ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Wisconsin National Bank

of Watertown

Successor Bank of Wisconsin



It was back on July 1, 1853 that the Jefferson Bank of Watertown opened at 116 W. Main St.


Then, on April 8, 1858 it was sold to the Bank of Wisconsin and on Feb. 27, 1865, during the closing days of the Civil War, the name was changed to Wisconsin National Bank.


The 116 Main St. location continued to be used until it was moved to the bridge at 104 W. Main St.  Until the bank purchased the building, it was the home of the old Wiggenhorn Bros. Cigar Factory.  It was remodeled and expanded several limes.  One of the expansion programs involved gutting of the old Savoy Theater and turning it into a drive-in from Main Street north under the building.  Then, in 1980, the bank was sold to Valley Bank Corporation.  A few years later the bank purchased the old D&F Kusel Hardware Store from Frank and Sue Witt.


Ultimately the old bank building with its unique cupola design was razed.


It was just a year after the old Jefferson Bank of Watertown was formed that the Bank of Watertown opened for business for the first time.





A new National Bank has recently been organized in this city and is about to go into operation.  The place of business will be at the rooms formerly occupied by the Jefferson County Bank, in Jones’ Block, on the west side of the river.  The officers of this bank are as follows:


President – William M. Dennis

Vice President – Daniel Jones

Cashier-- P. V. Brown

Assistant Cashier – W. P. Brown

Directors – William M. Dennis, Daniel Jones, Charles Jacobi, Henry Mulberger, and P. V. Brown.


These names are an ample assurance for the safe and prudent management of the affairs of this institution and as the securities are based on United States stocks, their bills are as good as the resources and pledges of the Government can make them.  It is hardly necessary to say that the National Bank of Watertown is fully worthy of the confidence of the people and that its business affairs will be carefully and successfully directed.  Its officers are citizens of high character and large experience and well qualified for the positions they hold.    WD



Edward Racek, 19 years of age, served as teller, filling the position three years




"Can you change this William for me ?" said a young man who presented a $50 bill at the counter of the Wisconsin National Bank in this city, recently.  "Yes," said the cashier, "but why do you call it William?"  "Oh, I'm not familiar enough with that kind of thing to call it Bill," was the quick reply.   WD



click to enlarge

The first bank in Watertown was founded in 1852 by Daniel Jones

The Wisconsin National Bank was the third bank to be started in the city.



   View of, along Main St


02 13            Watertown Weltburger, 02 13 1886



   1891 Weltburger drawing                      







Workmen have been engaged during the greater portion of the week remodeling the building occupied by the Wisconsin National Bank.  The windows on Main Street have been taken out; the piers between them taken down, the whole to be replaced by plate glass front.  The remodeling and refurnishing of the interior will be general, and strictly np to date, in style and convenience.    WR






01 15       Officers elected   WG



04 15       Erection of additional steel lined vault   WG



01 16       NEW VAULT DOOR

The Wisconsin National Bank of this city last week installed a new door in the front vault of the bank, which in the matter of workmanship and weight of metal, is not exceeded by any other vault door in the city.  The customers of that institution may well be proud of the spirit shown by its officers and directors in using all modern means to safeguard in every possible way the funds and securities of the bank.  The outer door is constructed of solid armor plate and chrome steel plates four inches in thickness and the entire structure, including the inner door and vestibule, has a weight of 11,000 pounds.  The door was built by the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Co. of Hamilton, Ohio, and put in place by L. A. Meyer Co. of Milwaukee, Wis.  WG




Last Saturday was an eventful day in the history of the Wisconsin National Bank, that day being its 50th anniversary.  All day long its many friends and patrons called to congratulate its officers and wish the bank many more years of usefulness and prosperity in the city.  Over 500 ladies and men called, the former being presented with pink and white carnations and the gentlemen with Havanas.  Hon. Wm. F. Voss, the president of the bank, was especially in his element receiving the congratulations of the ladies.  The Wisconsin National Bank is one of the oldest and most substantial banking houses of Wisconsin, and has added greatly in building up Watertown and surrounding country, and all our people take an interest in its continued prosperity. 


The Wisconsin National Bank succeeded the Bank of Wisconsin, which was organized in 1850, the Wisconsin National receiving its charter from the national government on February 27, 1865.  It is at present a member of the Federal Reserve Bank system.


The first board of directors of the Wisconsin National was composed of W. M. Dennis, president; Daniel Jones, vice-president; Peter V. Brown, cashier, Henry Mulberger and Charles Jacobi.


Mr. Jones succeeded Mr. Dennis as president, and was himself succeeded by Frederick Miller, who was the predecessor of Wm. F. Voss, the fourth and present president.


The present directors and officers are as follows:


Directors — Fred Miller, A. Solliday, H. G. Grube, C. A. Feisst, M. Carroll, Emil Tanck, Wm. F. Voss.



President — Wm. F. Voss.

Vice President — A. Solliday.

Cashier — R. M. Hahn.

Assistant Cashier — H. G. Grube.            WG



Notice to the Public.  Having been asked by several customers of this bank whether the banks in this city would participate in the so-called Morgan loan of bonds to the Allies, the Wisconsin National Bank of this city deems it proper to inform the public that this bank will not loan its funds or its depositors’ money to Mr. J. P. Morgan or to any of the warring nations of Europe.


This bank believes it safer to loan its funds to our home people and industries.


William F. Voss, President, Wisconsin National Bank.    WG



DEATH OF WILLIAM VOSS, bank president



08 25       DEATH OF EMIL TANCK, vice-president

Vice-president of the Wisconsin National Bank at the time of his death.



   Agnes Loukota




The Wisconsin National Bank [102 W. Main] has become the first bank here to abolish the old-type bullet-proof glass barriers and fixtures and has replaced them with new, modern banking fixtures.  The work, underway for several weeks, has been completed and the bank today extended an invitation to the general public to drop in and see the new fixtures.  Bank officials will be happy to welcome all visitors and take them on a tour of the bank.  The fixtures were installed by the Taylor-Palmer Co., Milwaukee, manufacturers of bank fixtures and equipment.


The new fixtures permit freer contact with bank employees and eliminate the old barriers which the other fixtures set up between banker and patron.


The fixtures have been equipped with the latest in indirect lighting.


The old fixtures were installed at the local bank in 1931 when many banks were converting to what was then held to be a new and revolutionary system of bank protection.


The new fixtures provide ample protection, since the bank is equipped with the "latest and most complete alarm system.


The bank staff consists of the following: A. F. Solliday, chairman of the board; F. J. Kaercher, president; Walter G. Thrams, cashier; Arthur Turke and Inez Wahl, tellers; Kathleen Killian, Cynthia Engelke and Ruth Boelter, bookkeepers.



      Memorial Day 1951







Arthur L. Turke, cashier of the Wisconsin National Bank, yesterday afternoon was elected to the bank’s board of directors to complete the term of John A. (Jack) Meehan of 906 Harvey Avenue, who, with his wife, is moving to Florida.  Mr. Turke, who resides at 239 Spaulding Street, joined the bank’s staff in 1950 shortly after completing his studies at the University of Wisconsin.  He was elected assistant cashier in 1952 and moved up to the position of cashier when that office was vacated by Walter Thrams who was elected president of the bank following the death of Fred J. Kaercher in 1956.   WDT



01 11          DIRECTORS ELECTED

W. G. Thrams last night was reelected president of the Wisconsin National Bank following the annual stockholders meeting at which all directors were re-elected.  Directors are H. J. Burmaster, Karl Fischer, Theodore F. Guse, Paul Klink, W. G. Thrams, A. L. Turke and Dr. F. H. Zimmermann.  The directors then met and elected officers.  In addition to Mr. Thrams, others elected are Mr. Burmaster, vice president; Mr. Turke, cashier; Orval Vogt, assistant cashier.   WDT




Plans of the Wisconsin National Bank to create a drive-in banking facility for its customers by utilizing the Savoy Theatre building, directly west of the bank building in West Main Street, were further outlined to members of the common council last night during the council’s committee meeting.  Last night Walter G. Thrams, president of the bank, told council members that the plan calls for a tunnel, or direct passageway through the theatre, from the West Main Street to the rear alleyway.   WDT



Work was started this morning on the Wisconsin National Bank project in West Main Street whereby the bank will add to its services a drive-in banking facility, utilizing the former Savoy Theatre building directly west of the bank.  First step in the project is the removal of the theatre marquee.  The Beaver Wrecking and Salvage Co. of Beaver Dam had a crew of men on the job today.   WDT




The Wisconsin National Bank in Watertown is ready to open its new facility — TV Auto Banking.  The new department will be in operation for the public starting Monday, but tomorrow, June 11 the bank will hold a sort of “Open House” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and invites the public to drop in, inspect the drive-in facility and register for prizes which will be presented.  Saturday’s event is being arranged to open the new facility and will be a forerunner to the regular TV Auto Banking service which begins Monday morning.  The new facility occupies the former Savoy Theatre building directly west of the bank building which the bank acquired last year.   WDT



Arthur L. Turke, cashier of the Wisconsin National Bank in Watertown will graduate Friday, Aug. 26, from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.  The school requires two weeks attendance each year for three years; in addition students are required to do extension work involving problems in all phases of banking.  The present high standards of banking service in communities throughout the country are enhanced by the completion of the required studies at this specialized banking school.  Some 1,300 bankers are enrolled this year from 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Central America and Sweden.  The faculty of 110 instructors are among the most competent men in their professions.  Mr. Turke began his banking career with the Wisconsin National Bank in 1950 following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, in June of that year.   WDT



01 10          Arthur Turke, last night was elected president of the Wisconsin National Bank, succeeding Walter Thrams, who has retired from the bank .  Turke continues to hold the position of cashier.  Turke has been associated with the bank since 1950.  Turke is a native of Watertown, and is a graduate of the Watertown High School and the University of Wisconsin, where, in June of 1950, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  He also attended Northwestern College here.  He is a Navy veteran, having been in the Navy Air Corps.  While in the Navy he attended St. Ambrose College at Davenport, Iowa, and Colorado College at Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Following his graduation from the university, he joined the staff of the Wisconsin National Bank as teller and bookkeeper.   WDT



WTTN-AM and WTTN-FM moved its broadcasting studios and offices to 100 Main Street in 1979 after 29 years on the third floor of the former Wisconsin National Bank building [Main, W, 102-106], now known as the Valley Bank building [?], 104 West Main Street.   WDT



Death of Arthur Turke, 1927-2009.  Was employed for 29 years, as a teller, bookkeeper, director, cashier and president.




Cross References:

In October, 1845, Daniel Jones came to Watertown and opened a store; in 1852 he opened a banking and exchange office in connection with his store and organized the Jefferson County Bank in 1853, which he continued until 1865, when the Wisconsin National Bank was organized by Mr. Jones in company with the late Wm. M. Dennis, Peter V. Brown, Henry Mulberger and Charles Jacobi.  Mr. Dennis was president of the bank for many years, and after his death Mr. Jones was elected president of the bank and remained its president until his advanced years caused him to retire from active business


Dr. Edward Johnson, at the time of his death he was a stockholder in the Wisconsin National Bank and for a number of years was one of its directors.


Herman Grube served for a time as cashier and director of the Wisconsin National Bank.


In later years the Savoy Theater building (106 W Main) was added to the offices of the Wisconsin National Bank


Edwin Faber, Sr. was a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin National Bank.


Herman Wertheimer, stockholder in the Wisconsin National Bank




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin