ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Wethonkitha Club


116 S First


Address is site of first hospital in Watertown


Wethonkitha is an Indian word


This is a local organization, not national


The object of the club shall be: To be an Auxiliary to the Wethonkitha Club, thereby endeavoring:


1.  To promote the social welfare of its members.

2.  To give its members in every condition of life, especially in times of trial, the stimulus of Christian comradeship and the inspiration that comes from association with women of kindred aims.

3.  To promote intelligent citizenship and the highest type of patriotism.





Lou Kuckkan, one of Watertown's sports legends, has been long and enduring.  His start came back in the 1940s when he bowled at the old Wethonkitha Club lanes on South First Street.      Watertown Daily Times article, 04 19 2008.










The Sisters of the Swish of the Wethonkitha Auxiliary and other members attended their annual banquet in old-time gowns.


Mrs. C. Ebert, Mrs. D. Schmutzler, Mrs. A. Blasing, Mrs. C. Hartman, Mrs. G. Niemann, Mrs. R. Harthun, Mrs. A. Reuschel, Mrs. G. Hackbarth, Dora Rippe, Mrs. H. Fredrich, Mrs. G. Knispel, Mrs. Robert Otto, Mrs. Ralph Otto, Mrs. K. Kohlhoff, Mrs. W. Zickert, Mrs. C. Abel, Mrs. E. Albrecht, Mrs. G. Piper, Mrs. C. Bergmann, Mrs. W. Gorder, Sr., Helen Baurichter, Mrs. A. Fischer, Agnes Mieske, Mrs. A. Engelbrecht, Mrs. W. Otto, Mrs. L. Lange, Mrs. A. Rupnow, Mrs. A. Krier, Mrs. W. Brandenstein, Mrs. G. Ziemer, Mrs. A. Hintz, Mrs. C. Graf, Mrs. A. Schlueter, Mrs. A. Karberg, Mrs. W. Geise, Mrs. C. Piper, Mrs. J. Westermeyer, Mrs. L. Bast, Mrs. L. Schmutzler, Mrs. F. Zautner, Mrs. E. Telschow, Mrs. L. Riemer, Mrs. A. Erdmann, Mrs. F. Raether.




   112, 114 & 116 South First



05 16       RAZING 112 S. FIRST

Work of razing the building in South First Street which formerly housed the Western Union got underway this morning.  The building is being torn down by street department workmen.  The building is located on the south side of a parking lot, also owned by the city.  The council had planned to use the lot and the building site for a parking ramp.  This plan, rejected by the voters in a referendum held in April, has now been abandoned, and the entire area will be fixed up for street level parking.



The Western Union Telegraph Co. has been ordered to move from its quarters at 112 South First Street by Oct. 31 so the city can utilize the property for its South First Street parking plans, it was disclosed today.  W. A. Krienke, manager of Western Union, announced that as yet the company has not decided where it will locate.  There have been reports that if quarters can be made available in the Carlton Hotel, opposite the present site, that may be done.  The city of Watertown acquired the building occupied by Western Union, as well as a strip of land directly to the north, from the Wethonkitha Club Realty Co., some time ago in order to provide ample space to carry out contemplated plans for the proposed automobile parking ramp.  The city already owned the major portion of the lot which it plans to use for parking purposes.


10 14       The Western Union office, located in South First Street, has been given some additional time to vacate the building it now occupies, city officials disclosed today. The building is to be part of the site for the proposed automobile parking ramp and was acquired from the Wethonkitha Club some months ago. Originally the telegraph company was to vacate it by Oct. 31. The telegraph company will move its office and equipment to quarters in the Hotel Carlton, directly across the street. Work on changing the installations will be under way as soon as arrangements are completed.


10 28       The Western Union Telegraph Company started moving operations yesterday. It is moving its Watertown office to new headquarters in the Carlton Hotel, across the street from its old office in South First Street. The telegraph company is vacating the building directly north of the Wethonkitha Club, the city recently having purchased it along with a strip of land and plans to utilize the land as part of the South First Street parking area, on which a car ramp is to be constructed.


12 12       Four members of the City Council last night applied the brakes to plans for construction of an automobile parking ramp in South First Street.  The fifth was not able to be at the adjourned meeting due to out of town business. The four councilmen voted unanimously to reject all bids submitted for the ramp after it was officially stated the lowest bidder, Farmer Bros. of Tomah, had made “an honest error” in computing their basis for their estimate. Their bid figure was between $8,000 and $10,000 too low, the county was informed.  The bids were filed Nov. 8.



03 19       Ray Dobbratz is the new president of the Wethonkitha Club.  He was elected at a meeting held Thursday evening in the club rooms on South First Street.  Other officers elected are: Robert Beisner, vice president; Tom Doering, secretary; Duane Veldhuizen, treasurer. The new officers will be installed at the April meeting.



03 13       Tom Doering was elected president of the Wethonkitha Club at a dinner meeting of the organization Thursday night.  Others elected were:  Lester Lange, vice president; Lester Bast, secretary; Roger Hamann, treasurer, and Raymond Dobbratz, director.  Dobbratz has been president for the past two years.   WDT






03 01

   Abstract from Watertown Daily Times article


Social club located at 116 South First Street, along the Rock River, with the name coming from an Indian word that means good fellowship or gathering place.


All stockholders of the club are Lutheran laymen; only members of the Missouri or Wisconsin Lutheran Synod are eligible to join.


The club was formed in 1923 by a group of 12 Watertown Lutheran men who agreed that they needed a meeting place that would provide opportunities for socialization outside of their church.


Specht’s Harness Shop

   This property was site of first hospital in Watertown


Meetings were first held at Raue’s Hall, on the third floor of what is now the Morgan Stanley Witter building at 200 East Main Street.  In 1923 the members purchased the Sprecht property on South First.


Club members purchased stock in the newly formed Wethonkitha Realty Co. to pay for the building.  The realty company still controls the stock (800 shares).


In 1955 the club sold the north portion of the building to the city for the Western Union building.


For a time, the Wethonkitha Club was also the site of the Watertown Chamber of Commerce office.



06 03       A longtime Watertown private social club building is going on the sale block. The Wethonkitha Club, a well known rental facility owned and operated by Wethonkitha Club members, will be sold, according to Rich Blank, business manager.  Following a trend that has plagued many local clubs experiencing a drop in membership, the Wethonkitha Club no longer has enough members or volunteers to keep pace with the bookings needed to pay the bills.  “The building is for sale although it is not listed yet,” said Blank.  “Our membership has been dropping and it is hard to recruit new members. In 1971, we had over 140 members, but now we only have about 65.”   WDT


Sale of building, society history     WDTimes article



Cross References:

2005, Image of building, WHS_005_215

Image of property           WHS_005_215


Dr. E. J. Hoermann was one of the founding members of the Wethonkitha club.  




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin