This file part of www.watertownhistory.org website

Watertown Wisconsin History Timeline


               1835

                              Town lines were run by John Mullet, government surveyor

               1836

                              The Founding of Watertown:

                              Timothy Johnson arrival, Dec 10, 1836

    Through the eyes of Timothy Johnson's daughter

    August Derleth article

                              Luther Cole arrival, Dec 27, 1836

                              First mail arrives

                              James Rogan, first deed to a land grant, recollections of

                              First hotel, a two room shanty, Rogan brothers

               1837

                              Idealized scene

                              John Richards arrival

                              John Chadwick arrival

                              First death and first birth

                              First post office and postmaster

                              Brayton family, early area (Aztalan) settlers, arrive in area

               1839

                              Territorial roads constructed through Water town

               1840

                              First Fourth of July parade

               1841

                              St. Bernard’s mission established, first Catholic Mass in Watertown

               1842

                              Watertown settlement, depiction of

                              Winter of

               1843

                              Store that became Farmer’s Hotel constructed (later Commercial Hotel; Carlton House today)

                              Planters Hotel constructed

               1844

                              St. Bernard’s frame church constructed

               1845

                              Uniontown, Decem.27, 1945 / John Gamble letter

                              Daniel Jones arrives in Watertown, merchant, banker

                              First cemetery established

                              First Congregation Church established

               1846

                              Watertown Plank Road constructed

                              Mud Tavern built (approx time)

                              Dr. James Cody arrival 

                              Edward Evans arrival; blacksmith, wagon-making, livery stable operator

               1847

                              St. Paul’s Episcopal Church organized 

                              Farmer’s Hotel opened

                              Fountain & Co. opens first drug store in village

                              Fourth of July, first in village

                              Brickyards of Boomer and also Chadwick & Platt’s open

                              First band in city 

                              Daily mail service between Watertown and Milwaukee

               1848

                              Year of Statehood

                              Watertown in 1848

                              Watertown Plank Road started

                              First [or one of the first] circus comes to early Watertown

               1849

                              Watertown incorporated as a village

                              Boomer Dam built

                              Kusel’s established

                              St. Luke’s Lutheran Church incorporated

                              Muddy Main Street

               1849-54

                              Cholera epidemic in Watertown

               1850

                              Watertown’s Bohemian Settlement 

               1851

                              Octagon House construction started

               1852

                              St. John’s Lutheran Church-WELS founded

                              Weltbuerger Printing established, German newspaper

                              Plank Road Brewery established

                              William Voss settles in town

               1853

                              Watertown incorporated as a city

                                    Election of first city officers, including first mayor

                              Ebenezer Moravian Church established

                              Keck Furniture established

                              Octagon House construction started

                              Salick’s Jewelry Store established

                              St. Henry’s Catholic Church established

                              Watertown Plank Road completed

                              Watertown Police Department formed

                              Watertown Rifles organized

                              Wisconsin State Fair hosted by Watertown

                              1853 impressions of Watertown

                              Gustav Eberle arrives, Eberle Drug

                              Sharpshooter Club organized

               1854

                              Octagon House completed

                              Cholera sweeps through city

                              Bank of Watertown organized

                              Watertown Moravian Church established

                              St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church established

                              Justus Moak moves to town

               1855

                              Carl Schurz arrives in Watertown [died 1906]

                              Railroad (Milwaukee-Watertown) reaches city (est. 1853)

                              Railroad (C. M. & St. Paul Railway) reaches city (begun 1851)

                              Railroad depot of C. M. & St. Paul opened

                              Fred Miller settles in town

                              Schempf’s Dry Goods store built 

Watertown population of 8,512; largest place in the state outside of Milwaukee.  In the year 1855 and for several years thereafter property and business were booming here, and every citizen was full of enterprise.  Had the same spirit continued until now Watertown would still be the second city of the state, both in regard to population and as a commercial center.  At the present time everything here is at a standstill, business is dull, the value of property is away down at bed rock, and the population of our city does not exceed by 500 that of 28 years ago.   Our Railroad Bonds Have Ruined Us

               1856

                              First Kindergarten established

                              First Gas Station 

                              Wisconsin National Bank of Watertown organized

                              Hardege family moves to town

               1857

                              Fire Department formed 

               1858

                              Watertown-Madison Road

                              Fourth of July

                              Wiggenhorn Cigar established

                              Jefferson County Fair

                              An Ordinance

               1859

                              St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, cornerstone laid

                              Gaebler family moves to town

                              Pike’s Peak fever

                              Muddy Main Street

                              Special Police or Night Watch proposed

                              Chicago & North Western line constructed

               1860

                              Census

                              Turner movement was launched

                              Louis Cordes moves to town

                              Pioneer Engine Co. No. 1, First Annual Ball

               1861

                              Watertown Rifles organized for Civil War

                              Early Watertown Amusement Places

               1862

                              Concordia Society formed

               1863

                              Theological Seminary established

               1864

                              Marshall Woodard moves to city

                              Leap Year Sleigh Ride 

               1865

                              Civil War ends:  Amand Gritzner veteran bio 

                                                           Charles Wollensak bio 

                              Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, April 14

                              Northwestern College established

                              Archie Brothers Monuments established

                              Oak Hill Cemetery, started at present location

               1866

                              Watertown High School started

                              First Watertown City Directory published

                              Area German families migrate to Norfolk, Nebraska

                              Frank J. Howes Champion Circus

               1867

                              Saengerfest celebration  (first of three)

               1868

                              City served with writ of mandamus (railroad bond issue)

               1869

                              Exorcism performed at St. Henry’s Catholic Church

                              Jesse Stone arrives in town

               1870

                              Empire Mill fire

               1871

                              Drought.  Great Peshtigo and Chicago fires

                              Diary note: Watertown area of 1871:  ..... Pigpens more conspicuous than houses.  Turkeys look nicer

                                than the inhabitants .... The city is neither elegant nor beautiful.  Rather filthy looking . . .

               1872

                              Wisconsin Dairymen’s Assn’s Board of Trade organized at Watertown

               1873

                              Tornado 

                              First funeral home (Nowack) opened

               1874

                              Story of the Borchardt Murder

                              Cady St Bridge constructed

               1875

                              First quintuplets in U.S., born to Edna Kanouse

                              Saengerfest celebration 

               1876

                              Celebration, 100 years from July 4, 1776

                              Phoenix Fire Co organized

                              Otto’s Inn founded

                              Watertown’s Turkish Baths

               1877

                              First telephone in service in Watertown

               1878

                              Harger’s Times newspaper

               1880

                              Prof Charles Viebahn, Principal and Superintendent of School (1880-1904)

               1881

                              Fierce snow storm paralyzes city

                              Flood takes out Main Street bridge

                              Watertown brick making business started

               1882

                              Central Wisconsin Fair held in Watertown

               1883

                              Young Married Ladies’ Ride event inaugurated

                              Plattdeutscher Verein established

                              Pease Post No. 94, G.A.R. founded

               1884

                              City Hall constructed on N. First St.

               1885

                              Saengerfest celebration 

                              Grube General Store established

               1886

                              Main St, West, N side, from bridge 

               1887

                              Fire at Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway complex

                              Fire at Rough & Ready Mill, upper dam

                              Emergency Hospital established

                              Main St, East, N side, from bridge 

                              Main St, East, S side, from Second 

               1888

                              Trachte & Trayser established

                              St. Mark’s Lutheran Church established

                              Central Wisconsin Fair Held at Watertown

               1889

                              Watertown Table Slide Company organized

                              Milwaukee St Bridge (iron) opened

                              Electrical plant franchise given L Cordes by city, May 27, 1889

                              Electrical lighting system installed

1895 

                              Hartwig veterinary hospital established

                              Laying of sewer line on Main St

                              Public Health report on small pox, consumption, need for hospital

                              Watertown Daily Times founded

               1896

                              Euterpe Music Club formed

               1897

                              Wisconsin Bible Training School established

                              Watertown Squab Co and Watertown Pigeon Club origins

               1898

                              Major snow storm hits city

                              Water lines and utilities laid on Main St

                              Lewis fountain, Main Street

                              Farmer’s Picnic, Fourth of July celebration, Main St

                              Spanish-American War 

               1899

                              Main Street paved with bricks

                              Harvest_Carnival  

               1900

                              Theodore Roosevelt stops in town

               1901

                              Watertown stuffed geese industry established (approx date); Watertown Goslings

                              Watertown Elks Lodge #666

               1902

                              Homecoming Day, first one

                              John Philip Sousa performs in Watertown

               1903

                              Bethesda Lutheran Home established / Chapter on Bethesda Home

                              First Hospital 

                              Watertown Public Library established

                              Turkish baths open, Second St

                              July 4th, Hazardous holiday

                              C M & St Paul Railroad bridge (stone arch) opened

                              Iroquois theatre fire in Chicago, Misses Orlena and Anna Moak, victims

               1904

                              Beal & Torrey Shoe factory built

                              Globe Mill, concrete dam built

               1905

                              Inter County Fair began (ran until 1927)

                              Baseball is a favorite pastime

                              Homecoming Day, 1905

               1906

                              First hospital established 

                              Carl Schurz, death of 

                              Masonic Temple constructed 

               1907

                              1907:  One of the most prosperous for Watertown

                              Children’s Day, last day of school; on way to Tivoli Island for picnic

                              Two train wrecks at Junction

                              Watertown Day at World's County Fair at Beaver Dam

               1908

                              Interurban service started 

                              Fred Merkle makes a name for himself

                              Auto manufacturing facility proposed

                              Homecoming Day, 1908

               1909

                              G B Lewis fire, June

                              President Taft, train stops in Watertown, 1909

                              Railroad accident, 12 killed

                              Automobile businesses follow development of Model T

                              Homecoming Day, 1909

               1910

                              Watertown Intra-County Fair

               1912

                              Post office constructed, Second and Madison

                              Carl Schurz home fire 

               1913

                              First Orbit, Watertown High School, new high school and spring weather note

                              Classic Theater opened

               1914

                              Tornado hits city 

               1915

                              Barnum and Bailey Circus parade on Main Street

                              Tuberculosis Sanitarium proposed for city

                              Barker Lumber fire

               1916

                              Masonic Temple fire 

                              Trinity Lutheran Church founded

               1917

                              Webster School, fall, 4th Grade, Bernice Krueger, teacher

                              Company E, WI National Guard, activated, World War I

               1918

                              Spanish influenza

                              Armistice Day

               1919

                              Watertown American Legion began

               1920

                              Watertown Chamber of Commerce formed

                              Troop G, First Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment formed

                              Watertown man, age 70, daddy of twins

               1921

                              105th Cavalry Regiment formed

               1923

                              Memorial Bridge dedicated

               1924

                              Death of Colonel Albert A. Solliday, 1841-1924

                              Rotary Club founded

               1924

                              Memorial Park proposed

                              Washington Park converted to athletic field

               1926

                              Milwaukee Road Depot began operations 

               1928

                              Turner Opera House fire

               1930

                              Milwaukee St Bridge (concrete arch) opened

                              First funeral home:  Nowack’s

               1932

                              Mullen’s founded 

               1933

                              Watertown Historical Society formed

               1936

                              Centennial Celebration of founding of Watertown  (1836-1936)

                              Richard Hoge becomes weather observer

               1937

                              Rogan Home remodeled into Boyle Funeral Home

               1940

                              32nd Division mobilized for World War II

                              Interurban service ended 

               1941

                              First city church census 

                              Swimming pool constructed

               1942

                              Turkey Gehrke’s death

                              Swimming pool opened 

               1943

                              Life Magazine, Jan 10 

               1945

                              I L Henry Box Factory fire 

               1946

                              Fleischmann Malting fire 

                              Lincoln School fire 

               1947

                              Bittner and Tetzlaff fire

                              Pearl Harbor, December 7

               1949

                              City Manager-council form of municipal government began

               1950

                              Savoy Theater fire

               1953

                              Centennial of incorporation; celebration postponed until 1954 due to lack of planning

                              High School class of 1953

               1954

                              100th anniversary of the first city charter; actually signed in 1853

                              Centennial Celebration

                              Watertown Centurama 

                              Riverside Park Band Shell dedicated

1955

                              Sacred Heart Military Academy opens

                              Watertown Gosling Baseball wins State Championship

               1956

                              Death of Charles A Kading

1959

                              Old Elm Mill fire

               1960

                              St. Luke’s Lutheran Church demolished (N Fourth St site)

               1961

                              Company C activated, 32nd Infantry Div, Berlin Crisis

               1962

                              Post office constructed, Dodge St

               1963

                              Tribute to the memory of President John F. Kennedy, on day of funeral

               1968

                              Maranatha Baptist Bible College opens

                              City Hall on N First St demolished

               1969

                              Marquardt Manor opened

               1976

American Revolution Bicentennial celebration

               1982

                              Flood of 1982

               1983

                              Carl Schurz U.S. stamp issued

                              Kresge’s closes

                              Commander Daniel Brandenstein, United States Navy, pilot for Space Shuttle Challenger flight

               1984

                              Milwaukee Road Depot ends operations 

               1986

                              Sesquicentennial of founding; celebration postponed until 1987

* 1986 was the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city, but the city just couldn’t get everything together, so the event was held in 1987, complete with a big parade, etc.  And, it just continued after that.  That’s what happened in 1954.  The event was supposed to be in 1953, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Watertown becoming a city.

Riverfest started, on 150th anniversary of founding

               1987

                              “Sesquicentennial’ observed

               1995

                              Luther Preparatory School opens

               2003

                              Sesquicentennial of incorporation as city not observed

               2007

                              Watertown Fire Department 150th anniversary

               2008

                              The Flood of June, ‘08

 

Index: Watertown on the Internet

 

 


Related Link:  Archives at the Dodge/Jefferson Counties Genealogical Society Web Site.