ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


William Krebs

Main St Grocer


517 E Main St


605 E Main St

Business and home


517 E Main St



605 E Main St




10 26

Tuesday disclosed the fact that another forgery had been perpetrated in Watertown, adding one more to the long list of these depredations which have been worked here during the past few months.  The victim this time is William Krebs, the Main Street grocer.


On Thursday evening of last week a man entered Mr. Krebs's store and made a purchase of groceries amounting to a little over $2.  In payment, a check for $12 on the Wisconsin National Bank payable to Jas. Fremont and signed “Edward T. Bartlett,” was presented.  Thinking that the check had been issued by Edward L. Bartlett, the contractor for labor performed and not detecting the difference in the initial in the name, Mr. Krebs readily cashed the check.  His suspicions were not aroused, also for the reason that the fellow presenting the check was dressed and conversed like a laboring man.  The fellow made the claim that he had worked for Mr. Bartlett on the street improvement work at Jefferson and also made the claim that he had worked on sewer construction work here for Mr. Bartlett . . . The check was honored at the Bank of Watertown, but was refused and declared a forgery when presented at the Wisconsin National Bank, which was on Tuesday.


The party presenting the check at the Krebs store was a young man about twenty-seven years of age, of medium size and wore a mustache.  He was dressed like a workingman and his conversation would not lead to the belief that he was a rogue.



01 12       Fred Holzheur of Mitchell, South Dakota, is in the city, the guest of his cousin, Wm. Krebs.  Mr. Holzheur was born on the Milford Road near Hahn’s lake and left here thirty-five years ago, this being his first visit to Watertown since that time.  The visitor notes many wonderful improvements in the city since that time, as well as a great growth.  He remembers the general outlay of the city, but the change has been so marked that he can remember none of the buildings outside of the Cole block, which is practically the same as it was at that early date.  Mr. Holzheur will remain a week renewing old acquaintances.  He is now engaged in farming, while his older brother Henry is engaged in the farm implement business at Mitchell.



01 22       William Krebs [Jr], son of William Krebs [Sr] and wife of this city, died at Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday, January 19, 1909, of typhoid pneumonia.  Deceased was born April 24, 1869, in this city.  His wife, and two children survive him.  His parents were with him when he died.  His remains were interred at Omaha.   WG



03 07       WILLIAM KREBS (1845-1913)

Mr. William Krebs, one of our well known citizens, who conducted a grocery store here for the past thirty-nine years, passed away at his home, 605 Main Street at 6:30 Friday morning after an illness of several months duration.


Mr. Krebs was one of our most highly esteemed citizens whose courteous manner and interest in civic affairs of the city was widely known.  He was born in Germany June 25, 1845 and came to America in 1867.


Mr. Krebs served several terms as supervisor of the First ward and was treasurer of the local Odd Fellows lodge. He was also a member of the Modern Woodmen lodge and of the Watertown Retail Grocers’ association.


He is survived by his widow, one daughter, Miss Sidonia Krebs and two sons, Arthur Krebs, this city, Adolph Krebs. Charles City, lowa, and two grandchildren. T


The funeral was held Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock from the home and was under the auspices of the Modern Woodmen and Odd Fellow lodges.     The Watertown Weekly Leader, 07 Mar 1913







        Right:  605 E Main, Kreb’s bldg., prior to move






A Watertown commission that issues permits for exterior changes to buildings in the city’s historic district on Thursday rejected a plan to demolish a 115-year-old former grocery store on Main Street.  The Watertown Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously to deny a plan to tear down the building located at 605 E. Main St. and owned by the Koepsell family, owner of Hafemeister Funeral Home, Inc., at 611 E. Main St.  The cream-brick building exhibits exceptional preservation of its 19th-century character, according to the State Historic Society of Wisconsin.  And it may be one of two remaining original storefronts on Main Street.



Hafemeister Funeral Home is requesting an appeal of a Watertown commission’s decision to deny demolition of a 115-year-old Krebs building in the city’s historic district.  Miller Funeral Home Design & Construction, a company contracted by Hafemeister, has requested the appeal with the civil service commission/administrative appeals board.  City Clerk Mike Hoppenrath said no date has been set for the appeals process before the five-member commission/board. On July 28, Hafemeister, 611 E. Main St., was refused a permit by the Historic Preservation Commission to tear down the former Krebs grocery store at 605 E. Main St.  The former grocery store is adjacent to Hafemeister and currently a vacant warehouse.  Both buildings are owned by the Koepsell family.



Hafemeister Funeral Home, Inc., was given permission Wednesday to tear down a 115-year-old Main Street building it owns, known as the Krebs building.  An appeals board said it approved an application to demolish the cream-brick warehouse, and overturned a July decision by the Watertown Historic Preservation Commission.  The Watertown Civil Service Commission/Administrative Appeals Board cited the cost to renovate the Krebs building as a reasonable estimate.  That cost, $189,000, was estimated by a firm hired by the Koepsell family, which owns the vacant structure at 605 E. Main St.  The board said the $189,000 renovation cost is not justified for the building, deemed by the Koepsells as deteriorated and too expensive to repair.   WDT



The Watertown Common Council Tuesday upheld a decision allowing the demolition of the former Krebs building on Main Street.  On an 8-1 vote, aldermen backed the September ruling by the Watertown Civil Service Commission/Administrative Appeals Board, which gave Hafemeister Funeral Home, Inc. permission to tear down the 115-year-old Krebs building, 605 E. Main St., located in the city’s historic district.  In upholding the appeals board’s decision, the council turned down the Historic Preservation « Commission’s appeal to refuse demolition.  The commission claimed the building is historically significant and economically feasible to renovate.  Despite the council’s decision, demolition of the building may not occur.  The Koepsell family, owners of the Krebs building, is offering the building to the city or historic preservation commission along with $5,000 to relocate it.   WDT




The Watertown Plan Commission approved the concept of selling a portion of a city parking lot for the relocation of the historic former Krebs building downtown.  Commissioners unanimously agreed to the concept of selling the northern third portion of the lot at 208 S. First St.  Later in the day the finance committee recommended the sale at a price of $10,000.  That recommendation will come before the full council for action on Monday, April 2.  Commissioner Carol Bohlman abstained from voting on the matter because she proposed purchasing the lot space to relocate the Krebs building at 605 E. Main St. for potential commercial use.   WDT



Relocation of the Krebs building this morning to a riverfront location was a “smooth” operation.  Movers of the 115-year-old brick building were doing a “really good job,” Robert Hallett, owner of RJ Hallett House Moving in Beloit.  RJ Hallett supplied equipment for the move.  At about 9 a.m., the building arrived in the 200 block of South First Street after traveling from the 600 block of East Main Street, a distance of about nine city blocks.   WDT



        208 S. First St




Max Krebs

1876 - 1898


Krebs, Max, b. 1876, d. 1898, Co B 1st Wis Inf Sp AM War 1898


Watertown Republican, 10 19 1898


Saturday a soliciting committee in a few hours gathered a generous sum of money to defray the funeral expenses of Private Max Krebs.  This movement was taken without the knowledge or consent of the deceased's parents, and the liberality with which our citizens responded showed a spirit of patriotism and gratitude.


Watertown Republican, 10 19 1898


Watertown, too, has offered up her sacrifice at the altar of Mars and the recent war has claimed its one victim from this city in the person of Max Krebs.  It is true, the young soldier did not succumb upon the field of battle, in the midst of bloody carnage, but he faced death fighting the germs of fatal decease in a Southern camp, the dangers of which caused more suffering and deplorable results than actual warfare. While the taking away of his young life is sincerely regretted and has caused general sorrow, our city is thankful that the end is over and the fatalities are no greater.


Watertown Gazette, 10 21 1898


Private Max Krebs, son of William Krebs and wife of this city, died in the U.S. hospital at Jacksonville, Florida, on October 14, 1898, of typhoid fever.


Upon the second call for troops at the breaking out of the late war with Spain, young Kreb’s patriotism asserted itself and he enlisted in Co. B., First Wisconsin Volunteers, in what is known as the Fort Atkinson Co., he being the 10th member of that company to sacrifice his life in defense of his country.


June 21 he enlisted and went with his company into camp at Jacksonville.  A few weeks ago his regiment left Jacksonville and the members thereof went to their homes.  But Mr. Krebs, with a number of others, was too sick to undertake the journey home and remained behind.


He made a good fight against that dreadful disease, typhoid fever, and was on the road to recovery when he suffered a relapse and grew steadily weaker until death relieved him.


A few days before his death his mother reached him and did all a mother could to nurse and comfort him in his dying moments.


Previous to enlisting he was employed as a tinner by D. & F. Kusel.


He was 22 years of age and unmarried.


Sunday night his remains arrived here at 10:25 o’clock, about 500 citizens being at the depot to receive them, and were conveyed to his parents’ home at 605 Main Street.


Monday afternoon his funeral was held from his parents’ home to Turner opera house, where a public funeral was held.


Before leaving the home of the deceased Adjutant George Henzie, of the O. D. Pease Post, G.A.R., delivered an address in German.  The exercises at Turner opera house were opened with music by the Sinnissippi band and the Iroquois male quartet.


Major Charles H. Gardner then delivered an appropriate funeral address, after which Capt. R. C. Burchard of Co. B., under whom Private Krebs served, paid an eloquent tribute to the memory of the deceased as a man, citizen and soldier.


The opera house was appropriately draped in mourning and was packed to overflowing with people, and though the rain poured down in torrents during the afternoon, hundreds of people were unable to obtain admittance.


From Turner Opera House the funeral cortege wended its way to Oak Hill Cemetery in the following order:


Northwestern University Band

Northwestern University Cadets

German Old Soldiers’ Society

The Liederkranz

Members of the G.A.R.

Sinnissippi Band

Fire Department

Turner Society

Other Societies

Co. B., 1st Wisconsin Volunteers

City Council in Carriages


Lieutenant Colonel Solliday, Surgeon F. C. Moulding and Private George Aumann of the Second regiment on horseback headed the procession, Lieut. Col. Solliday being in command.


Five armed comrades of Co. B. acted as the guard of honor and six members of the same company were pall-bearers.


Arriving at Oak Hill Cemetery, salutes were fired by the military and the usual military services were conducted, and the remains of Private Krebs were laid to rest to await the final bugle call.


It was the largest and most impressive funeral ever held here, and speaks well not only for the character of the dead soldier, but for the patriotism of the people.


The deceased was one of Watertown’s most esteemed young men, and his death has caused many a silent tear to be shed.  As a boy at school, as a fellow-workman and as a soldier, he was a model young man, possessed of the highest traits of manhood, which were truly exemplified when he went to the defense of his country; hence all who knew him could not help but honor and respect him.


He died for a good cause, the defense of his country and for the relief of a half-starved and persecuted people; hence the bereaved parents and family, no doubt find solace in their sadness when they view the matter in this light.


About thirty members of Co. B. came up from Ft. Atkinson to attend the funeral, and while here they were entertained and given dinner and supper by the Woman’s Relief Corps in the G.A.R. Hall.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin