logo, company name

Description automatically generated







Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin