ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Nowack & Schmutzler

Schmutzler & Krier

Schmutzler & Oestreich

Schmutzler Furniture

Schmutzler Funeral Home

Schmutzler’s Hall

Red Apple Antiques

Tribeca GalleryCafe and Books


401 E Main


1957c, 401 E Main, 1950s-70s city assessor image, WHS_006_048b




Christian Schmutzler and family arrived in Watertown from Baveria in 1851, bringing with them skills in retail, banking and building. Christian was a builder by trade, having built the little Bavaian "Eagle House" on Cleveland Street, the old city hall, several public schools, and numerous dwellings.  He also built the family residence on 721 North Fourth Street and a cabinet/furniture shop next to the home on Green Street.


They were often called upon to make coffins, so in 1873, Christian and his son Edward, opened the Schmutzler Funiture and Undertaking Establishment on Fourth and Main Street, today the home of Tribeca Gallery Cafe & Books.  Edward's son, Oscar Sr., joined the firm in 1919, after returning from WWI.  In 1935, Oscar remolded the family home on 721 North Fourth Street.  Quoting the Watertown Daily Times, "adding a modern chapel, and display and preparation rooms."  The undertaking business moved from Main Street to North Fourth Street and the Schmutzler Funiture Store remained on Main Street.


Between 1954 and 1959, Oscar Sr. sons joined the undertaking and furniture store, Oscar Sr., also known as Hap, Donald and Robert.


After 110 years in business, in 1983, the family closed the Schmutzler Funiture Store, keeping the funeral home in operation.


In 1986, the family decided to retire from the funeral home business, selling the business to Raymond and Janet Vick.


Recognizing the needs of families, in 1999, Ray and Janet built a new, very modern funeral home to serve the families of today on 500 Welsh Rd. in Watertown.


The funeral home was renamed to Schmutzler-Vick Funeral Home & Cremation Service.  The design included a crematory on site, the first in Dodge and Jefferson Counties, being on the county line.  Built on one level, with plenty of natural light, wheel chair accessible bathrooms, family area, children's play area close to the chapel, music room and a family reception area, located across the hall from the chapel.  Our reception hall allows us to provide Hors D'oeuvres, sandwich buffets, and sit down dinners to desert, an option that has been received very well by the community.  The chapel and parking area is the largest in the area, again, keeping in mind the needs of today’s families.



05 30       O. D. PEASE POST NO. 94

A group of people in uniform standing in front of a building

Description automatically generated  

Decoration Day  <>  G.A.R. <> O. D. Pease Post No. 94

Meets 2nd and 4th Fridays in Schmutzler’s Hall, N. Fourth and E. Main



01 12       NOWACK, SCHMUTZLER & CO.



Purchased undertaking business of J. Jungman & Co.  /  Charles Nowack, Frank Nowack, Edward Schmutzler   (WR ad)



The undersigned would inform the public generally that they have associated themselves together under the firm name of Nowack, Schmutzler & Cos., for the purpose of carrying on the Furniture business, and will keep constantly on hand, at the old stand of Nowack Bros., on the corner of Main and Fourth streets.  A fine assortment of all kind of FURNITURE! Such as Parlor and Chamber Sets, Cane Seat and Wood Bottomed Chairs, etc., together with Common Furniture of every description.  The firm would also state that they have purchased the undertaking business of J. Jungman & Cos. and will keep on hand a varied assortment of Coffins, Caskets, Shrouds, etc. Funerals furnished with Hearse and Carriages on short notice.



1905       1905c, Nowack & Schmutzler & Co Furniture


08 09       A stranger giving the name of Fred. Beruns was arrested late Friday afternoon by policeman Bruegger upon complaint of Otto H. Nowack who charged Beruns with giving him a check on the Wisconsin National Bank for the sum of $65 when he had no funds or credit at the bank.  He entered the store shortly after the bank closed for the day and purchased $50 worth of furniture which was to be delivered and tendered in payment the check mentioned and received $15 in cash.  After the transaction, Mr. Nowack became suspicious that something was wrong and telephoned to W. F. Voss, an officer of the bank, asking if Beruns had any money in the bank, being informed that he had not.  He at once swore out a warrant for the arrest of the man, who was apprehended at the Junction, where he was waiting for a train to take him out of town.  When arrested, he had a number of blank checks and $14.75 upon his person.    WR


1909       Nowack & Schmutzler Co, furniture dealers



01 07       Nowark & Schmutzler dissolved; Schmutzler & Krier formed     WG


01 14       Odd Fellows forced to move as Schmutzler & Krier need the room     WG



Records, discs and cylinders.  Schmutzler & Krier, 401 Main Street     WG



Harry Krier of the firm of Schmutzler and Krier, has been licensed by the state board of health as a duly qualified embalmer and undertaker, having recently received his certificate from the secretary of the said board, C. A. Harper of Madison.  Both members of this popular firm are now full fledged undertakers and are better prepared than ever to take care of everything in the undertaking line.   WG


1911       Ad, Schmutzler & Krier


1913       Schmutzler & Oestreich, furniture dealers



1915 Ad, Schmutzler & Oestreich, furniture and funeral


07 22       BOLD ROBBERS

     A Clever Scheme Worked on Watertown Business House.


Friday afternoon the safe in the furniture store of Schmutzler & Oestreich at the corner of Main and Fourth streets was robbed of $18 in cash and a small amount in checks and money orders.  It is evident that two young men worked the scheme that deprived the firm of their cash. 


About 4 o’clock in the afternoon a young man entered the store and asked about lawn swings on display outside the building.  Oscar Schmutzler waited on the young man but did not go outside with him.  The fellow left and returned again in a short time and asked to be shown springs and mattresses and he was taken up stairs, and then he inquired about go-carts which were further from the stairway leading from the first to the second story.  He examined a collapsible go-cart and then went down stairs without purchasing and left the store. A short time previous to this another young man entered the store, bought a 25c bottle of furniture polish and tendered a $20 bill in payment. Mr. Schmutzler was unable to change the bill, and the fellow left, saying he would return later with the change to get the polish.  He evidently did return and robbed the safe, while Mr. Schmutzler was upstairs with the fellow’s accomplice.  On escorting the would-be purchaser of a go-cart to the door Mr. Schmutzler became suspicious and went to his safe and found that a neat robbery scheme had been pulled off on him.


The police were notified at once.  On investigation it was found that a young man answering the description of the one who called for the furniture polish had left a package at Louis Eggersgluess’ saloon next door east of the Schmutzler & Oestreich store, and it was found to be a bottle of furniture polish purchased at the furniture store of Carl F. Nowack, a few doors west.  The fellow also tendered a $20 bill in payment for the polish at Mr. Nowack’s store, and when Mr. Nowack pulled out a pocket book from his hip pocket to get the change, the fellow passed over five nickels in payment for the polish.  They evidently found conditions were not right at the Nowack store to work their scheme and passed on to the Schmutzler & Oestreich place. 


Up to the present time the fellows have not been caught and the chances are they are working their scheme in some far distant city.    WG




A new store front of the latest and most improved type will be installed by the Schmutzler Furniture Co. at their place of business at Main and Fourth streets this summer.  Work on the front will begin about the middle of June, it was stated today by Oscar E. Schmutzler.


The new front will be so arranged that the entrance to the store will be on Main Street at the Fourth Street end of the building.  The display window will be so arranged as to make an upper and lower window; the upper being part of a balcony which is to extend through the store on the east side of the store.  This will give much added floor space for the display of furniture.  The entrance will be level with the street and the entire front will extend as far as it does now; that is there will be no "moving out" toward the street.


The new front is to be of copper construction and will include only the ground floor.  When completed it will give the Schmutzler Furniture Co. one of the best store fronts in the city, it will add greatly to the beauty of the building and will serve to better the facilities for display.  The change involves a big expenditure, but Mr. Schmutzler feels that it will be well worth the price, for in making the change, he is giving to the city a greatly improved store.



The Harry Krier Co. has just completed the furnishing of a funeral home at 209 North Second Street.  The furniture of the home is beautiful and unusual in design, made of wicker finished in gold and frosted blue. There is a large room completely equipped to accommodate those in attendance at death and burial, a slumber room for the dead and an embalming room.  The effect is planned and carried out in an artistic manner.  The funeral home is the only establishment of its kind in Watertown and fills the long-wanted need.  Henry Hafemeister is associated with Harry J. Krier.











Located at 401 E Main is the newly opened Red Apple Antique and Furniture Shop.  Don and Alice Strube, the new owners, said they are delighted with the old three and a half story structure built in the late 1800s that still houses the old freight elevator for moving furniture.  Their shop carries an interesting variety of antiques and new country furniture from a very casual to a more formal look.  They have early primitives including pine harvest tables, country cupboards, and the more turn-of-the-century oak tables with square and round tops or the more formal traditional walnut, cherry and mahogany tables.



09 18       RED APPLE CLOSED

Refinishing an old broken down walnut chest was just the beginning of one Watertown family’s life business and love for antique furniture.  Alice and Don Strube will be selling the building where Red Apple Antiques and Furniture, 401 E. Main St., operates.  After the building is sold, Strube’s son, Alan, will continue the business from their home workshop on County Highway R.  Red Apple Antiques and Furniture has been in operation on Watertown’s Main Street for the past 25 years.  The Strubes purchased old furniture from various dealers, restored it and put it up for sale in the Main Street store.  As the antique industry has changed over the years, the Strubes’ business has changed.  Although they still offer various antique pieces at their Main Street store, their business has gone from mainly selling their refinished work to now mainly doing repairs and individual customer projects.




A new book store and cafe is being planned for downtown Watertown.  The Watertown Plan Commission Monday granted a conditional use permit to Julie Crnkovich, owner of Crimson and Vexin LLC, the proposed cafe and book store at 401 E. Main St., the former location of Red Apple Antiques.  The permit was issued under the condition that the site plans for Crimson and Vexin, also known as Tribeca Cafe and Books, are approved by the state.


Schmutzler Building became location for Tribeca GalleryCafe and Books in summer of 2009


                    Julie Crnkovich, owner


Image set:  WHS_005_974-978








Watertown’s Tribeca GalleryCafé & Books is planning to open a new store in Milwaukee’s Freshwater Plaza development, which will also be home to anchor store Cermak Fresh Market as well as Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, a fashion boutique, and more, reported the Milwaukee Business Journal.  The 180,000-square-foot development space will also include 76 apartments.


Earlier this month, Tribeca GalleryCafé & Books marked its 10th anniversary with a two-day celebration featuring live music, author events, sales, and cake.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin