The Bank of Watertown was founded in 1854 by A. L. Pritchard, who was a New York financier.  A three-story bank building was erected in the 1850s.  Not only was this an important bank, but the original building housed the offices of prominent pioneer attorney Theodore Prentiss, and its upstairs was the early home of Watertown's most significant fraternal group, the Masons. 


In 1916 the three-story building was replaced by the current two-story structure.







    ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin






Bank of Watertown


Incorporated 1854

14 E Main



This is the second building on this site.  The Bank of Watertown was founded in 1854 by A. L. Pritchard, who was a New York financier.  The Bank of Watertown built a three-story building at this location in the 1850s.  Not only was this an important bank, but the original building housed the offices of prominent pioneer attorney Theodore Prentiss, and its upstairs was the early home of Watertown's most significant fraternal group, the Masons.  On January 29, 1916, the above building was formally opened to the public


Watertown Gazette, 08 01 1929

The history of the Bank of Watertown is tied up closely with that of the community itself.  Up until a year or so before this bank was organized, Watertown had no banking facilities, the nearest approach to a banking institution being Daniel Jones' broker office.  When a resident of the community needed a loan and had no satisfactory collateral, he was very apt to borrow of his grocer or butcher and repay the loan with the products of his farm or garden.  Then, in 1852, the Jefferson County Bank was organized in Watertown.   It survived for about nine years but in 1862, according to the files of the Wisconsin state banking authorities, it liquidated and passed out of existence after paying all claims against it dollar for dollar. 




The years preceding the Civil War were years of political, social and financial unrest, particularly in the newer states of the West.  From 1853 to 1860 there was constant friction between the pro-and anti-slavery factions.   When the war finally broke out in the spring of 1861, Wisconsin had 109 state banks with an outstanding circulation of $4,500,000, two-thirds of which was secured by rapidly depreciating bonds of southern and border states. Within two weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter, 38 of the 109 Wisconsin banks were closed, and public confidence was not wholly restored until after the great Union victories of 1863.


Throughout this troubled period, however, the Bank of Watertown was able, as a result of capable and conservative management, to continue its service and keep faith with its customers and the community.




        City of Watertown, Wisconsin - Architectural and Historical Intensive Survey Report: 1986-1987. City of Watertown Historic Preservation Project, August 1987, pp 214-225.


Two of the early banks in Watertown were begun by Yankees.  Daniel Jones, a native of New Hampshire started the Jefferson County Bank in the 1850s.  It was suspended in 1862 and Jones joined with William Dennis who had formed the Bank of Wisconsin.  Together they formed the Wisconsin National Bank (116 W. Main St).  The Bank of Watertown was founded by A. L. Pritchard, a New Yorker who never moved to Watertown.  Its long-time cashier, though, was William H. Clark, another New Yorker who came to Watertown in 1854.  Its original building (14 E. Main St.) was replaced by a new structure in 1916




      The History of Jefferson County, Wisconsin by C. W. Butterfield, 1879


William H. Clark, cashier of the Bank of Watertown; came to Milwaukee in 1852, and to Watertown in 1854.  He organized the bank that year and has been connected with it ever since.  Mr. Clark organized the gas company here, in connection with A. L. Pritchard, and conducted the works for several years.  He has been in the banking business continuously since August 4, 1854, over a quarter of a century.  Mr. Clark is a native of Chemung Co., N.Y.



    Watertown Gazette, 08 01 1929


In 1854, the year after the Jefferson County Bank opened for business, the Bank of Watertown came into existence and has served continuously ever since without even a change in name.


Watertown was incorporated as a city in 1853, and its first mayor Theodore Prentiss, was in office when the Bank of Watertown was organized. The population at the time the city charter was granted was about 4,000, but was rapidly increasing.  Wisconsin was just acquiring its first railroad facilities, the Milwaukee Road completing its line from Milwaukee to Waukesha in 1851, to Madison in 1854, and to Prairie du Chien in 1857, while the Northwestern reached Janesville from the southeast in 1855 and Fond du Lac in 1858.




Among the founders of the bank are some of the most prominent pioneer settlers of this territory, men who played a leading part in the early development of the community.  At the first stockholders' meeting, held on August 1, 1854, A. L. Pritchard, Luther A. Cole, Linus R. Cady, John Richards and Ebenezer W. Cole were chosen directors of the bank.


A. L. Pritchard was elected president, and William H. Clark, cashier.  Daniel Jones, Amos Steck, and John P. Roose were also among those actively interested in the organization of the bank, and Theodore Prentiss joined the group shortly after.  Among the later presidents of the institution were William Buchheit and Frank E. Woodard.  Among later officers and directors were Jesse Stone, Marshall J. Woodard, E. J. Brandt, W. C. Stone, Constance Wiggenhorn, and C. H. Jacobi.




Shortly after the bank was organized it erected a three-story brick building on the site of its present structure.  That building, which was the bank's home for sixty years, was regarded at the time of its erection as the best bank building in the state outside of Milwaukee. It was built of Watertown brick.  Vault doors were brought from New York City, and the vault, which would seem almost primitive compared with the one the bank owns today, was hailed as a notable example of advanced construction.


11 22       BANK RAISED CAPITAL TO $100,000

The Bank of Watertown has now completed its arrangements for raising its capital to $100,000.  The bills are already struck off, and by the first of January 1856, the bank will commence operations with greatly increased means for accommodating one of the most profitable and growing business communities in Wisconsin.  The Bank of Watertown commenced business in this city a little more than a year ago with a capital of $25,000.  A short time since its stock was raised to $50,000, and now this latter amount is about to be doubled in order to keep pace with the calls that are made on it for larger accommodations.  This short and plain story speaks volumes in favor of our city, and tells with unerring certainty that rapidly as we are going ahead, we are going along safely.  Mr. A. L. Pritchard is the President, and Wm. H. Clark, the Cashier of the Bank of Watertown—gentlemen in whose experience and ability the public may repose the utmost confidence.      WD


1857       LOCATION OF READING CENTER (pre public library)

Long before 1900, however, the idea of a free public library was in the dreams and wishful thinking of many Watertown residents.  In 1857 the young men's association rented a room and opened a reading center in the old Bank of Watertown building on Main and North First streets.  So many readers came that the association moved to the top floor of the Cole building.


1857 line drawing     









The law office of Theodore Prentiss (Watertown’s first mayor) was above the Bank of Watertown.





Upon his arrival in Watertown Col. Solliday opened dental parlors over the Bank of Watertown, where he remained three years, finally locating on Main Street (Solliday & Meyer, 117 Main) where he practiced his profession until his retirement from active duties.


Solliday held several positions of trust in Watertown, among them four years on the school board, part of the time its president; alderman of the



      1881 snow storm street scene



10 18       WILLIAM H. CLARK, Cashier of the Bank of Watertown, death of wife Charlotte A. Clark   WR




Some very handsome gilded and tinted lettering was done last week on the south windows of the Bank of Watertown by W. C. Raue.        Watertown Republican, 10 23 1889






       1891 drawing, Weltburger



09 30       SAFE KEEPING

The Bank of Watertown is making several substantial improvements on its building.  Its building was one of the finest in the state when erected some thirty-eight years ago, its outside walls being built of pressed brick, and the trimmings of iron.  After thirty-eight years the building is in good condition, and one of the most prominent on Main Street.  This institution passed safely through all financial storms during this long period, and by the sound financial policy of its present management has placed itself in the front ranks of the financial institutions of the state. . . .  The principal improvement, will be its steel burglar-proof vault.  Its vault, originally built in the most substantial manner, with very heavy solid walls, the entire interior being of stone, will be lined with burglar-proof steel plate, the vestibule and doors of the vault alone weighing 17,000 pounds.  The outer door will have a triple time lock and automatic bolt work.  This door is of immense weight.  It closes air tight and opens and closes as stated periods automatically, there being no opening nor spindle through the door whatever.  The second door is a heavy steel plate combination door.  The vestibule also a contains day gate.  Inside of this burglar-proof vault will be placed the deposit boxes rented to the bank’s customers, and also its burglar proof time-lock safe, which is also provided with a second steel door.  The reserve cash of the bank will thus be protected by four burglar-proof steel doors, a triple and a double time lock.   WG



                TWO DRAWINGS, both from 1893 issues of Weltburger   [1]  [2]




One episode in the bank's history in which it takes particular pride, and one that is characteristic of the high sense of responsibility that has always been a feature of the bank's management, took place in 1893.  That was a year of financial panic in the United States, and banks in many parts of the country were in acute distress.  The Bank of Watertown remained perfectly sound, as it had through previous panics, but gossips aroused by the general lack of public confidence in banks spread rumors that frightened some of the depositors.  To quiet depositors and restore confidence, on July 26th, the bank posted in its window and published in the newspapers the following "Notice to Depositors":


Owing to the present unsettled condition throughout the business world, we, the undersigned directors of the Bank of Watertown, hereby guarantee with our private fortunes all the deposits now in the bank and all deposits made during the year 1893.


There is due depositors in this bank, $220,000.  The assets of this bank are $300,000.  Added to this ample amount of assets we pledge our private fortunes.


We take this occasion to thank the business community, farmers, and other customers for their liberal patronage and desire to show our appreciation of the same with this absolute guarantee.


Dated, Watertown, Wis. July 26, 1893.

               Wm. Buchheit,

               Jesse Stone,

               M J Woodard,

               Theodore Prentiss,

               C Wiggenhorn,

               E J Brandt


This confidence-inspiring document accomplished its purpose.




Bank keeps the key














The scene of activity about the Bank of Watertown the past few days and nights has convinced those who have watched the preparation that the installation of a burglar alarm system is no easy task and in fact take a far greater amount of strenuous labor and time than the average person would imagine. The new system is being installed by the Invincible Protection Company of Monroe, the equipment being manufactured at Cedar Rapids, Iowa.


The system is what is known as the open and closed circuit, the vault of the bank being enclosed in a veritable network of cables containing electric wires so that it would be utterly impossible for a burglar to gain access to the vault without giving an alarm that would almost wake the dead. The work of installing the new system is in charge of T. J. Weirich of Monroe, who has four experienced assistants helping him, beside local assistants. The work was started last Saturday, Mr. Weirich working and supervising the work through to Monday a period of forty-eight hours without any sleep. It is expected that it will require a week's time yet to complete the task of installing the system. In the course of operating it was necessary to drill holes through the steel plates of the vaults in order to run the cable. It was found that ordinary drills would scarcely touch the steel, so the process used was by electricity, a common arc light carbon being used as the drill. This process is a very interesting one to watch, the display of light being virtually like a miniature electrical storm. The operation has been watched by many of our citizens and all have found Mr. Weirich and his assistants very courteous in explaining the details of the new system.   WDT




A deputy factory inspector has ordered the Bank of Watertown to build a fire escape on either the south or east side of its building at the north west corner of Main and First streets as the hall in the third story being used as a test hall (sic).  It is passing strange that such an order should be issued as it is less than four years ago that the owners of the building put up a good and sufficient fire escape on the north side of the building.  The building is small and heated with a furnace, the only stove in it being in the Post hall and the buildings on either side are warmed by steam from the Masonic Temple.  To put up another fire escape where ordered would deface the building and cost at least $200 and is not required for the safety of those who occupy the building.




The reports of the Bank of Watertown and Merchants' National Bank of Watertown show that in capital, surplus and deposits those two banks have now passed the million dollar mark, which speaks well for the business interests of Watertown.  The Wisconsin National Bank's deposits, capital and surplus are over $610,000, and judging from its last report, that old and popular banking institution is also on a solid financial basis.   WG



01 06       HAPPY NEW YEAR 1911

In entering upon another business year we desire to thank our depositors and patrons for the loyal confidence reposed in this bank during the 56 years in business.  It will be our purpose in the future, as in the past, to place our services at your command—our strength and security at your disposal.  Bank of Watertown.  Capital $150,000.  Surplus $30,000.  Established 1854.  Three percent interest paid on time deposits.   WG



At a meeting of the board of directors. of the Bank of Watertown held on Thursday, June 28, 1911, Frank E. Woodard, for many years the efficient cashier of the bank, was elected president to fill the vacancy in the office caused by the death of Wm. Buchheit, and Fred Gamm was elected a member of the board of directors, and he was promoted from the office of assistant cashier to that of cashier.  The promotion of both men was with the general approval of all the stockholders of the bank, and finds great favor with its patrons and the public in general.



05 28       NEW DEPARTMENT in Bank of Watertown.  In talking with the cashier of the Bank of Watertown today he told us [Watertown Gazette] of a new department to be opened next week in their bank.  This new service is to be given free to everybody who wishes to use it, whether they have ever done business with this bank or not.


 “The time is forever gone when a bank's only duty was to accept deposits and return the money when wanted by the depositor,” said Mr. Gamm.  “The up-to-date bank must give their patrons every possible advantage in their money matters.  Few people have the opportunity to study financial affairs as does the banker and he soon learns of the new methods worked out for helping his patrons.  While it is true that money was made to be spent, it is also true that there are many ways to spend it.  The man who gets the greatest [good] from the money spent is an exception to the rule.  Such a man we call thrifty.  Thrift means skillful handling of money in order that the greatest amount of good comes from it. 


“Everybody wishes to be thrifty.  Our Thrift Savings Club system will give them the easiest possible way to develop thrifty habits.  A large part of any thrift program is to plan ahead for the money to be spent.  The vacation trip, the life insurance payment, Christmas expenses, taxes, paying off a mortgage, building or buying a home and various other matters come up and must be provided for. 


“We have the easiest and best system for providing for these various funds and cordially invite the readers of The Gazette to call and have the system explained to them.”  


09 17       NEW BUILDING for Bank of Watertown 

Ferd Behlke Secures Contract / An Investment of $35,000.

Ferdinand Behlke of this city has secured the contract for the new Bank of Watertown building, exclusive of heating, plumbing and decorating.  Work on the new building, which is to be erected on the site of the present building, will begin at once.  The rear half of the building will be completed first and then the front part, so that there will be no interference with the business of the bank.  When the rear part is finished the business will be conducted therein till the entire building is completed, which will be during the summer of 1915.  The building will represent an investment of $35,000, and it is designed by A. C. Clas, one of Milwaukee’s most celebrated architects.  WG


Additional source:  Engineering News, Volume 72. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1914


10 24       FARE-REFUNDING SALE, full page Weltburger ad 




On Saturday Judge Grimm in Circuit Court sentenced R. M. Shogry, alias E. M. Esper, to three years in the state prison at Waupun.  On January 13th Shogry attempted to defraud the Bank of Watertown.  His home is at Mosonton, Pa.  Last January he called at the Bank of Watertown and deposited a small amount of cash and a number of worthless checks, and afterward endeavored to draw against the account, but the bank management was too smart for him and had him arrested.  He plead guilty before Judge Grimm and received his sentence on Saturday.   WG






The Bank of Watertown will occupy temporary quarters in the Masonic Temple building while the construction of the front part of the bank’s new building is in progress.  When completed, Watertown will have one of the most handsome and commodious bank buildings in the state and one of which the citizens of the city may justly feel proud.     The Watertown News



Building operations in Watertown have shown marked activity during the last year.  Many new residences have been erected, as well as a number of business buildings.  The chief pride of Watertown is the new building of the Bank of Watertown, which institution is the oldest of its kind in Jefferson county.  Its new home, which will be ready for occupancy about Nov. 1st, stands at the northwest corner of First and Main streets.  The ground floor is equipped with the most modern of bank fixtures, while the upper floors will house several commodious office suites which will be occupied by such firms as the individuals as the Old Line Life Insurance Company, Attorney Wm. H. Woodard, F. J. Prentiss [T. & J. Prentiss] and W. C. Stone; while the president of the bank, Mr. F. E. Woodard, will also have private offices above the bank.   WG




On January 29, 1916, the present building was formally opened to the public with a reception at which visitors were given an opportunity of inspecting the structure and its equipment.


It is interesting to note that, while the Bank of Watertown grew steadily and paid satisfactory dividends for a great many years, its most rapid expansion has taken place since the opening of the present building just thirteen years ago. 


An article appearing in the Watertown Daily Times on the day this building opened [1916] called attention to the fact that the bank's deposits were then over $900,000 and remarked that the institution "bids fair to be numbered among the 'million dollar banks' within a reasonable time."  That this prediction was extremely conservative is shown by the fact that deposits in 1929 were about $2,000,000 and total resources are approximately $2,300,000.  The present capital is $200,000 - four times the amount of the original capital - and added to this is $165,000 in surplus and undivided profits.


02 01       NEW BANK BUILDING DETAILED                The Watertown Weekly Leader, 01 Feb 1916

Scarce would one think of the Bank of Watertown without calling to mind the history of Watertown; for in its line of commercial endeavor the Bank of Watertown is the pioneer financial institution of the city — the oldest now in existence.


When the bank received its charter on May 1, 1854, the first mayor of Watertown, Theodore Prentiss, was at the head of the city government.


The first president of the bank was A. L. Pritchard, and the first cashier was W. H. Clark.  The stockholders were men who made Watertown a commercial possibility, and whose names are indelibly impressed on the city’s history — Lucius Cady, Daniel Jones, Theodore Prentiss, John Richards, John W. Cole and Luther Cole.


The officers and directors laid the foundation for the present substantial financial institution along lines of safe banking practice, and there has not been an hour since these pioneers launched the project of banking in the city that any officer or depositor in the Bank of Watertown has had cause to regret the stability of the bank or the policies of financial transactions laid down by these men.


Two years after being chartered, the total bank deposits in Watertown were $105,000, of which amount the Bank of Watertown boasted $36,500, the remainder being in charge of the Jefferson County Bank, which liquidated a few years later


The bank, shortly after organization, erected what was at that time as substantial and magnificent a structure at the corner of Main and North First streets as the building thrown open for business last Saturday is considered the last word in banking house safety and convenience in this day.  The bank occupied this three-story brick structure for more than sixty years, and temporarily vacated the rooms, taking quarters in the Masonic Temple a year ago while the new building pictured on this page was being erected.  After some years with Mr. Pritchard as head of the bank, William Buchheit became president and C. H. Jacobi was chosen as cashier, but the latter retained his position only about a year, resigning on account of ill health.


At the same time Jesse Stone became vice-president.  Mr. Stone, however. did not devote his entire time to the institution, but took an active interest in politics, being elected to the office of lieutenant-governor.  At one time he was an active candidate for the nomination of governor, surrendering his claims in the convention to Robert M. La Follette when our senior senator was made his party’s choice for chief executive in his first gubernatorial campaign.


Under Mr. Buchheit’s administration Eugene and Constance Wiggenhorn, founders of the Wiggenhorn Brothers, cigar manufacturers, entered the bank’s organization, and Constance was elected to the directorate.


Another Watertown pioneer to invest in the bank’s securities was M. J. Woodard, of the firm of Woodard & Stone, cracker manufacturers, while Theodore Prentiss, lawyer and capitalist. retained his interest. 









Wives and Daughters of Officials Act as Hosts—Beautiful Floral Pieces.


Historic Relics Shown Visitors,


Probably one of the most brilliant and whole-hearted welcomes ever extended to the citizens of Watertown by a business concern was when the Bank of Watertown opened its doors for the transaction of business Saturday morning.


The finishing touches had been completed by the contractors on the magnificent new building at Main and North First streets, and it presented a handsome appearance, both as to exterior and interior.


Nothing had been omitted by the bank officials to make visitors feel at home, and those who braved the storm which raged all day were well repaid.


Wives and daughters of the officials and directors were hosts to the lady visitors, presenting each with a flower as a remembrance of their visit.


Officials of the bank extended welcome to the male visitors, the passing out of cigars being one of the gracious acts of entertainment.


The guests were in all instances shown through the bank’s new home, which was a revelation to the visitors in substantial construction, neatness of finish and conveniences.


Carnations and roses were used in profusion in the decorations, while palms and ferns were interspersed.


Claude Reynard’s mandolin orchestra furnished the music and remained on duty until the reception came to a close at 10 o’clock in the evening.


One floral piece which attracted much favorable comment was the “Welcome,” made of red carnations, and which was prominently displayed.


Directors of the other three Watertown banks sent beautiful floral pieces as their compliments to the Bank of Watertown entering its new home, as did also some of the business men of the city.


One interesting souvenir which the officers displayed was a history of Watertown, in pamphlet form, published in 1856, by order of the city council, going into extensive detail to set forth the city’s advantages as a manufacturing center, and explaining the transportation facilities.




A placard displayed was of more than passing interest, recalling the days when a run on the bank was threatened.  This was during the panic of 1893, in Cleveland’s administration, when banks all over the country were going into bankruptcy, and to question the stability of any financial institution was a matter of course.  Rumors of a collapse, not only of the Bank of Watertown, but of any bank, was not a matter of surprise, and to retain confidence in the bank the following notice was published in the various Watertown newspapers and displayed in the bank:




Owing to the present unsettled condition throughout the business world, we, the undersigned directors of the Bank of Watertown, hereby guarantee with our private fortunes all the deposits now in the bank, and all deposits made during the year 1893.


There is due depositors in this bank $220,000.  The assets of this bank are $300,000.  Added to this ample amount of assets we pledge our private fortunes.


We take this occasion to thank the business community, farmers and other customers for their liberal patronage, and desire to show our appreciation of the same with this absolute guarantee.


Dated, Watertown, Wis., July 26, ’93.

Wm. Buchheit,

Jesse Stone,

M. J. Woodard,

Theodore Prentiss,

C. Wiggenhorn,

E. J. Brandt.    Watertown Weekly Leader, 02 01 1916



     Watertown Gazette, 08 01 1929

Bank of Watertown Observes Its Diamond Anniversary


Observing the occasion with an open house celebration to which the entire community is invited and with a free theatre party for the children, the Bank of Watertown on Saturday, August 3rd, will mark the completion of three quarters of a century of uninterrupted service.  The bank first opened for business in August, 1854, when Franklin Pierce was President of the United States.


The bank will be open on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and depositors, friends, and the public at large are invited to attend the celebration.  Officers, directors, and employees of the institution will be present to receive the guests.  The party for the children will be held at the Classic Theatre on Saturday afternoon, admission being by complimentary tickets which are being given out at the bank to children of 15 years and younger.


Present officers of the Bank of Watertown are H. Mulberger, president; J. F. Prentiss, vice president; L. J. Lange, cashier; and H. L. Schumann, manager of the bond department.  Directors are E. J. Brandt, Alex Buchheit, F. W. Gamm, H. Mulberger, E. A. Pratt, J. F. Prentiss, F. E. Woodard, and W. H. Woodard.


The force, the members of which through courtesy and close attention are an important factor in the bank's success, are: H. A. Mitzner, E. G. Thompson, Walter Manthey, Mary Burke, Waldemar Kohn, Anne Kress, and Gertrude Fleischer.


The bank offers a complete range of modern financial services under the general headings of commercial banking, savings, safe deposit, investments, and trust service.







Remodeled in 1954, the former bank building has been altered by the installation of metal storm windows on the second floor and by the covering of the majority of windows on the lower story as well as by the addition of a modern storefront in front of the original corner entrance. Only two original windows located at the north end remain on the structure.



Flowers, good wishes and between 2,500 and 3,000 callers marked the open house at the Bank of Watertown Tuesday afternoon and evening which was part of the institution’s centennial observance now underway.  Callers came from all walks of life, and some were from out of the city.  The flowers came in all colors and arrangements, sent by Watertown business concerns, individuals and out of town associates.  The visitors were shown through the bank’s recently expanded quarters and routine banking operations were explained.  Officers, directors and staff members shared in greeting the many visitors who kept up a steady stream throughout the afternoon and evening.



      Centennial Tri-Fold




After today Watertown will have but three banks instead of the present four. With the close of business this evening, the Farmers and Citizens Bank (1957c, 300 E Main, city assessor image) will cease to exist, according to announcement made public today. The negotiations which led to this step were underway for some time, but public announcement of the plan was withheld until today.


As of today the Bank of Watertown is assuming the deposit liabilities of the Farmers and Citizens Bank. All loans and mortgages will be payable hereafter to the Bank of Watertown. At a special meeting of the stockholders of the Bank of Watertown held late Wednesday afternoon they ratified a plan to increase the capital stock of the bank from $200,000 to $250,000 and endorsed the proposal previously acted on by the board of directors to assume the deposit liability of the Farmers and Citizens Bank, the announcement said. All loans and mortgages will be payable hereafter to the Bank of Watertown.   WDT



Those were the days the Bank closed at 3:00 and Fridays reopened from 6:00 tp 8:00.


1957       DIRECTORS

City Directory Ad:  Meyer, O E; Kern, Ray; Weihert, A W; Lange, L J; Kramp, L B; Schumann, H L






03 26       Bank acquired property; 106 Madison St, 8 E Main, 10 E Main   WDT


12 14       L. J. Lange, 313 Elizabeth Street, president of the Bank of Watertown since 1946, announced his retirement from banking at the end of this year.  His plans to retire did not come as a surprise since he had made it known last year that this would be his last year as a banker.  He is a member of the board of directors of the bank.  Mr. Lange, who was born in Watertown, went to work for the Bank of Watertown in 1911.  On June 2, 1924, became cashier of the bank, succeeding the late Fred Gamm who had been cashier for many years.  On Jan. 10, 1946, Mr. Lange was elected president, succeeding Henry Mulberger at the time of his retirement from banking.   WDT



01 12       The Bank of Watertown elected a new president, Harold L. Schumann.  He succeeds L. J. Lange who announced in December that he would retire from banking.  Mr. Lange was elected vice president and cashier last night.  He will remain with the bank until a new man comes into the institution to join the staff.  Walter F. Manthey was elected assistant cashier, R. J. Hoge was elected assistant vice president and J. V. Anderson was elected assistant cashier.  Directors elected last night are Ray J. Kern, L. B. Kramp, A. Weihert, L. J. Lange and Harold L. Schumann.   WDT


08 02       The Bank of Watertown last night was granted permission to make use of the city hall alley in order to carry out its plans for a drive-in banking facility.  The vote was 8 to 5.  There was little or no debate on the issue and during the discussion, Gerald E. Flynn, vice president and cashier of the bank revealed that the bank hopes some day to acquire the present city hall to enable it to carry out a greater expansion program.  Mr. Flynn said that the day is undoubtedly coming when a new city hall or municipal building will be constructed in Watertown and that when that time comes the bank will certainly be interested in an opportunity to acquire the present city hall site.  WDT


12 31       L. J. Lange, 313 Elizabeth Street, finally brought to a close his career as a banker last evening.  More than a year ago Mr. Lange announced plans to retire from the Bank of Watertown where he has been associated for a little more than 50 years but circumstances arose in the bank, including the death of Harold L. Schumann and several staff changes, which made it impossible for him to sever his connections until now. He still has the title of vice president and is also a bank director. Mr. Lange formerly served as president of the bank following the death of Henry Mulberger. Mr. Lange last year gave way to Mr. Schumann for the presidency and accepted one of the vice presidencies. After Mr. Schumann’s death, Gerald E. Flynn who had been brought to Watertown to join the bank staff was elected president and Mr. Lange continued as one of the vice presidents and a director.   WDT



01 02       L. J. Lange, who retired last week from the Bank of Watertown with which he was associated for more than 50 years, and James J. Schmied, well known Watertown builder, announced the formation of a real estate and building partnership to be known as Schmied and Lange, Inc.  Mr. Schmied, who is president of the Watertown Home Builders Association, has been a builder here for the past 12 years, specializing in homes.  He resides in route 5 on highway 26. Mr. Lange, who resides at 313 Elizabeth Street, said that the new business will be located at 112 North Second Street, which for years has been the office quarters of Kading and Kading.    WDT



09 06       The Bank of Watertown has made an offer, subject to negotiations, to acquire the present city hall property in North First Street [110 N First] in order to carry out its long standing plans for expanding its present bank facilities.  The offer was made public last night at the meeting of the common council.  That the bank seeks the property has long been a matter of record.  In fact some years ago, when Lawrence J. Lange was still president of the bank, it was announced at a meeting of the council that the bank wanted the present city hall when and if a new municipal building were constructed.  Such construction is now underway in Memorial Park and the city will occupy the new building late next year, vacating the present city hall which was erected in 1884.   WDT




The Bank of Watertown held its annual meeting last night.  Elected to the board of directors are Ray J. Kern, Edgar J. Kellerman, L. J. Lange, A. W. Weihert, L. B. Kramp, Gerald E. Flynn and E. James Quirk.  Mr. Quirk is the newest member of the board of directors.  This rounds out the board membership by bringing in a Watertown industrialist.  This brings a member of the E. J. Brandt family back into the Bank of Watertown organization, Mr. Quirk’s grandfather, the late E. J. Brandt, having been cashier of the bank many years ago.




The Bank of Watertown today announced plans to relocate.  It will abandon its present Main and North First Street building and move to a new and modern bank building to be constructed in the North Second Street at Madison Street section.  The site which the bank will acquire, and on which it has held options, runs along North Second Street from Madison Street to Jones Street and involves the Kopp buildings, the Schuenemann property and the Kellerman property which now houses the Kroger Supermarket in Madison Street.    WDT


The M&I Bank is now located on land which was acquired from a number of different businesses.  Among them were Koerner and Pingel Hardware Store, Kopp Sheet Metal, Kroger Food Store, Elmer and Beats Tavern, Marachowsky’s Grocery Store, Kellerman Insurance Agency, and Hofbrau Tavern.




Work has begun on demolishing the first building located on the site of the future new Bank of Watertown.  The building being torn down was among the pioneer bakery establishments in Watertown, at the corner of North Second and Jones Streets.  According to the bank’s plan for its new building, the new bank site runs along the east side of North Second Street, from Jones Street south to Madison Street, and includes the former Schuenemann property, the Kopp buildings and the Kellerman property which formerly housed the former Kroger Supermarket in Madison Street.    WDT



The Bank of Watertown, having acquired the property occupied by Leo’s Star Hardware store in North Second Street, part of the site which the bank purchased last year for its new bank building, is planning a closing out sale so the business can be terminated and work begun on the demolition of the last of the buildings making up the new bank site.  The new bank property runs along North Second Street, from Madison Street to Jones Street, as well as property in Madison Street, running up to and including the former site of the Kroger Grocery store building.  Most of the buildings have already been demolished and cleared for bank construction to begin.    WDT



Wrecking the last building units on the site of the new Bank of Watertown has started.  The bank, designed by Law, Law, Potter and Nystrom, Madison architects, will be located in North Second Street, between Madison and Jones Streets, including landscaping and customer parking facilities.  Other buildings in the nearly one block area were demolished earlier.  The architects have been given the word to prepare the final working sketches and will also construct a scale model.   WDT




The new Bank of Watertown project in North Second Street “saved the day” for new building in the city in February and helped make a presentable showing in the line of new building permits for the month. The total for the month stands at $228,600, of which $206,400 is represented by the permit granted to the bank for construction of its new building. That is for the building only.  WDT



The Bank of Watertown, which is to vacate its present building at Main and North First Streets before the end of the year and move into its new building in North Second Street, between Madison and Jones Streets, sold the two Main Street buildings it acquired some years ago as part of a plan which then called for expanding its present banking facilities, it was revealed today.  The two buildings, formerly occupied by the New York Market and the Mother Nature's Cupboard, a health food establishment, has been sold to the Chas. Fischer and Sons Co. which will utilize the two properties for expanding and remodeling its store.  The Fischer store has for many years occupied the major area of the Masonic Temple which it purchased last year from the Masons who will vacate their lodge quarters before the end of the year and move to a new Masonic Temple in Madison Street.



A cornerstone laying ceremony was held at the new Bank of Watertown building, located at the second block in South Second Street.  Pictures and other items were placed in the box.  Pictures included one of the first Bank of Watertown building, erected in 1854, at First and Main streets; of the present building, built in 1916, at the same location, and of the officers and directors who participated in the ground breaking ceremony on February 14, 1967.  Other items placed in the box included:  An issue of the Daily Times of January 15, 1965, which carried a page one story telling of the decision of the stockholders and board to erect a new bank building, and a Dec. 20 issue of the Times.




The Bank of Watertown today began its operations in its new bank building, located on North Second Street, one block north of Main Street.  Starting with the closing of the old bank at 8 o’clock on Friday night, the moving operation began.  The biggest single task in connection with the moving operation was moving the seven-ton vault door.  The door arrived at the new bank at noon Saturday and was in place by 1:30 p.m., but another five hours was required to level it.  By 6:30 p.m., the work was completed, and the door was closed and locked at the new bank building.



Open House at the Bank of Watertown’s new home, located on North Second Street, one block north of Main Street, will be held on Friday and Saturday.  The Friday hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and the hours on Saturday are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Coffee and doughnuts will be served during the Open House.  This new building is a one-story structure located on the northeast corner of North Second and Madison Streets.  The site covers nearly one block.  The new building is complete in every respect, and provides the last work in convenient and attractive banking facilities.  Outside two depository windows are located on the east side of the building.  Parking space is provided on the north side of the structure.






Robert W. Westrick, 32, of Detroit, Mich., has joined the staff at the Bank of Watertown as of today.  He will be replacing Miss Lorraine Schatz, who will be retiring at the end of the year after over 16 years of service with the bank.  Prior to that she was private secretary for the late Attorney William H. Woodard who was associated with the bank.  For the past 11 years Mr. Westrick has been employed with the National Bank of Detroit as a branch manager.  He joined the Detroit bank upon graduation from the University of Notre Dame.  His wife is the former Donna Welsch, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Welsch, 597 South Third Street.



Miss Lorraine I. Schatz, senior trust officer of the Bank of Watertown, will retire on Tuesday.  She was employed by the bank on March 17, 1962, as a secretary after working in a similar capacity for the late Judge William H. Woodard for a period of over 32 years.  Because of her extensive probate background she was elected to head the bank’s trust department in January of 1962.  Gerald E. Flynn, bank president, today expressed regret over her leaving the bank.  He, the bank’s employees and the board of directors extend to her many years of true contentment and joy in her well-earned retirement.




Over $190,000 worth of automobiles were displayed in the parking lot of the Bank of Watertown for the new car show sponsored by the bank with the cooperation of all city car dealers.  Live music was provided by Tommy Voigt and his band and free refreshments were served.


Link to four images within portfolio   




Herald F. Flynn, who has served as the president and chief executive officer of M&I Bank in Watertown since 1961, has announced his retirement from that position.  Flynn, 63. said his retirement will take effect on July I, 1991.  After July I of this year, he will continue to serve in a part-time capacity as a consultant to the bank until he retires.  The Kaukauna native began as vice president and cashier at the Watertown hank in June of 1961.  In October of that year, Flynn was appointed president and chief executive officers.  After retiring Flynn plans to continue to reside in Watertown with his wife. Joan, at 1082 Boughton St.  They have three children.  “Twenty-nine years is a long time in any job, let me tell you.  I e joyed it, very much so.  We love Watertown, and Watertown has been good to us." he said.




The M&I Bank of Watertown has begun an extensive three phase remodeling project which is expected to be completed in the middle of May, according to William Shoemaker, president.  The initial phase of the project addresses exterior signage consisting of bronze bank name lettering, parking and traffic direction signage, illuminated bank logo identifier and customer information.  The second phase, which is currently underway, addresses the installation of additional exterior windows along the west side of the building.  Also included in this stage of the remodeling is the relocation of extensive offices, conference rooms and the establishment of a personal banking center.  The final phase of the remodeling includes recarpeting, reupholstering of furniture and draperies in colors and coordinates appropriate to financial institutions.   WDT




William E. Shoemaker Jr. was re-elected president and chief executive officer of M&I Bank of Watertown at the annual meeting of the bank Wednesday.  Other officers are H. Bruce Kasten, executive vice president; Christopher Jurss, cashier and controller; Larry Schuett, vice president real estate; Patrick Caine, commercial loan officer; Daniel Thousand, vice president agriculture; Wayne Duris, assistant vice president agriculture; Larry Braunschweig, vice president retail, and Ora Kuckkan, auditor.  Directors reappointed to their positions were Shoemaker, Kasten, Bertram Beltz, William Kwapil Jr., Edward McFarland, Alexander Napolitano, George Neuberger, William O’Brien and Jerald Theder. Re-elected as director emeriti were Edward Dobbratz, Dr. V. R. Bauman, E. James Quirk, Edgar J. Kellerman and L. B. Kramp.   WDT



The board of directors of the M&I Bank of Watertown has approved the promotion of Patrick J. Caine to assistant vice president of commercial lending.  Caine is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Marquette University.  He comes to Watertown from the Marshall & Ilsley Corp. in Milwaukee.  Caine will oversee the bank’s credit administration and its regulatory compliance function, in addition to his new responsibility.   WDT



John H. Ebert was elected president and chief executive officer of M&I Bank of Watertown at a special board of directors meeting Wednesday evening.  Ebert, 39, succeeds William Shoemaker who resigned as president on Sept. 24.  Ebert has served the last four years as president of M& I Tri-County Bank in Marshfield.  Prior to that he spent six years as commercial lending vice president at M& I First National Bank in Wausau.  Ebert holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Mary’s College in Winona, Minn., and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.  A native of Wisconsin, he has more than 15 years of banking experience.  WDT




Upon completion of the M&I and Valley merger, which is expected in mid-1994, the M& I Bank of Watertown and Valley Bank will combine, creating a single operating bank with offices in Watertown, Beaver Dam and Juneau.  Following the merger, David M. Hanson will become chairman and chief executive officer and John H. Ebert will be named president.  Hanson is currently chairman and chief executive officer of Valley Bank South Central and Ebert is president of M& I Bank of Watertown.  The combined assets of the M& I Bank of Watertown and Valley Bank South Central will be approximately $213 million.  WDT




David M. Hanson, chairman and chief executive officer of M& I South Central, headquartered in Watertown, has been named chairman and chief executive officer of M& I Bank S.S.B. in Sheboygan. Hanson will begin his new duties on Monday, Oct. 3.  He plans to remain in Watertown for some months before moving permanently to the Sheboygan area.  John H. Ebert, who is currently serving as president of M& I Bank South Central, will continue in that capacity and will assume the responsibilities previously held by Hanson.  “Dave has been an outstanding member of the Watertown community and an excellent leader at the bank.  He will be missed,” Ebert said.  “M& I South Central remains committed to Beaver Dam, Juneau, and Watertown.  We will continue to focus on strengthening these communities through our business and civic activities,” he added.




Local resident Greg Schroeder, who works at the M&I Bank offices in Watertown and Beaver Dam, has been promoted to vice president.  Schroeder, who has over 13 years of financial services experience, is a senior financial adviser and has been with M& I since 1996.  Schroeder has earned bachelor’s degrees from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s degree from Marquette University.   WDT



Todd Fischer has joined M&I Bank, 205 N. Second St., as a business banker.  Fischer was the vice president and general manager of Fischer’s Department Store in Watertown for over 19 years.  In his new role as a business banker, Fischer will assist his business customers with their daily financial needs.  Fischer is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is active in the community as a board member of Watertown Chamber of Commerce.  He was the chairman for the Watertown Streetscape Committee and is the founder of the Watertown Central Business Association.




Todd Fischer, a business banker with M&I Bank in Watertown, has been promoted to the title of officer.  Fischer earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a graduate of the Wisconsin Banker Association Introduction to Commercial Lending School.  He founded the Watertown Central Business Association in 1992 and served as the organization’s inaugural president until 1997.  He was the vice president and general manager of the former Fischer’s Department Store in Watertown for over 19 years.  WDT



Todd Scheid has been hired by the Watertown office of M&I Bank as its new vice president of business banking.  Scheid has over 24 years of experience in banking, most recently with ISB Community Bank and Town and Country Bank.  Scheid received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1985 and is a graduate of the Madison Graduate School of Banking.


10 26       PATRICK CAINE

M& I Bank senior vice president Patrick Caine will become the market president of the local business starting on Jan. 1, 2009.  Caine will replace John Ebert, who announced his retirement Monday.  Caine began his career with M& I in 1985 in Milwaukee and moved to the Watertown office in 1991.  In addition to his new duties as market president, Caine will continue in his role as a business and agricultural banking manager for M& I’s southwest region.  Caine has served the community in various capacities over the years and is the current board chairman of the UW Health Partners Watertown Regional Medical Center.  He is also a trustee for the Joe Davies Scholarship Foundation and serves on the finance committee of St. Henry’s Parish.




Remodel of 14 E. Main (scroll through)




The original Bank of Watertown building built in 1854 has been a staple on Watertown’s Main Street for over 150 years.  It has transferred hands and gone through major renovations in that time to become what it is today.


In 2019, Dan and Maggie Wegner, owners of White Oak purchased the building with the goal of keeping the original features and showcasing the grandeur of the space.


The original scrolled plaster work adorns the 14’ high ceilings and columns in the main showroom area.  During renovations they were able to open the original window openings to allow floods of natural light into the space again.


Keeping with the traditional feel of the space and encompassing some modern flare they have renovated the main room to be the show case and retail location for White Oak Design and Build.  Offering general contracting services for new home construction and remodeling, design services, and unique home décor.  Their focus is to assist homeowners in bringing their ideas, wants, needs, and concepts for their ideal home to reality.












City Hall right



Right.  N. First & Main



Left.  No First St








Cross References:


E J Brandt's inventive talent came to the fore while he was employed as a cashier in the Bank of Watertown.  Tiring of counting money for railroad payrolls, he invented an automatic cashier and in 1890 founded his own company to manufacture this product, Brandt Inc.


                Death of Richard Hoge, 1983




Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin