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John Schempf Home

803 Clyman Street


click to enlarge


Street view of this location  






The former Schempf residence located at the corner of 8th and Clyman streets has been remodeled into three apartments it was announced today by its owner, Dr. F. E. Kosanke.  The Kosanke family occupies the first floor and the second floor consists of two 3-room modern apartments.  A separate entrance to the second floor is located on 8th Street.


The residence was built by the late John Schempf in 1895 and in remodeling it was found that the architects of that day knew how to build for permanency.  The original shingle roof served 40 years and was still in fair condition.  Of interest was the discovery that the modern streamline effect in wall decoration is not new.  When the several layers of wall paper in one of the rooms was removed it was found that at one time the walls were painted "streamline" in colors more contrasting than is the vogue today. 


The trend of today is toward smaller living quarters and this residence in its attractive location has been modernized without greatly changing the original design of the house.




This house was the home of John Schempf between c. 1900 and around 1920. John Schempf was related to George and Leonard Schempf who founded the Schempf Brothers store in 1848. The store grew to become the largest and most important department store in the community. John and Edward Schempf continued the tradition of family ownership until the store closed in 1936.


This house has historical interest as the home of John Schempf, one of the second generation of Schempfs to operate the Schempf Brothers department storem Watertown's most significant retail business. While John Schempf was important in the later operation of the Schempf business, he was not the founder or long-timed original owner.


Architecture and History Inventory record




Clyman, 803

1911, circa, John Schempf home, WHS_001_PC_091

Clyman, 803

1920, John Schempf home, WHS_006_969

Clyman, 803

John Schempf (sitting outside home?), WHS_006_965



Clyman, 803

1954, Frederick & Leona Kosanke home, WHS_016_096

Clyman, 803

1960, circa, Former home of John Schempf, WHS_016_198

Clyman, 803

1960, circa, Former home of John Schempf, WHS_016_199





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin