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Memorial Park

 

1940s, Hartig Brewery in background        WHS_PC266

 

1925

02 18       MEMORIAL PARK FOR CITY NOW ASSURED

Committee Will Buy Properties for New Park

Memorial Park proposed for “brewery lot.”  Current location of City Hall, Police & Fire depts.

 

Watertown’s Memorial Park was under discussion at the city council meeting.  The memorial park proposition will soon become a reality.  The Memorial Park has been under discussion for some time and the city has already purchased the tract of land on Rock River between Cady and Jones streets known as the "brewery lot."

 

Properties on the east end of the block, which includes the tract owned by the city, and the property on the southeast corner of the tract, however, are still owned by individuals.  It has been proposed to purchase these properties and include the entire block in the memorial park area.  This matter was taken up by the council last evening and there seemed little opposition to such a purchase. 

 

Members of the park board appeared before the council and spoke in favor of the establishment of a memorial park to include the whole block between Rock River and North Second Street from Cady to Jones streets.

 

Those who appeared were Owain T. Hughes, Mrs. Eli E. Fischer and G. M. Gahlman.  A number of aldermen also strongly endorsed the idea and the building and grounds committee and the city attorney were instructed to go ahead with the proposition and purchase the additional property.

 

The prices for the property include $6,500 for two houses and lots on which the houses are located.  These are owned by Mrs. Mae Davler.  The sum of $2,500 is asked for two lots owned by Mrs. Sophie Delmel and $7,500 is asked by Reinhold Neumann for the house and lot owned by him.

 

Ex-Mayor Wertheimer also appeared before the council and stated that if the park plan be put into a reality that a bandstand be erected on the premises.  He spoke strongly in favor of the proposition but stated that he was not there to dictate the council's notion, but rather to present his viewpoint and that the council should be allowed to do as it saw fit.

 

It was pointed out that much of the money spent in buying the properties would be gotten back by selling the houses and moving them to other lots.  A fund of approximately $9,000 is also being held for the use of the park board in converting the land into a park.  This is the accumulated interest from a fund which was created by the late Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Lewis.    WDTimes

 

1927      MEMORIAL PARK DEDICATED

 

1930      MOWDER-HILL STATUE.  Fountain Statue: “Phillis” the bird girl

   Donated to the city in 1930 by Mrs. Carry Mowder Hill in memory of the Mowder and Hill families and installed in Memorial Park.  View is to the north and the building in the background was the tasting room of the Hartig Brewery.  Statue moved to Octagon Museum grounds in 1970. 

 

1939

                  Police photo taken in Memorial Park, Hartig Brewery in background

 

1940s

 

More people here are familiar with the old beer cellars that are located under Memorial Park, which was once the site of the Fuermann brewery.  After the brewery was destroyed and remained only a ruin and an eyesore the old cellars came into partial view and boys playing on the lot used them for hideouts.  When the city acquired the property and the development of the park began one of the first tasks was to fill in the old passages.  A part of the park area caused trouble for years.  A lot of old refuse, tin cans, etc. had been used to fill in a portion of the place and over the years a section of it began to cave in.  This caused a great deal of trouble for city and park board officials and the great memorial arch,  which originally stood at the southwest entrance of the park, had to be repaired and replaced, as the settling ground caused it to crack and break.  After repairs had been made several times and a portion of the original arch had been removed entirely the entire structure was torn down and rebuilt at the southeast entrance of the park where it now stands.  That section of the park had never been used for cellars and consequently provided a better location for such a heavy structure as the arch.

 

      

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Plan to Dismantle City’s Honor Roll

 

City Officials and Veterans Groups to Discuss New Records

 

Watertown Daily Times, 12 18 1946

 

Plans for the dismantling of the present World War II honor roll in Memorial Park and working out a system for a permanent record of men and women who served in the war are to be taken up at a meeting of a city council committee and representatives of the Pitterle-Beaudoin post of the American Legion, the Beaudoin-Draeger-Koehler post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Watertown garrison of the Army and Navy union to be held in the near future.

 

The present honor roll is to be torn down completely under the plan.  But what other means will be used to make the records permanent are still to be worked out.

 

The honor roll has served its purpose and has now reached the point where it is deteriorating and must be done away with if it is not to stand as an eyesore to the community; the city council was told last night.  Some veterans have already protested the present state of the roll.

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Later:  Honor Roll Veteran's wall, along sidewalk by High School on E Main St

 

1950s

                   FAIR DAY IN MEMORIAL PARK AREA

  Image Portfolio   1950s portfolio of Images       Fair Day held on N Second St., Memorial Park area.

 

1961

11 14       SANTA CLAUS HOUSE / CANDY STICK PALACE

After flying over the city to announce his arrival, Santa Claus will land at the Watertown Airport next Friday afternoon at 2:20 o’clock, make a quick trip to the recreation building and join the parade which is scheduled to get underway without delay soon after.  The Candy Stick Palace where Santa will make his headquarters will be placed in Memorial Park.  First plans were to locate it in Madison Street on the Bank of Watertown parking lot but it was decided Memorial Park will offer better facilities and that is where it will go up next week.

 

The parade next Friday will start from the recreation building at 2:30 p.m. and will go through Main Street and wind up at Memorial Park.  The Watertown Municipal Band will join the parade as will the Watertown High School band and 1961 homecoming queen, Karen Ahlhorn and her court.

 

The Candy Stick Palace will be open every night on which Watertown stores are open, from 6:30 to 8:30 o’clock as well as every Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 5 o’clock, and Santa will be there at such times to greet children, give each one a favor and camera service will be available for those who wish to have their picture taken with Santa Claus.

 

Choral groups have been contacted for providing concerts at the Memorial Park band shell near which Santa’s Candy Stick Palace will be located during the holiday season.  Santa’s arrival will feature the start of the Christmas shopping season in Watertown and starting that night the city’s new street decorations will be lighted up for the first time.      WDT

 

1962

02 02       By a vote of 12 to 2 and with no debate whatever, the common council last night approved Memorial Park as a site for Watertown’s proposed new city hall, which is to include both fire and police department headquarters.  Last night’s approval had been foreshadowed on Monday when the aldermen held their committee meeting and at which only two aldermen — Erich E. Nuernberg and Kenneth Wilkes — indicated they would oppose the plan.  They cast the only two negative votes on the resolution last night, a resolution which was introduced by Alderman William Wiegand, the council’s president.   WDT

 

02 15       Alderman Kenneth Wilkes, second ward, remains the only holdout in the common council on the proposal calling for a new city hall, including both police and fire department facilities, in Memorial Park.  On a roll call vote at last night’s meeting of the council to engage the services of William Horne, Madison architect, in preparing the plans and specifications for the proposed building, Wilkes cast the dissenting lone vote which was 12 to 1, with Alderman Floyd Shaefer absent.  The plans for the new building are expected to be ready for submission at the March 6 meeting of the council.  In addition to giving the go ahead signal to the architect, the council approved a resolution calling for soil borings in the Memorial Park area to determine construction factors.   WDT

 

1962      MEMORIAL ARCH IN PARK REMOVED

04 24       The memorial arch in Memorial Park which, since the park dedication in 1927, has contained the memorial inscription to Watertown’s war dead, has been removed to make way for the new use for the park — the site of Watertown’s new $817,000 city hall, a project which is just getting underway and which is due to be completed by the summer of 1964.  The late Henry Richard Little, Chicago Tribune columnist who wrote the words used on the inscription, was the principal speaker at the time the park was dedicated.   WDT

 

1963      COMMON COUNCIL GIVES GO AHEAD SIGNAL

04 24       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

 

1964

04 08       CITY’S HONOR ROLL

The request from the Watertown Veterans Council that the city’s honor roll be placed somewhere in the new Watertown Municipal Building or city hall now nearing completion in Memorial Park is being considered and will in all probability be carried out.  The veteran’s council has also requested that the name of the present City Park, between South Third and South Fourth Streets, be changed to Veterans Memorial Park and this is also to receive serious study in the next few weeks.   WDT

 

1966

01 30       HONOR ROLL RUNAROUND

Mayor Robert P. White and aldermen were told last night by the Watertown Veterans Council, which constitutes the city’s three largest service organizations, that they are tired of “getting the runaround” on setting up an Honor Roll listing the names of Watertown men who served in both World Wars and the Korean Conflict.  John Kube, serving as the principal spokesman for the Veterans’ Council, told the meeting last night that since March 1952, when the Honor Roll matter was first brought up there has been nothing but delay and no progressive action.  Mr. Kube cited dates and years in which meetings have been held to see the plan through and said, “We have got the runaround to date.  We got the runaround during Mayor Byron F. Wackett’s administration; we got the runaround during the tenures of City Managers Dean Van Ness and Claire C. Congdon and we have so far gotten the runaround from Mayor White — it’s time you got this thing moving so we suitably honor our men who served their country, as was originally intended when we brought this matter up the first time and through successive requests since 1952.”   WDT

 

08 02       PLANS FOR HONOR ROLL

Plans for Watertown’s honor roll, worked out by the Watertown Veterans Council and a common council committee, were relayed to the council last night.  A monument, suitably inscribed, will be erected on the outside of the municipal building while a machine, with rotating shelves on which will be placed the names of men who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict will be located in the lobby of the building.  Lighted and manipulated by pressing a button, the shelves will move to the desired position to reveal the names.  Those will be listed alphabetically by the three wars.  The old Memorial Arch plaque, which was located in the former Memorial Park, will be placed in Veterans Memorial Park, formerly City Park.   WDT

 

 

 

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