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Watertown Wisconsin History Timeline


                1835

                                Town lines were run by John Mullet, government surveyor

                1836

Major snow storm hits city   02 11 1936

                                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

First retail store on Main St, 117 E Main, Luther& John Cole 

                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 newspaper in city  

                                First band in city 

                                Daily mail service between Watertown and Milwaukee 

                                Life in Watertown area (Lebanon), letter from a Wisconsin Pioneer 

 

                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

                                Banking and exchange office established, Daniel Jones

                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

                                Watertown Moravian Church established

                                St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church established

                                Justus Moak moves to town

                1855

                                Carl Schurz arrives in Watertown [died 1906].  Schurz home built  

                                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 service 

                                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

                                Last railroad bond paid  

                                Census 

                                Turner movement was launched

                                Louis Cordes moves to town

                                Pioneer Engine Co. No. 1, First Annual Ball

                1861

April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865:  Civil War Period

                                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

                                April 9, 1865:  Civil War ends 

                                April 14, 1865: Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

                                Fourth of July, “There is a neatness, a substantiality and a solidity about the city which attracts the eye”

                                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

Paving of Main Street (with paving blocks)

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

                                Electrical lighting system installed; electricity first came to the city on Dec. 2, 1889

                                First Christmas lights on Main St; electricity first came to the city on Dec. 2, 1889

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  

                                Buffalo Bill's Wild West show comes to town  

                1899

                                Main Street paved with bricks

                                Harvest Jubilee & Carnival  

                1900

                                Theodore Roosevelt stops in town

                                First Horseless Carriage enters town

                                William Jennings Bryan speaks 

                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

                                A city of 10,000 inhabitants  

                1905

                                Inter County Fair began (ran until 1927)

                                Baseball is a favorite pastime

                                Homecoming Day, 1905

                                Aerial view, 4th, 5th and Jones streets  

                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

                                Earthquake felt in Watertown, 1909

                1910

                                Watertown Intra-County Fair

                1912

                                Post office constructed, Second and Madison

                                Carl Schurz home fire 

                                Newspapers delivered to Watertown by airplane, first such use of plane, Farnum Fish

                1913

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

                                Classic Theater opened

                1914

                                Tornado hits city 

                1915

                                Watertown in 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

                                Armistice Day

                                Spanish influenza, churches closed at Thanksgiving

                1919

                                Watertown American Legion began

                                City profile  

                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

                                Labor Day Parade   

                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)

                                First Maxwell Street Day sales event

                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  

                1972

                                Heritage Day parade  

                1976

American Revolution Bicentennial celebration

                1981

Fourth of July parade  

                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

 

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