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City Hall

110 N First

 

1884      CONSTRUCTION OF

 

1890

                  City Hall, Weltburger, 06 07 1890, drawing

 

1895

07 03       RIVER BANK WALL AT REAR OF CITY HALL

The improvements along the river banks continue.  The city has begun to erect a wall of masonry in the rear of the city hall and a like work is being done on the Wegemann property near Cady Street bridge.  These walls are placed in the river as far as advisable, thus gaining considerable ground for the lot owners.     WR

 

1897c

      

 

1899

04 19       RECEPTION FOR NEW CITY ADMINISTRATION

The council chamber last night was handsomely decorated for the reception of the new city administration.  The stars and stripes and a profuse display of bunting hung from the walls and ceiling, and ferns, potted plants and beautiful flowers were admirably placed so as to enhance the beauty of the occasion.  Janitor Krueger displayed admirable taste in the decorator’s art, and was the recipient of much well deserved commendations.  The aldermen made a decidedly good impression, and each wore a pretty button-hole bouquet, which was in perfect harmony with their surroundings.   WR

 

04 19       1899 FLORAL CARNIVAL, OR A 4TH OF JULY PARADE, c.1899

  

 

1900c

      

 

     

 

1903

04 21       FIRST MEETING OF NEW CITY COUNCIL

The council chamber in the city hall last Tuesday evening was elaborately decorated in honor of the first meeting of the new city council.  Flags, bunting, potted plants and ferns composed the decorations, and each councilman, the mayor and other city officials wore carnations in their buttonholes.  The mayor’s message was an interesting feature of the meeting, and in it he makes excellent recommendations that should be carried out . . . . The informal ballot for city clerk gave Henry Bieber 7 votes, Eugene Killian 5, E. Goeldner 1 and Bums 1.  The formal ballot gave Bieber 11, Killian 2, Mulberger 1; Arthur Mulberger received 12 votes for city attorney on the informal ballot, Buchheit 1 and Kading 1.  The ballot was made formal.  The city engineer, chief of police and street commissioner were elected unanimously, on motion, the clerk casting the ballot.

 

1908

07 10       Emil Sette was awarded the contract for laying linoleum on the 3d floor of the City Hall, the price being $201    WG

 

11 13          Justices of the Peace allowed to occupy the third floor of city hall for the purpose of holding court, conducting examination and trials    WG

 

1910

04 22       Emil Luther, Janitor City Hall

 

1952

07 11       Veterans honor roll; location proposed in City Hall   WDT

 

1953

Oct              1953 Fire Prevention Week

 

1957

 

09 07       The City Council expects shortly to take up the question of what can be done to relieve congestion at the City Hall which has long been cramped for quarters.  The building was erected in 1884 and some departments, which have grown vastly in work and scope are still occupying their original quarters with no place in which to expand.  One such is the Police Department.  Over the years there has frequently been discussion on the subject of a new City Hall or some program whereby present departments can expand into space they need to operate efficiently.  Several times it was suggested that a new jail and fire station be built and that those quarters be utilized for needed office space for other departments.  But these discussions were never put into action and as a result nothing was done to relieve the situation.    WDT

 

10 12       Data on basic requirements for better facilities at the City Hall has been turned over to the architectural firm of Durant and Bergquist, now making a survey to determine what are the best methods to relieve the growing congestion and inadequacy of the present City Hall quarters.  City Manager C. C. Congdon has met with a representative of the architects and has given him information regarding present space occupied by the various departments and the needs for greater efficiency and expanding use of the building.   WDT

 

12 13       Several alternate proposals for solving the present City Hall space problem to provide better and much needed facilities for city departments are due to be included in a report which the architectural firm of Durrant and Bergquist is preparing.  One proposal would call for a new City Hall, designed to cover a long range building project.  Another would propose changes in the present building and provide whatever outside space is needed to better house present departments, either by moving such departments into other office space in the city or start construction of a first unit for a future new City Hall.   WDT

 

c.1957

 

 

1958

01 16       Old Armory Building, now the Recreation Building, proposed new City Hall site   WDT

 

09 15       Carlton Hotel offered to the city of Watertown as a site for a future City Hall or municipal building   WDT

 

09 27       SAFETY CONDITIONS AT CITY HALL

The special committee recently appointed to inspect the safety conditions of the City Hall, with special emphasis on the Fire Department's quarters in the building, has completed its work and has prepared a report which will be sent to the City Council for consideration at its next meeting, Oct. 7, Arthur Kuenzi, chairman of the committee, reported today. Serving with Mr. Kuenzi on the committee are O. E. Carlson and Albert W. Maas, Sr.   WDT

 

  approx time, 1958

 

1960

12 06       FORMER SAVINGS AND LOAN BLDG CONSIDERED

City hall office space is now so acute that during the closing minutes of last night’s meeting of the city council Councilman Floyd Shaefer offered the suggestion that the city look into the possibility of acquiring the former building of the Watertown Savings and Loan Association on Third Street for office purchases.  The building is equipped with a large vault and much of the space is furnished for office purposes, easily convertible for city office usage.  The suggestion was offered by Mr. Shaefer as an alternative to extensive remodeling of the present city hall which, he said, would be costly.  WDT

 

1961

03 03       SUB-STANDARD CONDITION OF POLICE AND JAIL QUARTERS

The city council which is currently involved in a long standing hassle over plans to provide new police department and jail facilities got another warning - a stern one and one that may well be final - from the state last night relative to the present and long-standing sub-standard condition of police department and jail quarters housed in the city hall - the same space and quarters the department has been forced to occupy since the present city hall was built in 1884.  Last night's warning, by letter and signed by V.A. Verhulst, representing the division of corrections, Wisconsin State Department of Public Welfare, was the latest in a series of proddings by the state that the city do something to clear up the jail issue without further delay.   WDT

08 02       BANK OF WATERTOWN PLANS TO ACQUIRE CITY HALL BLDG

The Bank of Watertown last night was granted permission to make use of the city hall alley in order to carry out its plans for a drive-in banking facility.  The bank hopes some day to acquire the present city hall to enable it to carry out a greater expansion program.  

 

1963

04 12       The common council by unanimous vote last night gave the go ahead signal for a project which has been kicked around here for several years, including not only by the present council but during the previous one.  It approved contracts and financing for a new city hall which will be located in Memorial Park.  The meeting last night had been set for the specific purpose of taking final action on the proposal and as expected, the council decided to approve the project, since practically all arguments for and against it had long ago been exhausted.   WDT

 

09 06       The Bank of Watertown has made an officer, subject to negotiations, to acquire the present city hall property in North First Street [110 N First] in order to carry out its long standing plans for expanding its present bank facilities.  The offer was made public last night at the meeting of the common council.  That the bank seeks the property has long been a matter of record.  In fact some years ago, when Lawrence J. Lange was still president of the bank, it was announced at a meeting of the council that the bank wanted the present city hall when and if a new municipal building were constructed.  Such construction is now underway in Memorial Park and the city will occupy the new building late next year, vacating the present city hall which was erected in 1884.   WDT

 

1964

09 02       FUTURE USE OF OLD CITY HALL TO BE RESOLVED

Now that city offices and departments have moved into the new Watertown Municipal Building in Memorial Park, the future use of the old city hall remains to be resolved, Mayor Robert P. White has informed members of the common council.  The mayor has announced to them that at the present time a stalemate exists on the previously announced plans by the Bank of Watertown to acquire the building for its long contemplated expansion plans, chiefly of the Masonic fraternity, owners of the Masonic Temple, which houses, in addition to numerous offices, the department store of the Charles Fischer and Sons Co., have been unable to reach a definite agreement.   WDT

 

11 25       AUCTION OF FURNISHINGS AT OLD CITY HALL BUILDING

Plans to dispose of a number of items which are still housed in the old city hall building are expected to be discussed and acted on at Tuesday night’s meeting of the common council, Mayor Robert P. White said today.  He said the council must set a date for auctioning off a number of tables, desks, a refrigerator and other articles for which no use has been found in the new municipal building.  There isn’t too much remaining to be sold, the mayor said, but some people may be interested in buying what there is.  The auction is planned to clear the building and prepare for turning over possession to the Fischer and Sons Co. department store which recently bid $22,500 for the property.    WDT

 

12 04       AUCTION OF FURNISHINGS AT OLD CITY HALL

Mayor Robert P. White today announced that the auction for the sale of the remaining furnishings at the old city hall building will be held Dec. 12 at 10 a.m.  The auction will be held in the fire department apparatus room of the old city hall building.  All furniture will be displayed starting at 9 o’clock that morning.  Mayor White said, “A various assortment of items will be sold at this auction.  There are about 30 different types of chairs, some tables, wood files, a refrigerator, gas stove, and three window air-conditioning units.  We obviously cannot guarantee the condition or operation of any of this equipment.”    WDT

 

1965

04 03       PURCHASED OLD CITY HALL

The Charles Fischer and Son Co. which purchased Watertown’s old city hall last year, is expected to assume possession shortly, now that legal matters involving the transfer of the property have been completed.  That information was given common council members by Mayor Robert P. White at the council's committee meeting last night.  The mayor said the deed has been signed and that City Attorney David J. Fries had worked on the legal aspects of the sale.  The mayor said that the new owners expect to begin demolishing the building, constructed in 1861- 62, this spring to clear the site for a parking area for the store's customers.  WDT

 

1967

06 22       MEYER AND WOLF PROPERTIES ACQUIRED

The Meyer and Wolf properties in North First Street, to be used as part of the North First Street parking lot expansion, were acquired this forenoon by the city when the purchases, recently authorized by the common council, were finalized.  The price for the Meyer property was $26,000 and for the Wolf property $27,500.  Both were assessed at a higher figure.  The old city hall property will be turned over to the city at a later date, as soon as legal preliminaries are completed, the mayor said today.  The property is being given to the city by the present owner, the Chas. Fischer and Sons Co., without charge.

 

07 24       REPORT ON MEYER AND WOLF PROPERTIES

Mayor A. E. Bentzin is expected to present a report to the common council at its committee meeting next Monday night on his recent trip to Monroe, with a number of aldermen, where they inspected the Monroe two-level parking lot.  The trip, which had been suggested at an earlier meeting of the council, was made as part of the study to help the aldermen determine how best to make use to create the expanded parking lot in North First Street for which three properties have recently been acquired by the city‚ the former Wolf and Meyer building and the former city hall.  The intention is not to start work on the expansion until after a plan has been decided on which will make the best possible use of the land area that will result when the three buildings are razed.

 

08 09       FIRST STREET PARKING FEASIBILITY SURVEY

The architectural-engineering firm of Durrant-Deininger-Dommer-Kramer- Gordon of Watertown is launching a North First Street parking feasibility survey to help the common council decide what will be the best means of expanding the present parking lot facilities in that area.  At its Aug. 1 meeting the council authorized such a study and will await the report before the next step in expanding the present facilities is taken.  The city earlier this year acquired two of the North First Street properties which adjoin the present parking lot, namely the Wolf Estates site and the Meyer Ambulance Service property.  In addition, the city also accepted, without charge, the old city hall which was presented to the city by the Chas. Fischer and Son Co.

 

1968

02 09       RAZED FOR PROPOSED PARKING RAMP

Work is to begin very soon on the razing of the three buildings on North First Street where the parking ramp will be erected.  Garrett Construction Company, Inc. of Madison, which has been awarded the contract for the work, has informed city officials that he wants to start the demolition operation at once.  The contract has been mailed to him.  His bid was $5,980.  It will be completed in 30 days.  The three buildings are the old City Hall building, the former Meyer building and the former Wolff property.

 

    

 

08 01       PARKING RAMP NEED EMPHASIZED

The need for a North First Street parking ramp to help solve the ever-growing downtown parking problems was emphasized last night for members of the common council by a group of representative downtown business men.  To turn down the long planned, long discussed and long studied ramp at this time would be regressive and not in the best interests of a growing community, the council was told at its regular committee meeting.  Tonight the aldermen are to decide the issue.  Citing a recent letter issued by the Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, based on a poll that was taken among its members, as not being representative of the sentiment of the membership, Andrew McFarland of the Busse Pharmacy, a former alderman and a member of the board of directors of the chamber of commerce, said the poll reflected only 15 per cent of the membership.

 

08 02       PARKING RAMP BOMBSHELL

City Attorney David Fries last night tossed a legal bombshell into the proceedings of the common council meeting just minutes before the aldermen were ready to vote on awarding contracts for the construction of the North First Street parking ramp last night.  Fries cited an opinion he had obtained only yesterday from the legal counsel for the League of Wisconsin Municipalities on which he said the city could not tap specific funds to provide financing for the ramp.

 

08 17       PARKING RAMP PLANS KILLED

Plans for the construction of Watertown’s much debated and controversial parking ramp in North First Street were killed last night by a single vote in the common council.  The resolution to finance the construction by means of transferring available funds was lost by a 9 to 5 vote.  Ten votes were required for adoption.  Before the vote was taken Alderman Kenneth Wilkes sought to have the vote taken by ballot, with each alderman voting yes or no and signing his name to the ballot, a procedure he asserted was proper although it has never been done before.

 

 

 

  Image Portfolio  

 

 

Cross References:

City Hall, newer, on Jones St

Fire Department

Police Department

 

City Hall Constructed by Christian Schmutzler

City Hall After new street lights installed

 

I’m researching a Wisconsin architect named Edward Townsend Mix.  He was State architect in the 1860's.

There was an article concerning Watertown in a Milwaukee paper dated 1884 --Here’s the article:

"  April 20, 1884   9/3

City Hall Plans—There's desire among many of the citizens to have architect Mix of Milw draw the plans of the new city hall building WATERTOWN."

 

The building design is from the Coch plan ......  Feld collection, WR 07 02 1884.

 

 

 

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