ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


High Schools



1863-1882           Ducasse building

1883-1896           Western Avenue

1897-1917           Union School No.1 (later Armory)

1918                     South Eight Street


There were many different colors used as class colors in the early days.  Purple and gold, for example.  Possibly at one time each class had their own colors.  It was until the 1930s that blue and white became the "official" school colors.



The Ducasse building was the very first school in which high school subjects were taught.


High School was next in the rear part of the former Armory building


Then it was moved to the then new Western Avenue School (later called Webster) with grade 6, 7, 8 on the first floor.


In 1898 the Armory was enlarged and High School moved there with two eighth grades on the first floor front.  There were the only eighth grades in Watertown until 1902.  Bertha Marquardt and then Mary Crangle were the teachers.  They had departmental work.


< Ducasse building, c1863, became high school    


The above picture [1] shows Watertown’s FIRST HIGH SCHOOL building. 

The school was located in a small frame building at North Fifth and Jones streets [417 Jones]. 


It was built by Justice Ducasse, who for many years was a police justice in early Watertown.  The first principal of the High School during the Civil War period was Professor Theodore Bernhard. 


It was in this school that the first text books in Wisconsin were issued. 


It was also during this period that a commercial course was offered to a high school class for the first time in the history of the state.  The building, later used as a restaurant and then as the residence of the late Herman Heinz, was subsequently razed.



09 09       Rollin L. Reed, Principal; Miss L. A. Rockwell, Assistant   WD

12 23       High School is a miserable structure . . . No effort towards the erection of a better, more commodious building   WD



10 12       Miss Susan Perry opened private school   WR



05 02       Second Ward High School

Prof. Theodore Bernhard, the principal of this school, held a public examination last Monday at the Musical Association rooms, in Dennis’s Block, last Monday.  The exercises were conducted by the principal and his assistants.  About two hundred scholars, who have attended this school during the last six months, were present.  All, without exception, gave satisfactory evidence of the thorough drilling of which they have been subjected and exhibited a degree of proficiency in their several studies that reflected credit on themselves and on their teachers.  There were 30 or 40 boys, from 12 to 16 years old, who have been under the immediate instruction of Mr. Bernhard, of whom their teacher, as well as parents, may justly feel proud.  Many of them have not their superiors in this city for scholastic attainments.  Spectators must have been impressed with the success of Mr. Bernhard’s method of instruction, from the prompt and accurate manner in which his pupils answered the questions put to them during the exercises.  The German portion of our citizens may well feel a deep interest in sustaining this school.   WD


Early School Days Told by Old Resident


Pranks and Intellectual Feats Are Revealed

1936 article

The old-fashioned building at the corner of North Fifth and Jones streets was the first high school building in the city. 


The first principal of the school was Professor Theodore Bernhard, William Rohr was assistant.  Other teachers were Mrs. William Norris and Miss Cooley.  Among the pupils of the Civil war period or late in the 50's were Honorable W. F. Voss, C. H. Jacobi, Edward Racek, Louis Merkel, Henry Bertram, Charles Fuermann, Max Gaebler, John Mallaney, Mrs. A. J. Earling nee Peebles, Oscar Cole and Henry Peebles.


The following sketch was written by a former student [date of writing uncertain]:


"The quaint old Ducasse building, about 50 years ago, housed the beginning of our public high school.  The faculty consisted of Theodore Bernhard, William H. Rohr, Misses Vestey, Cooley and Merriam.  The studies were not as numerous as they are today, but the upper class did trigonometry and surveying and the pupils could recite history by the page, though they had never looked into a history book.  In those days people were too poor to buy many text books and the teachers were obliged to do real teaching.


"Professor Bernhard was a remarkably successful teacher.  When a pupil showed precocity in a certain direction, he would coach him on that line and develop an exhibition stunt for the public examination at the end of the year.  A merchant named Arnim offered prizes to the pupils at this examination and William Voss, fourteen years old, took the first prize with a remarkable geographical recitation, and Max Gaebler, twelve years old, did the Pythagoras theorem.  Professor Bernhard, to the end of his career, frequently would refer with much pride to these feats of his pupils.


"Schoolroom discipline was a little wild and woolly, and the rod was freely used.  Billy Beurhaus, a chunky lad, sat next to Oscar Cole, who was tall, and thin as a sliver.  Whenever there was mischief in their neighborhood, Billy would get a licking without much investigation, and was told to pass the surplus over to Oscar.  When the professor wrote on the blackboard, his back turned to the class, the boy who remained on his seat was considered not much of a "feller."  The alacrity with which they regained their seats was simply amazing.  Hugo Jacobi was the tallest boy in school and could run like a doe.  The game at recess usually was "pullaway," with Jacobi pitted against the whole crowd.  When stormy weather kept the boys indoors, it was not unusual to overturn the stove.  In fact, Jim Larkin acquired some reputation on that score and there seemed to be general disappointment when, sometimes, he did not rise to the occasion.


"Notwithstanding these ebullient excesses, considerate decorum was observed toward the girl pupils.  Some of these were very bright. 


"For the purpose of German dictation, the German pupils were always separated from the "English.”  A newcomer, John Mallaney, did not obey this order and kept his seat.  When the question was tartly asked whether he was German or English, he told the professor with much emphasis that he was an Irishman.


"The old building now looks very small.  But in those days, it seemed so very, very large."



10 15       Second Ward High School

This new school building – the largest and most commodious in our city – is so far finished that it is occupied for the purpose for which it was built today.  It is well furnished, divided into apartments of convenient size and well adapted for the accommodation of the classes that will attend there.  It is a decided credit to our city and supplies a want in our educational facilities that has long been felt.   WD



08 11       Watertown Seminary   WD



The Upper High School Grade from 1872-1876. 

Two rooms on the upper floor of Union School, No. 1.   Theodore Bernhard.



07 03       Exercises by High School Students   WD



               Charles F. Viebahn appointed superintendent of schools and principal of High School  WDT




Watertown High School from 1881 to 1904

From 1913 High School Orbit

    (first Orbit published)

by Charles P. Viebahn

1866, First High School

Theodore Bernhard


In the summer of 1879, after the death of Theodore Bernhard, under whose principalship the Watertown High School had been established in 1866, and who had been its efficient head ever since, the board of education offered me the vacant position.  Being at that time bound by contract to the position I then held at Manitowoc I had to decline the offer.


In the fall of 1880, the position having again become vacant the board of education, supported by the urgent invitation of many citizens, again offered it to me.  I agreed to accept the position on condition that the school superintendency be combined with the high school principalship. My condition was accepted.


The duties of city superintendent of schools had hitherto combined what are now the duties of the clerk of the board of education with most of the administrative duties of the superintendent.


Rohr, W. H.


W. H. Rohr, who had held the office of superintendent before the change was made, was now appointed to the new position of clerk of the board of education. He had formerly been a successful teacher, and during the thirteen years I was associated with him in the administration of school affairs, he did much to lighten my work. His excellent qualities as an official have always been recognized.


I entered upon the duties of my position as superintendent and principal April 19, 1881, and continued to perform them until July 1, 1904.  I am requested to give a brief account of our high school during these 23 years.



High School part of

Union School No. 1 (Main St)


In 1881 the home of the high school was in what was then called Union School No. 1, now a part of the high school building.  It occupied only two rooms on the upper floor of that building.  As the attendance increased and more room was needed for the lower grades, the boards of education in 1883 determined to erect a new building.


1881 definition of

High School

In 1881 the term high school did not mean exactly what it meant in 1904.


Formerly the eighth grade was a grade of the high school. In 1884 it was made one of the grammar grades.


Formerly the school year was divided into three terms of instruction, beginning with the spring term at the end of the Easter vacation. Since 1888 the school term has been divided into semesters and the year of instruction was made to end in June. This was one of the most difficult chances to make, because it interfered with an old German custom. For some years the fourth year high school class existed during the spring term only, the regular annual promotions taking place at Easter and the commencement exercises in June.


It was our aim not to allow the high school to constitute an entirely separate institution. To indicate this it was determined not to use the college terms freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, but in order to show their relation to the grades, to use the term ninth grade, tenth grade, eleventh grade and twelfth grade. But this effort proved an utter failure. The boys and girls persisted in using the college terms.


Only two courses of study were followed in the high school, the general science course and the modern classical course. There were some optional studies - bookkeeping, commercial arithmetic, drawing, and later, shorthand and typing.  But we could not teach all the subjects that should have been taught, nor divide up our classes to the best advantage because our teaching force was too small. The principal, who should have had the opportunity to give most of his time to supervision, generally had to teach five or six classes a day.


Most of the teachers employed during these years were interested in their work and did good service. When it was found to be desirable that shorthand be taught, one of the teachers devoted his summer vacation to the study of this art, and in the fall he was prepared to teach a large class in shorthand. 


In 1881 and during a few years that followed, the high school had no supplementary or extra literary reading matter. The school library contained a few good books for references, but no books to speak of that boys and girls would care to take home to read.


All this has since changed for the better; classical reading matter has been supplied, the school library has been supplied with many good books, and the pupils have been given the advantage of using the public library.


The natural sciences had been given a prominent place on the course of study, but the apparatus provided was insufficient for the proper teaching of physics and chemistry. As it is easier to supply the most necessary apparatus and material for the teaching of chemistry than for the teaching of physics, the former was for a time made the more prominent study.


The number of assistant teachers required for the high school during these years, was as follows: 1881, one assistant; 1882, two; I884, three; 1893, four; 1902, five; 1903, an additional teacher to teach drawing two weeks each month.



1883      High School part of Webster School, Western Avenue 

   The 1883 construction of the building, later known as the Webster School, the rooms on (the) upper floor of which were assigned to the high school, and those on the lower floor to grammar grades.


06 27       Contract Let. Last week the board of education entered into a contract with C. Schmutzler for the erection of the First Ward School building at the sum of $14,500, this being $100 lower than the bid of J. Trumbull of Whitewater.  The bid of W. Quentmeyer, although lower in price, was not satisfactory to the Board in certain requirements such as binding the board to advance money for material on the ground, etc.  Mr. Schmutzler binds himself to have the building under roof and windows in it by December 1, and fully completed by July 1, next.   WR


06 27       Graduation of the High School

Public schools closed this week.  Friday the graduation of the high school will be held at Union School No. 1, with the graduating exercises and presentation of diplomas.  Eight scholars will graduate.  On Saturday all the public schools of the city will hold a grand picnic on Concordia Island.  The scholars and teachers will move in procession to the picnic grounds at one o'clock p.m.  WR


07 04       The ground is expected to be broken this week by Mr. Schmutzler for the erection of the new First Ward School and the work proceeded with as rapidly as possible.   WR


1885      The earliest use of the wordgosling” when referring to Watertown high school students.


1886      Union School No. 1, Grade School




Before 1897 this was Union School No. 1.  In 1897 it became the high school.  That is why there are young children in the image.


The Watertown High School, located on the north side of Main Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets.  Note Wesley Methodist Church in the distance on the far left.  This image dates to about 1895.  The high school was located here until 1917, when it moved to South Eighth St.  Structure became the Watertown Armory and still later the Youth Activity Center (YAC).  It was torn down in the late 1960s and the Welcome Inn was constructed on this site.  Today the site of the Heritage Inn Hotel.


--------   The average salary paid in 1887, including high school teachers, was $45 per month; in 1908 it was $60.50

--------   1887 high school had four teachers, including the superintendent; in 1908 it had nine, including the superintendent




   S. Fifth St and Western Ave.

Constructed in 1883 as Watertown High School.  Became Webster grade school in early 1910’s.  Demolished in 1957.  Today site of Trinity-St. Luke’s Lutheran School.



12 12       The students of the Watertown high school has secured Professor Wescott for lectures at the Concordia Opera house, tomorrow afternoon and evening, on China, Korea and Japan, graphically illustrated with 100 colored stereopticon views, each 15X15 feet in size.  This entertainment will no doubt prove very interesting, in view of the recent war disturbances in these countries.  The hour for the matinee lecture is 4 o’clock; evening 8 o’clock. Admission – adults 25 cents; children 10 cents.   WR






1898       Union School No. 1

05 11       Last evening the Board of Education considered the proposals offered for the remodeling and enlarging of the School No. 1 into a high school.  The bids were in the main made on different branches of the work, only one bid being received for the entire contract.  Work is expected to begin next week and the building will be pushed to completion by September 15.  The total amount of the contracts let figures about $10,800.   WR


1898      High School part of Union School No. 1 addition (Main St)

In 1898 additional room was provided by building an addition to Union School No. 1.  The part added is the present assembly room of the high school, with its cloak rooms and the rooms on the first floor directly below.  Alterations were also made in the basement and other parts of the building.  A room for manual training was provided. 


The enrollment of pupils of the high school in 1881 was fifty-two.  In 1878, under the principalship of Mr. Bernard, it had reached 145.  In 1904 it was 215.


Increased attendance in the high school is due to several causes.  Among these the following may be mentioned:


1. Increase in wealth. There are more people now in our city who can afford to give their children a secondary education than there were formerly.


2. Higher appreciation of the value of high school education. Formerly most of our citizens held the opinion that an elementary education is sufficient for all except the few that want to prepare for a learned profession. This notion is slowly changing.


3. The course of study has been extended and made to contain more subjects which most people regard as of more practical value than the usual staple subject of the ordinary high school course.


4. More teachers are employed. This permits the assignment of each to the branches which he can teach best.


5. Occasionally, the too rapid promotion of pupils and admitting them to the high school before they are properly prepared for it.



The new high school building will be open for inspection to the citizens of Watertown on Monday, January 2, from the hours of one to four in the afternoon.  School commissioners and teachers will be present to receive all visitors.  By order of the Board of Education.  /  C.F. Viebahn, Supt. of Schools.   WR




The teachers and prospective teachers of Dodge and Jefferson counties will be given an opportunity to attend a summer school to be held in this city at the High school building July 7th, to August 1st.  There has long been a desire on the part of many teachers of these two counties to have a summer school located at some central point such as Watertown, and to have the work of instruction such as will best prepare them for the county teachers examinations.  This school is organized to meet these demands.  The course of study will include all the old as well as new branches required for the three grades of teacher certificates.  No attempt will be made to give systematic professional training, as that will be the function of the summer institutes to follow.  The school will also afford high school students an excellent opportunity for academic review of common and high school branches.  Students intending to write for certificates in Jefferson County will be given an opportunity to do so on the last day of the session.



06 28       COMMENCEMENT

A very large audience greeted the class of 1904 of the High school at its graduating exercises held at Turner Opera House on the evening of the 23rd instant.  Every seat in the house, including the galleries, had been reserved and assigned upon application to friends of the graduates, students of the upper classes of the public schools and citizens generally.  Some who had not been able to obtain seats found standing room in the aisles and doorways.  As usual the stage had been tastefully decorated by the junior class, aided by the teachers, the decorations consisting of palms, wild ferns and masses of ox-eye daisies, together with liberal quantities of gold and white bunting hung in festoons below the foot-lights and above the platform.


Unfortunately, just as the exercises were about to begin, the electric lights were extinguished, delaying the opening for half an hour.  Finally a few gas jets were lighted, a few lamps brought in, and at 8:45 Supt. C. F. Viebahn announced that owing to the delay there would be a change in the program.  He stated that the instrumental duets would be deferred until more lights could be obtained, and that his own address would be omitted, and the exercises would open with a history of the class of 1904 by Josephine Voss.  This exercise proved to be an enjoyable “give-away,” combining history with prophesy in a humorous vein, the individuals being dealt with better understood and appreciated by the class than by the general public.  Miss Voss’ number was a decided success.




At a regular meeting of the board of education a matter of considerable importance was disposed of.  It was the adoption of a report favorable to the establishment of a night school in the high school building for the benefit of the young men and young ladies of the city who are unable to attend the day schools by reason of the fact that they are employed in the factories or otherwise engaged in earning a livelihood.  Chairman Voss said they [the committee on teachers and instruction] was not overly sanguine as the experiment had been tried here in the past without success.  They were willing however to risk the venture, realizing that there were more young ladies and young gentlemen in the city than there were then.  The report stated that the members of the committee had taken the matter up with the superintendent of schools and three of the assistants of the high school and they had concluded to recommend the holding and maintaining of such an evening school.  They recommended that it be held in the high school building for a term of four months, commencing Thursday, Nov. 15, 1906, instructions to be given twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays.  It was further recommended that the male teachers of the high school be employed at a compensatory salary . . .


11 17       The night school opened at the high school building last evening under quite favorable circumstances.  The attendance, however, was not as large as was expected, at least by some of the members of the board of education which authorized the opening of the school at its last meeting.  One of the members of the board last evening when informed by a Leader representative that the enrollment was twenty-nine, expressed surprise and said he thought it would be at least fifty.  . . . Superintendent Roseman also thought there would be a larger enrollment ... He is of the opinion that the attendance will increase, especially when it becomes known and the fact of the benefits becomes appreciated. It should not, however take coaxing or persuasion to increase the number of students. There are many young men seen nightly loafing on the street corners and young ladies gadding the streets who would do well to take advantage of this opportunity . . .


12 16       The public night school has closed for the holiday season.  The new feature in the public educational institution of our city will reopen on Thursday evening, Jan. 3rd.  The night school has proven a great success and many of the young people of the city who are engaged in earning a livelihood in factories, stores and offices are taking advantage of this excellent means of adding to their store of knowledge.  Superintendent Roseman and the teachers in charge are well pleased with the success of the school thus far.  Even some of the members of the board of education who were opposed, in a way, to the school, now realize that no mistake was made in launching this new department . . . Those who have attended thus far have expressed their intention of returning at the reopening and it is more than probably that several new students will be enrolled.  This is a rare opportunity and there should be many more in a position to reap the benefits.



     Graduation Class



06 18       Commencement   WL

06 27          To use the phraseology of the theatrical people, the seniors of the Watertown High School held the boards at the Turner Opera House last evening, presenting their class play, "All On Account of the Professor."  The young people not only "held the boards", but they held the rapt attention of their audience which fairly packed the hall.  The young folks acquitted themselves in a very credible manner and that their work was appreciated was amply evidenced in the generous applause which came with frequency.

It was no doubt the means of giving permanency to high school class plays in Watertown and it is safe to predict that hereafter it will be an annual event to which each senior class will look forward to with great expectancy, as will also be the case with friends and patrons of this local institution of learning.  Each member of the cast carried out their respective parts without a hitch and in a manner that reflected great credit upon the senior class of 1908.   WL

09 11          Re-shingling portion of the High School; L. Wright manual training teacher; Eighth grade transferred to School No. 4.

11 13          Playgrounds proposed for vacant lots; later site for High School   WG



01 22       Webster Debating Society officers elected   WG

01 22       Manual training and drawing, new dept   WG

07 02       Commencement exercises, 42 grads   WG

07 02       Last Monday evening there was a large attendance at the 21st annual reunion of the Watertown High School Alumni Association . . .    WG

08 20       Ratio maintained pupils and assistants   WG

08 27       Mechanical drawing sets   WG



01 21       Mrs. Gordon E. Bacon entertained teachers and her Latin class   WG

01 22       Manual training and drawing, new dept   WG

01 29       Junior Prom for Seniors    WG

03 11       Boys' and girls’ declamatory contests   WG

03 11       Inter-class basketball games at the Turner   WG

03 25       Thieves enter High School   WG

04 22       Prof. B. E. McCormick, first assistant principal, resignation   WG

04 29       Class honors for the year   WG

06 10       Senior class play    WG

06 17       Debate on immigration laws    WG

06 24       Commencement   WG

06 24       Condition of High School    WG

07 01       Twenty-second annual reunion of High School   WG



03 02       High School Debate—The High School debate at the High School building last Friday night was a very interesting affair, the question under debate being State Ownership of Water Power in Wisconsin.  The Watertown team, composed of Peter Brooks, Philip Quentmeyer and George Lewandowski had the affirmative side of the question and the Beaver Dam team had the negative.  Wm. F. Voss of this city presided at the meeting and I. O. Hubbard, principal of the Fond du Lac High school, David Bogue, attorney of Portage, and A. M. Jones, principal of the Lake Mills school, officiated as judges.  The judges decided two in favor of Beaver Dam and one in favor of Watertown.   WG


03 16       State Superintendent Carey Compliments Watertown High School

Mr. James Moore, President of Board of Education, Watertown, Wisconsin

Dear Sir:

I am in receipt of the report of Inspectors Terry and Borden of their visit to your High School on March 7th.


The report as a whole is very favorable, especially considering the number of pupils per teacher, and the inspectors give the school a good ranking among the high schools of the state.


The discipline and general attitude were excellent and the recitations were well conducted by the teachers, though in some cases there did not seem to have been a rigid enough insistence upon thorough preparation by the students of the assigned lessons.  Apparently, if there is any special problem in the school it is that of securing harder study on the part of the considerable number of the pupils.  With the excellent management and the strong force of teachers which the school has at present this more rigid insistence upon the proper amount of work by the pupils should not be difficult.


This and various other matters relating to school work were fully discussed in a faculty meeting held after school.


The equipment and janitor service are satisfactory.


The inspectors note a large increase in the enrollment since the last visit.  It has now reached what should be considered the extreme limit for the number of teachers.  With an average of over 30 pupils per teacher it is self-evident that the teachers must be overburdened with work and that it is impossible to meet the needs of individual pupils or of the school as a whole in a thoroughly efficient degree.


The building, too, as you are no doubt fully aware, is too small for so large a school.


I sincerely hope that you will seriously consider both of these questions and that you can see your way clear to increase the number of teachers this year if possible — if not, than certainly next year — and also that provision can be made for adequate accommodations in the near future.


The growth of your school is very gratifying and indicates an excellent sentiment toward education in your community, but it should be remembered that it also brings added responsibility in the matter of providing increased facilities if a high standard of work is to be maintained.


Assuring you of my interest in the success of your school, I remain,


Very truly yours

C. P. Carey, State Superintendent   WG


   Class of 1911, 50 year reunion, 1961.   Watertown Historical Society Collection



07 20       School Superintendent’s Annual Report

High School crowding; public school enrollment; Webster School

The enrollment this year [school year ending June 23, 1911] shows an increase of 1 pupil over that of 1910.  The total enrollment this year is 1231, and last year it was 1230.  This shows that the school population in our city is not increasing very rapidly.  Our records show that a greater number of school children left the city during the past year than entered.


The enrollment in the high school reached 311 this year, which is 91 more than the seating capacity of the assembly room.  This congested condition was handled by having those who lived within three blocks of the building report for recitation only, and by assigning the balance of the overflow seats in the library, laboratory, and two recitation rooms on the first floor . . .


In my opinion, the heating and ventilating scheme to be installed in Webster School is one of the very best, and I have every reason to believe that it will work perfectly. 


The boys’ closet and urinal in Webster School ought to be placed against the west wall and fitted up in a sanitary manner.  In order to make this room sanitary the sewerage system will have to be readjusted and while doing this the additional cost to move the closets and modernize them would not be great . . .


The high school work progressed quite satisfactorily, regardless of the crowded condition.  During the first part of the year a little annoyance occurred on account of one of the lady assistants being a little weak in discipline.  The teacher was a conscientious hard worker, but she was not a match for events as they developed in the growing minds of the children.  In addition she found the work very heavy and at Christmas time asked for a leave of absence . . . On account of the crowded conditions the best results cannot be expected.  Many of the pupils were compelled to sit at home and report only for classes . . . It is difficult to regulate the home time with that of the school clock and pupils come in at different times, and having no vacant room in which to assemble, are compelled to stand around the halls until the classes pass.  To obviate this condition more room ought to be provided . . .   WG



03 14          High School Teams to Debate

A debating team from Columbus will come to Watertown to meet a team from the Watertown High School in debate on Friday evening.  The question for debate is “Resolved, that trial by jury in the United States should be abolished.”  Both teams have been working on the question for several months.   


The Watertown team, which is composed of Wallace Thauer, Alvin Brendemuehl and Peter Brooks, will debate the affirmative of the question.  The debate will be held in the high school at 7:30 o'clock.  Hon. William F. Voss will preside.


On the same evening another team consisting of Alya Soldner, Jack Coughlin and George Lewandowski will debate the negative question with Beaver Dam High School at Beaver Dam.  In order to defray the expenses of the teams a small admission fee of 10 cents will be charged.   WG


05 09          Editor Daily Times Might Take Own Advice Before "Rushing Into Print"

Editor Gazette:—The Daily Times of Saturday evening calls an unsigned article in The Gazette against members of the police force "cowardly," that it “cast odium upon the whole department."  If this is so, then how much more cowardly was that unsigned article in favor of a mashing ordinance, which appeared in a recent issue of The Times, in which special mention was made of High School students.  Did not that throw odium upon the entire school?  According to The Times own reasoning then, that was an insult to the entire student body, and not only that, but to every parent who has a child in High School.  If any complaints are to be made against High School students, why don't they take it to the school board?  That body is a regularly-constituted one, and complaints should be made to it.  All its members are respectable men, and it has always contained men of good reputation.  The Times says "Of late it seems to be the fad to discredit everybody connected with the conduct of city affairs, and the police of course come in for their share."  On the contrary, it seems to be the fad for some of those connected with the city administration to insult everyone with any claim to respectability, and the police can expect nothing else than to be discredited if they follow the lead of some of their superiors.

A Minor.   WG  




   Class of 1912.  Watertown Historical Society Collection


1912:  Largest Class in History of High School

06 27          Thursday evening, June 20, 1912, a large audience was present to enjoy the exercises of the Watertown High School at Turner Opera House.  The weather was ideal and it added greatly to the pleasure of the evening.  The program was a decidedly good one, and the different addresses of the graduates on the program were well spoken and reflected great credit on the school, the teachers and the graduates.


Prof. A. B. Hall of the State University was the orator of the occasion and took for his subject "The Playground of Life," the drift of his argument being that all should cultivate a live and let live spirit in order to bring about a better condition in life for all.


The diplomas were presented to the class by the Hon. Wm. F. Voss, chairman of the committee on teachers and instruction of the board of education.  Mr. Voss reminded the graduates that their education was finished so far as the Watertown High School was concerned, but said it never really would be complete.  He spoke of the many changes for the good of the school that had taken place in the past 15 years— new courses and instructors were added, such as manual training, domestic science, music and commercial.  He closed his remarks by wishing the graduates, on behalf of the Board of Education, success and happiness through life.


Following is the program in full, the list of graduates and the addresses delivered . . .


The list of graduates follows . . .   WG


Watertown High School Alumni Association

and Banquet a Great Success.

06 27 1912

One of the most successful reunions and banquets of the Watertown High School Alumni Association in its history took place last Friday evening at Turner Opera House, followed by a ball.  The attendance was larger than it has been for many years.  The fore part of the program consisted of renewing old friendships and of social chat, followed by the banquet for which the following menu was served . . .


Miss Wilder made an excellent toast-mistress and J. E. McAdams' address to the class of 1912 was a decidedly able and interesting one. 


On behalf of the Alumni he heartily and truly welcomed the class into the society; that the learning and also the great talent which the members of the class have shown will be a big aid in forming an association which will be stronger and better than ever. 


“To those members of the class who were not going to college do not forget your books, a well informed person gets the most enjoyment out of life, education is better than great wealth.  The father who has given his children an education has done his duty. Today people are realizing more than ever the value of an education; ten years ago only about twenty students graduated from the local high school; this year fifty-four.


“Be grateful to your parents and teachers, have no petty jealousies, be charitable and humane, and have faith in yourselves.  Girls of the class, do not be butterflies or bees, but be a happy medium.


“I welcome you on behalf of the Alumni into this society, and may health and happiness attend you throughout your lives.”


Miss Regina Hoefler responded, saying that the class felt honored to be taken into the Alumni; that the class of 1912 was made up of 34 girls and 20 boys who had shown much talent and had excelled in many ways, and would no doubt be a credit to the society, that the annual alumni banquet afforded a means for the class to reunite and renew friendships, that the members of the class should be true to their class, to the Alumni and to themselves.   WG


11 14          "The Grand Old Flag"

The Watertown High School will present the greatest war drama ever written, "The Grand Old Flag," at Turner Opera House on the evening of November 21, with two hundred home people on the stage under the direction of Col. F. L. Hunt, author of the play.  He is coming from Chicago with all his scenery and costumes, the same that were used in this great play at McVickers Theater for eleven weeks, under the auspices of the U.S. Grant Grand Army Post, an organization with twelve hundred members that attended the performance in uniform and made one of the most attractive and enthusiastic audiences that ever attended a war production in America. For weeks the audience continued to be very large and the patrons were sailors, soldiers and patriotic citizens with the boxes filled with the elite of society and even the governor and his staff came up from Springfield to enjoy the play.  This great production will be presented by the Watertown High School with home talent.  In addition to the four acts of the great drama there will be five beautiful tableaux, a chorus of one hundred and fifty voices, several soloists, a male quartette and plantation jubilee singers. The prices will be 25, 35 and 50 cents.   WG


11 21       The Grand Old Flag.  The students of the Watertown High School are working afternoon and evening on the big chorus and the big plantation jubilee and the four acts of the great war drama, "The Grand Old Flag," to be given at Turner Opera House, Thursday evening, Nov. 21.  The papers of Oshkosh and Appleton, where the play was just presented, printed articles over a column long in praise of the success it was in these towns – and it will be the same in Watertown.  The papers say that Col. Hunt, the gentleman who is here from Chicago, is worth the price of admission for his German part.  They also say the beautiful tableaux at the end of each act are worth the money; also the big war song chorus at the end of the fourth act is worth more than the price of admission.   WG




1913 Letter from Jack to Jill


1913, New High School note

1913, Spring weather note

    From 1913 High School Orbit  (first Orbit published)



Watertown, Wis., April 7, 1913

Dear Jill:


Your good letter found me in a most receptive mood when it came yesterday. I am glad that you are so much enjoying the apparently perpetual sunshine of California.


I cannot help contrasting the beautiful weather you describe with that which we are now experiencing. We have our rubbers on our feet, are holding our skirts in one hand, and our umbrellas in the other, after the fashion appropriate to Wisconsin people at this season of the year. The backbone of old Winter has passed, but we are not yet out of range of the last expiring whisks of his long caudal appendage. An operation upon him similar to the one you and I performed on our old cat would do him good, don't you think so?


Do you remember how people used to tease us when we went up the hill to get a pail of water? Well that kind of an excursion would not be necessary now, for we could use rain water, or melted sleet, or extract of hail stones, just as we chose to select, for we are having all of these in monotonous rotation.


You will wonder with me whether the people who named this good old place Watertown were trying to be truthful, or just sarcastic. Our old high school has not yet been washed away. If you were here today we would jump over the puddles together and visit the dear old place. They are going to have a new high school as soon as the weather clears up so that the carpenters can get to work at it.


The seniors are going to get out an annual this year unless the weatherman frustrates their plan. I shall not fail to send you one.


Happiness here is at present confined to the Watertown geese, and their aquatic associates, the ducks and frogs.


This tirade against the weather is not intended to discourage you from coming back home next year. I much hope you will do so.


Sincerely yours, Jack.


P. S. The paleness of this ink is due to the fact that it rained in the ink bottle.



04 16       New High School Assured.

At an adjourned meeting of the Board of Education last evening the Board arranged to engage Parkinson & Dockendorf of La Crosse, architects, to draw plans and specifications for a new high school.  The Board also decided the Eighth Street city property, with the Meckes property just north of it, as the proper site for the school.   WG


05 07       High School Commencement

Commencement week will open with the production of the Senior class play on Monday, June 15.  The graduation exercises will be held at Turner Opera House on Wednesday, the 17th, with the alumni reception and banquet on the following evening.


Prof. Albert Johnson of the University extension division of the University of Minnesota will deliver the address, his subject being “The Quest.”  Prof. Johnson was until the last year connected with the University of Wisconsin in a similar capacity.  His excellence as a commencement day orator is unquestioned, and the board of education has been fortunate indeed to have his services.


Wallace Thauer, Ray Meyer and Louis Bandelin have been selected as the honor students who will have a part in the commencement exercises.  The first named will act as valedictorian, the second as salutatorian and the third will make the presentation of the class memorial.  It is now expected that the graduating class will number thirty-three.


The right to produce a popular school play, “The Varsity Coach,” has been secured, and the members of the senior class who will take part in the play are already hard at work under the direction of Miss Edna Chadwick.


The eighth grade graduation exercises will be held at Turner opera house Tuesday evening, and the alumni reception and banquet will be held on Thursday evening, but arrangements for this; the closing feature of the week, are as yet incomplete.   WG


11 05       Halloween at the High School

The teachers and over 300 pupils of the Watertown High School enjoyed a Halloween entertainment at the High School building last Friday evening.  A program was carried out by the different classes that kept all in excellent humor from 8 until after 11 o’clock.  It was by all odds the most successful entertainment ever given by the pupils of the high school, and the various amusements, through of a ludicrous character, were elevating and edifying, and several of the stunts pulled off showed that the pupils of the Watertown High School are possessed of much originality and have a liking for good, wholesome amusement.



03 17       Death of Charles F. Viebahn   WDT

05 25       Class of 1915

A graduating class of 37 will be given diplomas at the high school graduating exercises to be held at Turner Opera house Wednesday evening, June 16.  The commencement address will be delivered by Paul F. Voelkert, secretary of the department of instruction of the state university.  Following is the list of graduates:  Paul H. Conway, Mabel King, Lucile S. Liebermann, Doris A. Meyer, Margaret Mueller, Daniel L. Brooks, Hannah E. Cowen, Ruth B. Johnson, Florence Lenz, Arnold Nickels, Herbert A. F. Rodeck, Marcella A. Sette, Viola I. Volkmann, Myra Wieting, Marguerite E. Goodnetter, Elsa E. Schwendke, Ruth Ellen Tyson, Ruth Marie Archie, Anna I. Biefeld, Selma Spohn, Edna Ullrich, Mary Wieman,  Helen Cecilia Belrose, Robert A. Brumm, Henrietta M. Buege, Edna C. Hertel, Ewas G. Hub, Ben R. Krueger, Joseph Lange, Hannah C. Lewis, Arthur R. Linnes, Helen A. Maede, Gertrude S. Nickels, John F. Moriarty, Herbert Radtke, Elsie H. Schur, Anna Maass. 


Class Honors by Rank - Roedeck, Lucille Liebermann, Daniel Brooks, Arnold Nickels, Helen Belrose.  Class Honors by Election - Daniel L. Brooks, president; Joseph T. Lange, vice-president; Margaret Mueller, secretary; Ruth M. Archie, treasurer. 


Class Colors - Purple and white.  Class Flower - Blue aster.  Class Motto - “Nothing Too Much”



   Winter of 1915-16


The High School as a Community Center

During the last decade cities have come to look upon the provision of a place open to the public for recreation, inspiration, and education as a proper function of city government.  Municipalities in the United States are now providing free public music centers, playgrounds, assembly halls, bathing beaches, museums, and libraries.  The Board of Education of the city of Watertown will have in the splendid new high school building, now under process of construction, facilities for some of the various activities of present-day city life.


The new high school building is situated upon a lot [South Eighth St] which will give ample room for tennis courts, football, baseball, and other games for all who wish a play place, whether they be children or adults.  The building has in it features that will promote the health, comfort, and pleasure of the citizens of Watertown.  The building is provided with a splendid gymnasium, 87 feet by 59 feet, surrounded on three sides by a gallery eight feet in width.  The gymnasium may be reached by a side entrance, thereby making it unnecessary to open the whole building and making it possible to use the gymnasium at a time when school is in session, without disturbing classes.


The gymnasium has a stage 21 1/2 feet by 15 1/2 feet, providing a suitable platform from which lectures, concerts, or dramatics may be presented.  The room is well lighted and well ventilated.  Immediately off from it are shower baths and dressing rooms for men and women.  Even if equipped with only moderate equipment for general gymnastics, the room will make an excellent place in which business and professional men may exercise and relax through indulgence in games of handball, volley ball, indoor baseball, basketball, etc.


Well-equipped, modern laboratories will be a feature of the second floor of the building — laboratories in which citizens may have tests made, may have scientific problems solved.  The chemistry laboratory will have equipment such that simple analyses may be made and chemical reactions tested.  In physics the strength of metals, laws of physics, and use of mechanical devices may be proven.  In the biology and botany room the germination of seeds may be tested and analyses of common plants may be made.  The assembly room of the building will be an ideal place for evening entertainments, for lectures on civic development and on matters of general municipal interest.  The assembly room is equipped with an outlet for a lantern, so that a stereopticon can be used.


The city of Watertown is expending a large sum of money for its new high school building and should plan to make the widest use of that building.  It is not looked upon as good business policy to erect an expensive plant in any industry and then allow that plant to lie idle for several months of the year, for several days in every week and for over half of each day.  The movement for a wider use of the school plant has been anticipated by the Board of Education in the adoption of the plan of the new high school building.  The building will be a beauty spot in the city, a place of which all of us will be proud.


It should be more than that; it should be a place in constant use, a real civic center of the city.   1916 Watertown High School Orbit, pg 8.


1917      Watertown High School images

Assembly room

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_420

Assembly room

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_421

Chemistry lab

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_422

Domestic science kitchen

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_419


1917 Orbit, WHS_005_418

Lower corridor

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_418

Main entrance

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_417

Manual training work shop

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_419

Physics lab

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_422

Reference library

1917 Orbit, WHS_005_420



  Football champs



01 18     Death of Joseph Brandenberg, senior class   WDT


1924      Gymnasium and Assembly Room




  Homecoming game, Cooney vs. Watertown



   First High School featured on Watertown Centennial postcard



1939 graduating class pictured in novel arrangement    WDT



Class of 1940, held 50th reunion in 1990.



1941 Orbit released.  Dedicated to J. H. Herreid, popular member of the faculty.



      Prom Court (?), circa 1930s-40s



07 16       Watertown High School Girl Wins High Scholastic Honor



Freshman class


War Activities of Patriotic Students









Click on to enlarge.          1944 Watertown High School Orbit


1945 or 46

   High School Marching Band, 400 block of E Main St.



Civics or Government Class or Society



First Watertown High School senior class to have a post-prom party at the Watertown Elks Lodge.  



Our Senior Year



05 27       The Times is able today, for the first time, to reveal some of the details of the new unit which will serve the Watertown Junior High School, the Watertown Senior High School and the Watertown Vocational and Adult School.  Not only will there be a new unit to the north of the present school, but by the time the work is completed on remodeling and rearranging the present school building that structure will hardly be recognizable.  So many are the changes that are involved in the general overall plans.  The new unit will be two stories high and its exterior will conform pretty generally with the present building, though it will be such that it can be readily set off as a “new school.  A gymnasium-auditorium will be located in the new unit.  It will seat 3,000 persons, have a large stage and a partial balcony.  There will be a spacious lobby in the new unit, with the main lobby entrance at South Ninth and Dodge Streets.    WDT


08 23       The lawns around the Watertown High School building, especially on the west side of the building, fronting on South Eighth Street, are in for some rough usage soon.  School authorities are faced with the necessity of placing the large number of bicycle racks elsewhere than in the customary places north of the present building, now that that area is to be the scene of building activities in connection with the new high school addition project.  According to school authorities they plan to place the racks on the lawns west of the present building and the many students who ride bicycles to and from school will utilize that area for the purpose, once the new term gets underway and building activities make the relocation of the racks necessary.   WDT



  Watertown High School Orbit dedicated to Joseph Davies

Basketball, Squad A



06 02       If anyone ever sits down and writes a history of the Watertown Public School system and enumerates some of the outstanding teachers who have served this community the name of Miss Kathryn Skinner most assuredly deserves to be included in any such list.  Miss Skinner is ending her school work here, having retired this week with the close of the 1959-60 school year.  She has been a teacher of mathematics in the Watertown High School.  Aside from that, her great interest in school work, in students and in helping turn out first rate future citizens of the community, have been a tremendous influence for good.   WDT



10 year class reunion, class of ’61.

20 year class reunion, class of ’61.



12 19       The board of education last night approved a resolution which is the first step for a referendum next April to let the people decide whether they want a four and one-half room addition to the present high school building.  The resolution was adopted by a vote of 7 to one, with commissioner Lee Block casting the only vote in opposition, but later in the meeting he asked permission to change his vote and make adoption unanimous.  The resolution was introduced by Commissioner Joseph Rhodes and was strongly supported by Commissioner Edward Hinterberg.   WDT



01 13       Norman L. Larson, Superintendent of Schools.  Watertown’s new superintendent of schools, Norman L. Larson, is due to move to Watertown tomorrow and take over his duties at the high school next Monday.  Mr. Larson, who has been serving in a similar capacity at Markesan, accepted the Watertown position last Oct. 14, following the resignation of Eugene W. Tornow who now holds a position with the University of Wisconsin.   WDT

04 13       The plan for a four and one-half classroom addition to Watertown High School, originally proposed by the board of education last year as a means of solving the immediate growing space needs at the school will be revived shortly, it was indicated today.  This development came as a result of the recent rejection by the voters in the April 2 election of two alternate plans — one calling for a new junior high school of a seventh and eighth grade, and the other calling for a new junior high school of a seventh, eighth and ninth grade.  WDT


04 18       Assistant Superintendent position created; Russell Twesme principal.  The board of education last night created a new position, that of assistant superintendent of schools, and then named the principal of the high school, Russell Twesme, to the post starting July 1 at no increase over his present salary.  The promotion is still subject to Mr. Twesme's acceptance.  The vote to establish the new position was approved 6 to 1, with O. L. Wesemann casting the lone dissenting vote.  He said he did it because he thought the matter should be delayed until next year.   WDT


04 19       As expected, the board of education last night revived the plan for a four and one-half room addition to the Watertown High School and at the same time adopted a resolution calling for utilization of the Watertown Airport as the site for a new high school building, either junior or senior, as a long range plan for solving the growing space problem at high school.  Both proposals will go to the common council at an early date.  WDT


04 23       The junior prom of the Watertown High School will be held this spring in the high school gymnasium.  Souir Paree” is the theme of this year’s prom.  The grand march will start at 10 o’clock and will be followed by the presentation of the king and queen and their court of honor.  Reigning as king and queen will be Richard Claas and Connie Wegner. Members of the court of honor are: Frank James, Jeanne Mueller, Lee Ebert, Mary Theder, Kieren Lordahl, Kathy Schmutzler, Sharon Pike Alan Peters, Joan Wolf, James Schwartz, Neil Gamroth and Cynthia Yahn.  WDT


05 04       The largest graduating class in the history of Watertown High School is due to bow at the school's 90th annual commencement exercises on Wednesday evening, June 5, at which time the speaker will be William C. Kahl, first assistant superintendent Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Madison.  As of now, a class of 245 seniors is scheduled to graduate.  Last year's class numbered 204.  WDT


06 06       Last night’s graduating seniors at Watertown High School presented a check to provide shrubbery at the high school grounds as their class gift in departing from the school.  It was a record class, with 236 diplomas being issued.  Presentation of the class gift was made by Susan Krueger, the class treasurer and was accepted by Principal Russell Twesme.  He lauded the class for its decision in selecting a gift.   WDT


08 05       LUTOVSKY FARM

The common council at its meeting tonight is scheduled to act on a resolution calling for an appraisal of the Charles Lutovsky farm in the Boughton-Hall Streets area which has been proposed as a site for a future Watertown High School, either senior or junior under a long-range school expansion plan.  The appraisal is the first step in the plan to acquire the property, a move viewed favorably by the city administration, according to general discussion held at last night’s council committee meeting.  Mayor Robert P. White reported that the asking price for the farm, reportedly consisting of 37.5 acres, is $60,000.    WDT


09 04       Negotiations to acquire the Charles Lutovsky farm property as a site for a future high school, either junior or senior, were authorized by a common council resolution adopted last night by unanimous vote of 13 aldermen present at the council meeting. Mr. Lutovsky offered the property for school purposes some months ago and the site has been unanimously approved by action of the board of education. Under terms of the resolution approved last night, Mayor Robert R White is delegated to carry on the negotiations.  Mr. Lutovsky has asked for $60,000 as the price. Two independent appraisals made for the city have placed a fair price value of about $54,000 on the property, the mayor said last night.    WDT


10 01       Homecoming festivities of the Watertown High School this weekend will include skits to be presented in the gym Friday afternoon, the parade at 5 p.m. Friday with the lineup including floats, the homecoming court and the football players, the game between Watertown and Mayville and the homecoming dance Saturday evening. Members of the court of honor are Marilyn Riedl and Robert Schmutzler, homecoming king and queen; Gayle Piper, Linda Bauman, Rita Schmidt, Susan Miller, Joel Toman, Regess Krueger, Richard Erdman and James Finley.   WDT



02 10       1964 GRADUATION

Watertown High School this year will graduate the largest class in the history of the school. The commencement exercises are to be held on Wednesday evening, June 3 in the high school gymnasium. There are 251 seniors in the class at the present time. Even with last minute “flunking out,” the class will still be the largest to date. The largest previous class in the history of the school was that of 1963 when 236 seniors received their diplomas. In 1962 there were 204 graduates and in 1961 there were 228.   WDT


04 03       LUTOVSKY FARM

The Charles Lutovsky farm, consisting of slightly less than 38 acres, which the board of education had recommended to the common council last September for purchase as a site for a future school, has been sold to private out of town interests which plan a development.  H. M. Dakin of the law firm of Dakin and Dierker, confirmed the report and told the Times that the preliminary papers have been signed and that $65,000 is the sale price.   WDT



The Watertown Board of Education has received the support of the City Planning Commission in its plans calling for the construction of a five-room addition to the present high school building as a means of solving the immediate space needs at the school.  The planning commission will recommend to the common council Tuesday night that the school board be allowed to construct the addition.    WDT




The reasons for the Watertown Board of Education’s decision to propose the erection of a junior high school, rather than a senior high school, the plans for a four and one-half room addition at the high school, and the problem of a site for the proposed junior high school were discussed by Norman Larson, superintendent of schools, at Monday’s weekly luncheon meeting of the Rotary Club, held at the Legion Green Bowl.  Erection of a junior high school will be less costly than the construction of the senior high school, he told the club.  And with an elementary school also planned for the site, he said, it is best that elementary students are not in the same area with senior high school students.  WDT



After nearly two years of debate and argument the common council last night voted 10 to 3 to authorize the purchase of the Lutovsky farm — now owned by Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl of Milwaukee — along with the Dr. E. Allen Miller property and a piece of land owned by the Oak Hill Cemetery Association, representing in all between 44 and 45 acres as a site for the new Watertown Junior High School.   WDT


1967      MISS MARGARET OTT Retires

01 18              1960 photo

The retirement of Miss Margaret Ott, veteran teacher of German at Watertown High School, takes from the school system another longtime and dedicated school teacher.  Effective Jan. 20.  Miss Ott has chalked up an almost enviable record as an instructor and faculty member and the hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls who studied in her classes and came under her influence can look back with pride on her work.  Miss Ott's father, the late Dr. John Ott who spent so many years as instructor of English and librarian at Northwestern College, was one of the state's outstanding educators and among the city's leading residents whose influence on and off the college campus is still felt today.   WDT


09 27       CLASS GIFT

Trophy Case is Gift of Graduating Class / 94th Annual Commencement

A trophy case, of special design and which is to be constructed and installed at the Watertown High School, is the 1967 class gift to the school, it was announced during the 94th annual commencement exercises held in the high school gymnasium.  The gift was announced by the treasurer of the graduating class, Carol Mann, on behalf of the seniors who graduated.  The program was presided over by the class president, John Hrobsky who welcomed the audience.  The evening opened with a half hour concert by the high school orchestra directed by Willard Buchholtz.  There was no commencement speaker.  Instead, there were student speakers, including Judith Nowack, James Frater, and Michael Bausch.  Two Foreign Exchange students who graduated with the class and who will be returning to their homelands shortly after spending the past school year here, also spoke . They are Ermyas Admassu of Ethiopia and Luis Mattioli. of Argentina.  Delwin Hintzmann, president of the board of education presented the diplomas.  The high school mixed chorus sang the traditional “The Halls of Ivy” and “Alma Mater” was sung by the class.  Donovan Richards, high school principal, and Superintendent Russell Twesme also took part in the program.   WDT



09 27       The 1977 Homecoming will be held during the week of Oct. 10 through 15 at Watertown High School.  This year Homecoming has been re-organized to promote more participation by students, alumni, and the community.  An evaluation of the 1976 Homecoming was conducted last year by a committee of students and teachers who produced a set of guidelines by which this year’s Homecoming will be conducted.  The Homecoming Committee for 1977 consists of Anne-Marie Condon, student council president; Vicki Joyce, student council vice president; Lauri Bush, senior class president; Carey Bergdoll and Kim Veldhuizen, junior class representatives; Dennis Nicoski, sophomore class representative; and Jim Bauman, representing the student body-at-large.  This committee has worked for weeks to produce the 1977-78 Homecoming Handbook which contains all of the rules and regulations, entry blanks, judging criteria, and due dates for all activities to be conducted during Homecoming Week.   WDT



06 09       Diplomas were awarded to 328 graduating seniors at Watertown Senior High School commencement exercises Saturday afternoon.  Most students said they were hot and nervous as the temperature rose into the 80s before the program.  One student asked if hair pins would hold the mortarboard securely so it wouldn’t fall off.  But the nerves were controlled and the temperatures endured as graduates and spectators listened to the commencement address by George Walter, professor emeritus at Lawrence University.  WDT



07 15       A new chemistry lab to meet the needs of expanding enrollments in that subject was approved by the board of education of the Watertown Unified School District.  The new lab will be constructed in room 332 of the high school and will cost $18,965.  In addition, there will be costs for minor remodeling as well as some electrical and plumbing work.  Total cost of the project is estimated at $26,695.  The lab will handle up to 24 students and is designed to be moved to a new location or a new building in the future.  The lab is being purchased from School Interiors, Inc., of Milwaukee.   WDT



03 08       Michael Ptacek is the new principal of Watertown Senior High School.  He had served as acting principal since the resignation of Charles W. Dill in February.  Ptacek was previously the assistant principal of the high school since June of 1983, when he was named to succeed JoAnn Truss.   WDT


05 01       The top 10 students in the class of 1988 of Watertown Senior High School have been announced by Michael Ptacek, principal.  The top students are selected on the basis of academic achievements and grade point average for their high school years.  The top 10, in alphabetical order, are Matthew Arpin, Andrew Crawford, Abbigail Endres, Michael Krolnik, Robert Lemke, Loren Mach, Michelle Mueller, Tracey Nickels, Sue Ullrich and Jennifer Welbourne.  WDT


05 09       About 375 students danced to the music of Interface at Watertown High School’s junior prom Saturday night, according to chaperone Diane Schmidt.  The theme of this year’s dance was “Stairway to Heaven,” the classic hit by Led Zeppelin.  Post prom activities were highlighted with a performance by Tohjah, a band from southern Illinois.  The dance went smoothly, Schmidt said, adding that the students “were very cooperative.  We had a very good showing.”  Steve Andrews and Alisa Harris reigned as prom king and queen.  The court included Brian Raguse and Rachel Quest, Cheng Yang and Amy Scheiber, Todd Schumann and Jan Neubauer, John Fischer and Valeri Lampman, and Chris Buescher and Jenny Kwapil.  Crown bearers were Matt Scheiber and Tera Rowoldt.   WDT


06 08       On a sun-drenched morning at Riverside Park, 252 seniors from Watertown Senior High School received their diplomas Saturday, graduates who hoped their futures would be as bright as the cloud-free sky.  Students were in a celebratory mood as they reflected upon the culmination of their high school days.  Beach balls bounced from graduate to graduate, occasionally straying onto the stage.  Enthusiastic cheers greeted the announcement of the more popular students and even air horns were sounded.  “The school is proud of you, not because you graduated, but because you are winners,” said W. Charles Dill during his welcoming speech.  Dill recently resigned as high school principal to accept a similar position at Johnsburg High School in McHenry, Ill..   WDT



01 20       The city’s plan commission heard reasons from Watertown school officials why the proposed school site is the best currently available.  Dr. Richard Stolsmark, superintendent of schools for the Watertown Unified School District, told commission members that the proposed site, one of seven reviewed by school officials, seemed to be the best location available when the district purchased the former Stangler farm.  “We thought it was as good as we could do — we were aware the bypass was there, but we feel that’s a problem that can be solved,” Stolsmark said.  The proposed location of the school, planned at state Highway 109 just north of the Highway 16 bypass, has become an issue for the district’s referendum election on Feb. 21.  Voters will be asked to approve bonding for $16 million to finance the construction of a new high school.


02 08       Watertown Senior High School was one of 437 old schools in the state that were inspected and found to be in violation of some current state building codes.  The study was conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations (DILHR).  Watertown Senior High School, more than 70 percent of which was built in 1917, was among those listed as having some violations related to fire safety. The DILHR report listed three violations at Watertown Senior High School:  (1) The facility lacks automatic door-closing devices in its stairwells; (2) The facility lacks smoke detection devices in its basement; and (3) The facility lacks proper exit lighting.


02 10       Smith Farm Option.  The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Promotive Corporation has entered into an option to purchase the 300-acre Warren Smith farm, and offer about one-third of it for sale to the Watertown Unified School District as a site for the new Watertown Senior High School.  The land is located in the northwest section of the city and its western property line is the eastern property line of soon-to-be developed Quarry Park, a 174-acre park which is owned by the city.  The farm is located west of North Church Street, north of Elm Street and east of Carriage Hill Drive and the Mary Knoll Subdivision.  The board of education of the Watertown Unified School District supports the acquisition and has made the site its prime location for the new high school which is the subject of a referendum on Feb. 21.  This site will eliminate opposition expressed by some that the Robert Stangler farm, purchased by the school district in 1985 as the high school site, was a dangerous location because of the need to cross the Highway 16 bypass to gain access.


02 12       Mayor is Kissed.  Two weeks ago, it seemed unlikely that Mayor David R. Lenz and Richard Stolsmark, superintendent of schools for the Watertown Unified School District, would find common ground on the location for a new high school.  But a voters' forum Thursday night, not only were both men sitting next to each other, smiling and in agreement on the latest proposed site, but Stolsmark even kissed the mayor on the top of his head at the conclusion of the meeting.  The night's final question jokingly suggested that Stolsmark had promised to kiss the mayor if the city worked out a deal on a new site.  The superintendent of schools obliged the audience of about 50 people with a peck on the mayor's head.


03 19       Industrial Arts Department — Technology Education

As Watertown High School moves to the 1990s its Industrial Arts Department — now referred to as Technology Education — needs to modernize its facilities and enlarge its curriculum.  That was the opinion of the department’s teaching staff as they presented school board members with plans for updating technology education at the high school.  “The bottom line is we need to prepare a better student,” said machining instructor Bruce Magnuson.  “This program needs to be dynamic.  Presently I have no academic facility at all to work in.  It’s basically a shop and I struggle with that every day.”


04 22       Smith Farm Option Rejected.  The Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce Promotive Corporation has decided not to exercise its option to purchase the Warren Smith farm, a move that seriously jeopardizes that site as a potential new high school location. City Attorney Robert A. Bender, a member of the promotive corporation, said the board decided Wednesday that the asking price for the land, about $5,000 an acre, was too much. “We elected not to pursue the option. We had some difficulty in reaching agreement with Mr. Smith,” Bender said.


05 16       “Time in a Bottle” was the theme of the 1989 Watertown Senior High School prom Saturday when students danced the night away to tunes from the top 40 hits at the high school gymnasium.  The king and queen, Pam Da Walt and Steve Meyers, were crowned by the 1979 king and queen, Kevin Conley and Jean Sweeney Kohlhoff.  In keeping with the theme for the evening, couples traveled through a “time tunnel” for the grand march and walked over a large clock on the floor.  Silhouettes from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s decorated the walls.  Couples enjoyed dancing to music provided by a band called “Toys.”



08 28       POLICE LIAISON at High School

A workshop about a police liaison at Watertown High School will be held by the board of education and the Watertown Police Department Thursday evening.  Sgt. Mark Meddaugh of the Watertown Police Department will conduct the discussion during a board meeting at the Educational Service Center.  The board of education earlier this summer had requested information about the possibility of having a police officer work as a liaison at the school.  Police Chief Charles McGee has indicated an interest in developing ways to work with the school district in juvenile issues.  Several area districts have a police liaison program, where an officer works closely with the high school but is not stationed in the building.   WDT



09 28       Graduation ’96 will be held in the gymnasium at Watertown High School.  Several concerns about holding the ceremony at its traditional site, Riverside Park, led to the decision, said Principal Kathy Wagner.  School board member Denise Barker and student board member Jessie Groose urged that seniors be allowed input into the decision.  Last year, seniors were allowed to vote on where to hold the ceremony.  They selected the park.


“Students should have a big part in that decision,” Groose said.  Wagner listed several concerns of the ceremony at Riveside Park, including difficulty for older and handicapped residents in parking and getting to the site.  The sound system is better in the gymnasium and it will be comfortable no matter what the weather is.  She noted that it costs $2,000 in overtime to set up the park on the morning of graduation, something that could be avoided by setting the gymnasium up ahead of time.



12 15       Finding good uses for an old building was one of the reasons for purchasing the old Watertown High School facility, said Bill Ehlinger, one of the owners of the Watertown Athletic Club.  “We are in the process of taking over the whole project,” he said, noting that developer Peter Hanson will no longer be one of the owners as of Jan. 10.  After Jan. 10, the entire old high school facility will be the property of the Watertown Athletic Club owned by local residents Ehlinger, Bill O’Brien, Bob Long and Dan Rullman.  The Watertown school district sold the old high school last January to Hanson, a resident of Oconomowoc, and the Watertown Athletic Club for the sum of $226,000.  Hanson had at the time wanted to convert the older portion of the former school into apartments but later decided not to continue with that plan.


1998      PEACE GARDEN

08 30       What began as a nondescript bus turnaround on a miniature model of Watertown High School more than five years ago [c.1993] is now a blooming example of what students and a devoted teacher can do when they set their minds to it.  That bus turnaround, once an island of grass surrounded by parking lots and sidewalk, is today a sea of color in the form of a peace garden.   WDT


2000      Matt Teuteberg Memorial

01 09             High School Demolition -


06 09       A mass of Gosling blue filled Watertown High School gymnasium Saturday morning as 311 students graduated as the class of 2000.  The day’s festivities began in the Peace Garden as students gathered with mixed emotions. Sara Cahoon and Eric Hamme dedicated a bench in the garden in memory of former classmate Matt Teuteberg, who died in an automobile accident in late March. “Today is not just a celebration for us,” said Cahoon. “We have all experienced many great times together, but we have also had to deal with many heartaches.”  WDT



04 23       “Glitz and Glamour, Spend a Night in Hollywood,” is the theme of the 2003 junior prom.  Grand march and coronation of king and queen will be held at 10 p.m.  The traditional post prom will be hosted at the Elks Lodge and will be open from midnight until 3 a.m.  Entertainment to be offered includes pool, casino type gambling, music and loads of free food.  A large number of door prizes will also be available.   WDT


05 17       The Watertown High School class of 2003 will honor its valedictorian and salutatorian at the graduation ceremony on Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m. in the High School gymnasium.  Valedictorian is Kevin Burleson, son of Polk and Elizabeth Burleson.  He has achieved a 4.000 grade point average in his high school career. Salutatorian is Brielle Hulick, daughter of David and Cindy Hulick.  She has a 3.992 grade point average.  Both have been on the high honor roll, received academic letters and are members of the National Honor Society.  WDT


08 03       The sound of children still filters through the hallways and rooms on South Eighth Street at the former Watertown High School building . In what is now the Health and Wellness Center (HAWC), which houses 10 nonprofit agencies and one for profit business, youngsters can exhaust their energy in HAWC Fitness’ new Kidz Gym.  The Kidz Gym opened in early spring and is filled with a variety of fun-filled activities for children age and younger.  The gym features activities and equipment such as scooters, hippity hops, ball pit, large rainbow colored balls, basketballs and basketball hoop, hula hoops and a foam balance beam.  The gym is located in the balcony of the old high school gym. There is an island in the center containing padding for the children and hard floor around the padding for children to use scooters, etc.  Sara Jappinen, youth and family programs coordinator at HAWC Fitness, said, children love to explore the gym to see what activities are available.  WDT


10 03       The 2003 Watertown High School Carolers have been selected.  The Carolers will be available for performances in the Watertown area throughout December.  The group sings about 20 minutes of holiday music dressed in traditional caroling costumes.  Members of this year’s group include: sopranos Brianna Duffy, Marissa Floyd, Karen Kneer, Molly McFarland, Rachel Niemann and Sara Woodard; tenors Josh Cochrane, Nick Herold, Alex Mackyol, Zack Miller and Ryan Moldenhauer; altos Megan Heiden, Mandy McVeigh, Beth Miller, Molly Pfister, Kelly Sina and Gina Symkowski; basses Ben Allen, Tim Anderson-Hereth, Noah Ash, Jodie Hall, Zack Stueber, Justin Wagner and Geoff Wood.  WDT


11 04       The gym of the former Watertown High School will be transformed into a nostalgic homecoming dance Saturday to raise money for the Health and Wellness Center that now occupies the building.  The event will be held from 7 to 11 p.m.  Vintage dress is optional, but a prize will be given for the most authentic homecoming look.   WDT




The senior class of 2004 filed into the high school gymnasium one last time Saturday morning for Watertown High School’s commencement exercises.  Hundreds of proud family members and friends were on hand for the event.  Molly Pfister and Kelly Sina, student council representatives, welcomed the nearly 300-member senior class and guests with a humorous list of pros and cons of graduating from high school.  They said in two months students will wish they were eating a gourmet meal in the high school cafeteria rather than living off of food cooked in a dorm room.  Pfister and Sina reminded students sharing a bathroom with family members won’t seem as bad once they’ve experienced sharing one with 20 other people.  Although students thought their lockers were small, it won’t be compared to the jail-size dorm room they’ll be living in this fall.   WDT




03 10         Video includes over 50 clubs and sports, over 1100 students.



05 15         Named high school principal



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