ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Douglas School

1] 505 Lincoln Street

2] 1101 Prospect Street


School No. 3 (began Douglas in 1909)




A group of people in a room

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Celia Boughton, teacher

Carl Wilkowski - 1st grade class, middle row, second seat right

Della Wilkowski Lange's younger brother

Carlie died from a head injury following a playground accident Dec 18,1902.

Gladys Mollart, girl standing on the right



MISS IDA BARGANZ, TEACHER, Douglas School (School No. 3), grade 2


Among those pictured (order uncertain) are: Adele Block, Ellen Schmutzler, Alice Krueger, Daisy Wiesemann, Leona Sauermann (sp?), Winifred Lange, Gretchen Maerzke, Lily Loeffler, Adela Wendt, Zayda Weber, Josephine Jaedecke, Meta Farge, “a Jewish boy, lived near river off of Lynn St,” Roy Behlke, George Uecher, Arthur Gustmann, Percy Meyer, George Dittmann, __?__ Krueger, Ray Meyer, Oscar Lemmerhirt, Pat Stobe, Art Ebert, Helma Kue__?__, Lily Roth.




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Description automatically generated   501-505 Lincoln Street

Addition made to later.  New Douglas constructed on Center Street in 1960-61



12 09       MISS L. JAEGER, teacher in 5th grade Douglas School, handed in her resignation to take effect Dec. 22, 1910, and it was accepted.   WG




Sealed proposals for the erection of a fire escape for the Douglas School will be received at the office of the clerk of the board of education.  Plans and specifications may be seen at the office of the city clerk . . .  WG


08 08       There were two bids received last Wednesday evening for the building of a fire escape at Douglas School, one from Otto Biefeld & Co. for $165 and another from the Dornfeld-Kunert Co. for $175.  The former being the lowest bidder was awarded the contract.   WG



07 18       NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS.  Office of the Board of Education, Watertown, Wis.  Sealed proposals for the laying of cement walks on the north side of Douglas School, situated in the Sixth ward, according to the rules, regulations and specifications for the construction of sidewalks adopted by the board of public works, and approved by the common council, will be received at the office of the clerk of the board of education until Wednesday, the 7th day of August, 1912, at 7 o'clock p.m.  Proposals shall be made per square foot, on blanks furnished by the clerk of the board.  WG








     Second Grade              Third Grade    










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02 26       Cub Scouts of Douglas School held their annual blue and gold banquet    WDT


08 21       DELAY IN CONSTRUCTION of new Douglas School 

Watertown faces a substantial outlay in the construction of the new Douglas School in Center Street on a site which the city acquired early in his decade and which, under a long range building plan, is to be completed in 1961.  That fact was brought out last night when the first design for the proposed school was laid before members of the board of education.  It was disclosed that with the school construction due to get underway next year, the building general school program outlined years ago will be right on schedule.  The site for the new school was called “ideal” by Joseph Durrant, architect, representing Durrant and Bergquist of Dubuque, Ia.   WDT


09 23       The board of education at a meeting last night approved the steps taken thus  far in the plans for the new Douglas School to be erected in Center Street and instructed the firm of Durrant and Berquist, Dubuque, Ia., architects, to proceed with the next step in the preparation  of plans and specifications.  The preliminary plans were recently submitted to the office of Al Buechner, state building coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instructions.  Mr. Buechner approved the sketches and plans as outlined to him and suggested a number of minor changes which will be incorporated in the general plans.   WDT


10 23       Something entirely new in Watertown public school construction is being planned in the design of the new Douglas School on which work is due to start early in 1960.  The new school will be “twice the size of the new Schurz School” in the seventh ward and is to be constructed in Center Street on a site acquired by the city some years ago.  The new school will have no basement.  It will be fundamentally a two-level structure that will blend into the landscape.  It will have ten regular classrooms, two kindergartens, a large general all-purpose room, three special areas, including facilities for a handicapped class, a library and storage area as well as administrative and auxiliary areas.  Each teaching station will have northern exposure and the glare of sunlight will be entirely eliminated.  The school will also contain kitchen, locker, stage and other facilities.   WDT




       Elsa Rose, Douglas School Teacher




Base bids on the new Douglas School to be constructed in Center Street are below the estimates.  They total $509,674, compared with an estimated total of $577,422 made in advance by Joe Durrant of the architectural firm of Durrant and Bergquist, Dubuque, Ia.  Maas Bros., Construction Co. of Watertown entered the lowest base bid for the general contract, $374,925.  While the total of the various low base bids on the school runs to $509,674, the high base bids reached the sum of $613,033.21.   WDT







Watertown’s newest elementary school, the Douglas School on Center Street, is to be ready for occupancy when the 1961-62 term begins next September, according to school authorities.  The board of education has begun to arrange for school equipment which will start to arrive in June.  The Maas Bros. Construction Co., Watertown, is the contractor on the new school and work is progressing.  Some inside work is being done and units of the building are being heated to enable work to continue during the winter months.  Architects are Durrant and Bergquist, Dubuque, la.    WDT



The city council did the expected last night.  It voted to close the recreation building and transfer all activities to the old Douglas School as soon as the board of education turns the school over to the city, expected to be around July 1.  By so doing the council went on record not to spend any public sums for repairing the recreation building or arising its safety standards.  The vote on the measure was 13 to 1 — with Alderman Erich Nuernberg of the sixth ward casting the only “no” vote.  He had sought to delay any action by having the resolution tabled until such time as the old Douglas School has been turned over to the city.   WDT



The city’s newest school, the Douglas School, located in Center Street, is nearing completion.  It will be ready for occupancy when the 1961-62 term begins in September.  Some of the equipment is already in the process of installation and others will be arriving shortly to complete the furnishings.  The new school is the largest and costliest of all the city’s elementary schools.  The base bid figures amounted to $509,674 but the grand total, including architect’s fees, furnishings, equipment, landscaping and developing the playground areas will be around $700,000 or more, according to estimates.  The Maas Bros. Construction Co. has had the general contract.  Work on the building began early in 1960 after bids were opened on Feb. 26 of that year.  The general contract bid price was $374,925.  Architects are Durrant and Bergquist, Dubuque, Ia., who also designed other schools here. WDT



Another major school problem, which has been in the stage of development for some time and which recently has grown acute, confronts the city administration, notably the members of the common council who will have to find ways of financing it.  If the plan, which was proposed at a special conference last night, is carried through it will mean some $200,000 for a proposed addition to and remodeling of the old Douglas School for use by the Watertown Vocational and Adult School.  Added to that will be another initial $60,000 for an addition of several classrooms at the high school.  WDT




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04 21       A renovation program to be undertaken at the old Douglas School to utilize it for classes of the Watertown Vocational and Adult School starting in September is headed for favorable action at tonight’s meeting of the common council.  City aldermen, meeting in committee yesterday afternoon, reacted favorably to the idea and a resolution to get the project started will be ready for introduction at tonight’s council meeting.  WDT


05 02       Alderman James E. Bloor yesterday afternoon urged prompt attention in getting the work of converting the old Douglas School building for vocational school use underway because, he pointed out, the building will have to be ready for its new use in September.  Mr. Bloor made the statement during the common council committee meeting at which Theodore F. Guse, president of the Watertown Board of Vocational and Adult Education, and Vocational School Director Glenn L. Johnson appeared to present cost figures involved in the remodeling program which is necessary to make the school adaptable for vocational use.  WDT


05 02       [same date as previous] The common council at its committee meeting decided to will refer to the Watertown Board of Vocational and Adult Education a petition protesting the plan to remove the high wire fence on the old Douglas School grounds.  WDT



11 20       Durrant and Bergquist, nationally known architects who designed several of Watertown’s new school buildings, will open an office in Watertown.  They will be located in North Third Street, above the offices of the Wisconsin State Employment Service.  The firm has offices in Dubuque, Ia.  One of the schools which the firm designed here is the new Douglas School which was completed in 1961.   WDT




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A group of Douglas School students from Mrs. Anita McElhanon's and Gerhardt Axmann's fifth grade classes presented the puppet show "Tom Benn and Blackbeard" to other students in the school.


Cindy Klug, Eileen Bellack, Mike Frami, and Russell Hepp, Billy Sellnow, Mike Pullman.



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Mrs. Louise Kehoe, teaching for 42 years, is a kindergarten teacher at Douglas School.




Kindergarten Class, First Grade Class



08 25       A rezoning request and some adamant neighborhood opposition stand in the way of a Brookfield man’s plans to convert the old Douglas School building into an apartment complex.  “What we’re proposing is eight very attractive apartments, new housing.  They’re doing the same thing right now with the Kusel building,” said businessman Al Vigil of his plans for 505 Lincoln Street.  “It’s a very attractive building and would be excellent for apartments.  Right now the place is deteriorating.”  The people living around the old school building, however, don’t share Vigil’s optimism.   WDT


09 12       The developers called it an open house, a chance for the neighbors to view sketches and see how a proposed conversion of a schoolhouse will enhance their neighborhood.  At least one of the neighbors thought it was a “propaganda sales pitch.”  “This will not be subsidized housing,” emphasized Al Vigil of Brookfield, who bought the old Douglas School and MATC-Watertown building at 505 Lincoln Street.  “The kind of tenants we want are people in their 50s and older, people who are looking to retire and want a nice place to live.”  Vigil is president of Eagle Marketing Corporation, a group of investors which is also planning a waterfront development project in Hustisford.  The organization also developed the Depot Restaurant in Waukesha and is in the process of opening six steak houses throughout the state.   WDT


10 06       A proposal to convert the old Douglas School to an apartment complex was referred back to the plan commission after the developer said he was working on a plan that he believed would satisfy the project’s opponents.  R.P. White, representing Al Vigil, said the Brookfield investor was developing “a complete change in the type of ownership that he thinks will be acceptable to the entire community.”  Vigil had previously proposed to convert the former school at 505 Lincoln Street to an eight-unit apartment building for the elderly.  The project, Vigil estimated, would cost $300,000, of which $76,000 would be paid through a community block grant loan.   WDT



01 03       Jones Intercable, the cable television company in Watertown, has purchased the old Douglas School.  Officials of Jones said they planned no additional use of the property other than to continue to use the location for its microwave tower and all associated equipment used in providing cable service to the city.  That site had been the topic of a bitter controversy involving a developer and residents in the area.  Al Vigil, a Brookfield developer, had announced plans to purchase the building and convert it into an apartment complex.  However, residents in the area voiced strong opposition to the plan, and urged that it not be rezoned for that purpose.   WDT



05 20       When the school bells ring at Douglas Elementary School next fall, Principal Charles Bruce will not be there to answer their call for the first time in 21 years.  Bruce, 60, who has decided to retire this spring after a lifelong career as teacher and administrator, has spent a lot of time in school halls.  Except for a one-year absence from the classroom to serve in the U.S. Navy, Bruce estimates he has spent the last 56 years as either a student, teacher or principal.  “I’ve been in a pretty big habit of doing that,” he said.    WDT


05 21       Dr. Suzanne S. Hotter will leave the largest elementary school in the state to become principal of Douglas and Concord schools in Watertown.  Hotter has served as assistant principal at a Verona school since August of 1986.  She will begin her stint in Watertown on July 1.  Hotter received her Ph.D. in educational administration from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, in 1986.  She achieved her educational specialty degree from that university in 1980, preceded by her master’s degree in special education there in 1979 and her bachelor’s degree in home economics at Iowa State University in 1964.   WDT



01 23       The owner of the old Douglas School, 505 Lincoln St., has proposed the development of a four-unit apartment building on the property.  The Watertown Planning Commission Monday heard about plans for the property, which is currently owned by Crown Cable, the firm that operates the cable television system in Watertown.  Joe Zuravle, regionalmanager for Crown Cable, said he has been approached by local contractors Kurt and Jim Lemminger to convert the former school building into an apartment building.  Currently, Crown Cableuses the basement of the building for its electronic receiving equipment.  A tower also is located on-site for the cable system.    WDT



02 27       A land division and changes to an existing conditional use permit for the former Douglas School property were approved by the Watertown Plan Commission.  The owner of the property, Marcus Cable, sought the changes in order to divide the lot into two parcels, each of which will be sold for single-family home construction.  The old school property has stood vacant since the building was razed about three years ago.   WDT



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Cross References:

                Chapter on Public Schools

1919 note: William H. Rohr taught school in the old frame school house where Douglas School now stands.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin