ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin





Years ago crowds would gather on Sunday afternoons at Sommergartens such as Habhegger’s for congenial company and to drink beer, many sitting at tables which were spread on the lawn along the bank of the Rock River.  Musical entertainment was a frequent attraction and many picnic gatherings were held there.  There were the outdoor bowling alleys which were housed in an arbor along the river bank and where nine-pins were played on Sunday afternoons.  It was the forerunner of the modern bowling alley.  It was a fun place to be.



          Ball Alley at the Buena Vista House




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Krebs Park was located in W. Main Street (West Ave at the time) and provided a popular gathering place for old and young who met there to spend a quiet evening, drinking beer and meeting their friends.  A saloon operated in connection with the park and it became a popular beer garden.  It also had a bowling alley.       From WDTimes, 10/27/38, Times Square





117 N. First Street, Concordia Opera House became the Elk’s Club.  Note scoreboard in background, return shoot is filled with sawdust.



02 20       YOUNG MEN’S BOWLING CLUB / third annual ante-Lent hop

The third annual ante-Lent hop of the Young Men’s Bowling club takes place at Concordia Opera house next Monday evening, February 25, and will be the wind-up of the winter dancing season.  The usual number of invitations have been issued and no doubt many will embrace the opportunity for a pleasant evening's dancing, which is always assured at the club's parties.  Excellent music is expected from the Fort Atkinson orchestra of five pieces.  On account of the extra expense incurred in engaging an outside orchestra, the price 6f tickets has been raised to $1. Dancing is announced for 8:30 sharp.  WR


11 06       John Molzahn has another frog display this week.  It depicts the recent Concordia Young Men Bowling contest, several incidents being caricatured in a manner that is amusing to knowing ones.  But if John persists in libeling his friends by representing them as common, bloated bull-frogs, he may look for no end of trouble.   WDT


1898       BALL ALLEY AT 616 WEST MAIN

12 28       Friday morning last, about 3 o'clock, the old frame building at the northeast corner of West Main and Monroe streets was discovered to be on fire [Edward Schenck, 616 W Main,1899-99 City Dir; today 614?].  The west end of the building, including a bowling alley extending about forty feet north, was badly damaged.  Mr. Schenck was the occupant of the premises, using a portion of the west end for a grocery store.  His loss on stock is about $250. No light has been shed on the origin of the fire, although one story is that it was the work of a couple of tramps who were refused aid and were determined to get even.  Probably spontaneous combustion was the real cause.   WR



12 18       There is no place in Watertown where one can have an hour or so of genuine recreation with as little effort as at the bowling alleys.  Nothing possible in the way of pleasing features has been left undone in order that this institution may be unsurpassed in comforts, entertainment and courteous attention to the wants of the patrons.  You do not have to be the best bowler to get a prize before New Year.   WDT


1908       State Tourney





At a meeting of the newly organized Comet bowling club the following officers were chosen:

Manager—Walter Kuenzi

Captain—William Behling

Secretary and treasurer—Arthur Krueger

The other members are Lester Ruedig, Walter Guse and Oscar Lange.      WG



Last week Thursday evening a meeting of bowlers of this city was held at the Schultz bowling alleys and a bowling club organized, officered as follows:

President—Curl F. Otto

Vice President—B. F. Haskins

Secretary—A. Krueger

Treasurer—Edward Schultz

The bowling season opens Sept. 23.    WG



02 05       MISS MARIE LANGE

Monday evening Miss Marie Lange entertained at her home in North Fourth Street the Ladies Bowling club.




The new bowling alleys at 200 Main Street, conducted by Jos. Herro and Aug. Bietau, were formerly opened to the public last evening when a matched game was played between Lange’s Colts and the high school team.   WG




For the coming bowling season a city league has been formed which will roll at Lange’s alleys in Madison Street.  The season will open the forepart of November, and as soon after the flu ban has been lifted as possible.  A meeting of all captains will be held at the Lange alleys next Monday evening, November 4.  The teams comprising the City league are:  Jumbo’s Mudhens, Tammany Hall, Gem Buffets, Young Americans, Specials, Cubs, Tivolis, Dynamiters.  Three of these teams are not yet filled and bowlers who wish to enter may do so by calling on Jumbo Keel, J. C. Gruel and John L. Kehr.  The game schedule will be made up at the meeting of the captains next Monday night.      The Watertown News, 28 Oct 1918





           Lack of approval led to FORMATION OF THE WETHONKITHA CLUB


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Description automatically generated       Maas Bros. Building Contractors, Albert W. Maas, draftsman


The St. Mark’s Men’s Society was organized in 1921 “to establish a social center for the members of the church, to give them the recreation desired, which, however, shall not conflict with the rules of our church, and to give aid and support to church and synod whenever found necessary.”


. . . The club flourished for the first two years of its existence, showing a membership of well over one hundred.


Then, however, it approached the congregation in 1923 for permission to install some bowling alleys at their own expense in the basement of the building [lower level of the old church], the request was received with some apprehension.  A committee was appointed by the congregation to determine whether bowling in its midst could be “reconciled with our doctrine and church life.” 


The committee headed by Pastor Klingmann returned an unfavorable report and recommended that the club’s request be denied because a precedent would thereby be established which might at a later date prove dangerous to the sound growth of the congregation.  The club did not receive approval to install its bowling alleys, even thought it had purchased them in anticipation of a favorable decision.


All this was discouraging to the young club and contributed much to the formation of another men’s society in Watertown, the Wethonkitha club, where members of Wisconsin and Missouri Synod Lutheran church members in and about Wisconsin would have their clubrooms and bowling alleys.


After this “set back” membership in St. Mark’s Men’s Society diminished until it was disbanded nine years later in 1932.                St. Mark’s 1854-1979 booklet



-- --           Klinger Buicks

      middle back, Elmer “Cocky” Hartzheim


1937       Watertown Women's Assn, Adelle Walling, first secretary of



The Elks Lodge building added two pin setting machines for the bowling alleys located in the lower level in 1938.  The current lodge still retains remnants of the bowling alley.


12 13       “Turkey” Gehrke resumed bowling recently for the first time in 27 years



Claude F. Bornitzke Taken by Death

Popular Bowler Stricken on Christmas day


Claude F. Bornitzke. 200 South Seventh Street, died at his home on Christmas day, at 5:15 p. m.  He was 28 years of age.


Mr. Bornitzke's death followed a long illness during which he had undergone treatments at a Madison hospital and which was traceable to an injury he suffered years ago.


A native of Milwaukee, he was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Bornitzke who came here with him when he was a child.  He had since lived here, graduating from Watertown High School.  He was active in sports there.


On Aug. 27, 1938 he married Miss Vanita Radke of Waterloo.  She survives, as do his father, this city, and a brother, Kenneth, Watertown and a sister, Mrs. Hilbert Kausch, also of Watertown.  His mother died 19 years ago.


Mr. Bornitzke was a member of the Wethonkitha club and was secretary of the City Bowling Association and also secretary of the Classic league.  He was a director of the Wisconsin Bowling Association.  He was bookkeeper at the office of King-Hintz, Inc.


Ranking as one of the city's best bowlers, he was particularly active in that sport and was widely known in bowling circles.  All who were acquainted with him knew him as a clean cut young man of excellent character and reputation.  He was popular and well liked and numbered many citizens here among his friends.


His long illness had been the cause of much sorrow and concern among his circle of friends and recently it became known that his condition was one for which medical science could give no hope.  Active as he was, well liked as he was, and with much promise in his life, he was a young man whose passing would be a loss to any community.


Mr. Bornitzke was a member of St. John's Lutheran Church.



Fred J. Maerzke



Watertown Daily Times, 12 17 1945; article includes pic


Fred J. Maerzke Dies Here Sunday


Was Outstanding Bowler


Fred J. Maerzke, who ranked with the foremost bowlers of his time, died last evening at his home, 125 North Water Street after a heart attack.  His death was sudden and unexpected.


Mr. Maerzke was born in Watertown on April 14, 1893, a son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Maerzke and spent his entire life here.  On April 12, 1915, he married Miss Elsie Schubert of Milwaukee.  She survives.  An only son, Robert Maerzke, died in 1938.


There are two sisters who survive, Mrs. M. J. Heinz, Appleton, and Mrs. Hugo Tobian, Milwaukee.


Mr. Maerzke was a member of the Immanuel Lutheran church.  He was also a member of Watertown lodge No. 830, Loyal Order of Moose, Lincoln lodge No. 20, Knights of Pythias and the Calanthe club.


Mr. Maerzke operated the West Side alleys for many years, a business which his father had also operated in his time.


He took to bowling early and developed into one of the best bowlers ever produced in Wisconsin.  Some sports writers ranked him among the best bowlers in the nation in his heyday.  He made many appearances and took part in many tournaments and helped carry the name of Watertown far and wide in bowling circles.


Mr. Maerzke was a man who had many friends here and in other cities where he was known and where he had appeared.



04 03       ST. ANN’S BOWLING TEAM


Catholic Ladies league champions.  Margaret Oestreicher, Vivian Payant, Flora Chase, Helen Barry, Gladys Griffin.




Champs of the two division Lutheran League

Alwin Haase, Connie Olp, Lester Henning, Dr. C. L. Bergmann, Cliff Baars.




Team members:  Alwin Haase, Arnold Braasch, Connie Olp, Emaline Braasch, Helen Raue, Mary Markl.


04 23       C-B RANCH BOWLERS / Riverview bowling league champions


Caroline McMahon, Irene Scheiber, Hertha Justmann, Joan McMahon, Genevieve Metzger




William Hoeft, Arch Grinde, Robert Oestreich

Albert Schlueter, Arnold Reuschel, Walter Geise






    116 S. First



09 26       Sale of the Raasch Bowl on West Cady Street was completed; new owners Earl Reynoldson and Ray Siebold.



-- --           1958-1960 CHASE'S BOWL


Gracie Madsen, Vi Hockbein, Myrt Krueger, Gert Schuenemann


1959       Operators awarded instructor certificates

05 18       Lee Edwards, Watertown, was elected president of the Lutheran Bowling Association of Wisconsin at the annual meeting of the board of directors and delegates held at West Bend Sunday.  Two other Watertown persons, Gary Ponath and Mrs. M.A. Schlueter, were also elected to offices.  Ponath won a third term as director and Mrs. Schlueter was named director of the women's division.   WDT






10 28       Ozzie Peters was elected president of the Watertown Bowling Association at the organization’s annual meeting held at the Wethonkitha Club Sunday afternoon.  He succeeds Les Kulke in the post. Four vice presidents — A. E. Radtke, Foster Pagel, Clarence Tessman and Clarence Schmidt — were elected to office.  Lee Edwards, secretary-treasurer, still has a year to go on his three year term of office.  Directors elected were Les Kulke, Don Nesta, Harry Barrows and Russell Engel.   WDT



02 07       Edna Schlueter, a veteran bowler who has had many honor counts during her years of bowling here, did it again Thursday night as she blasted a 278 game and 600 set score in the Victory League at Watertown Bowl.  Mrs. Schlueter started her high count last night inauspiciously with a modest 145 game, stepped up the tempo to 175 in the second game, and then cut loose for her big 278 in the final game.  She had nine perfect strikes in that big game but missed the 10th when she got only nine pins on an off-center hit.  A crowd of other bowlers gathered around her and cheered her on as she ran her string of strikes.  The 600 was Mrs. Schlueter's first honor count this season. In 1942 she bowled a 278 game for second high score in the state.  Flora Chase bowled a high 285 game in 1948.   WDT


03 25       Rudy Hackbarth blasted games of 244, 258, 234 for a 736 record set in the Classic League Tuesday night.  The sizzling 736 topped Rudy's old mark of 719 which he set in the circuit in 1955.  Hackbarth never wasted a strike as he collected 20.   WDT


07 05       The month of June represented the best month so far this year in the building line in Watertown based on the amount of construction projects approved by the office of the city building inspector, Floyd Usher.  The monthly report shows that the total for June represents an estimated $256,300.  However, two major projects represent the bulk of that sum — including a new bowling alley to be known as Bowl-A-Fun for which Max Uttech acted as agent in the filing of an application. The estimated cost, according to records in the building inspector’s office, is $100,000 although the total will run much higher by the time the building is completed and outfitted. The site listed in the application is 770 North Church Street.   WDT


07 19       Watertown’s new bowling alley, now in the process of construction, to be operated by Bowl-A-Fun, Inc., at 766 North Church Street, last night was voted a tavern license by the common council.  It was the 47th tavern license in the city and the limit has now been reached under the present city tavern ordinance.  Bowl-A-Fun Inc., consists of Robert Strege, president, Foster Pagel, secretary, Arnold Strege and Max Uttech. The 47th license, the last under the ordinance, was yielded when the White House Tavern in the seventh ward was closed up. Up to last night 46 tavern licenses had been issued.   WDT


10 22       Al Radtke was elected president of the Watertown Bowling Association at the organization’s annual meeting held Sunday . He succeeds Ozzie Peters.  Vice presidents elected were Clarence Tessmann, Clarence Schmidt, Carl Woelffer and Ed Kleinsteiber, Lee Edwards was re-elected to a three-year term as secretary-treasurer of the group. Named to the board of directors were Peters, Les Kulke, Clarence Schumann and Harry Barrows.   WDT


11 02       Mrs. Edna (Conant) Schlueter, who received a pin for bowling a 278 count last season, has been an outstanding woman bowler here for about 25 years. “But I’m not as good as I used to be,” modestly admits Mrs. Schlueter. “I bowl only once a week now and I’ve lost some of my sharpness.” Mrs. Schlueter’s lowest average for any year has been 175 and her highest 188. Once she hit a hot streak and rolled series of 699, 688 and 676 all in one week. The 699 was the highest set she ever posted. The Watertown kegler won the state Lutheran singles title in the early 1940s and has won city championships almost annually. She’s held many singles titles and has been the big contributor in doubles and team championships. All-events honors have been hers annually, for all but the past few seasons.   WDT



04 30       Harry O’Brien, former Watertown resident and former Jefferson County sheriff as well as one of the all time greats of bowling here, retired today as a deputy United States marshal.  O’Brien, who lives in 2344 North 27th Street, Milwaukee, with his wife, the former Louise Koenig of Watertown, has reached the mandatory federal retirement age of 70 years.  Mrs. Koenig is a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Koenig.  O’Brien’s career as a law enforcement officer started locally in 1933 when he joined the Jefferson County sheriff’s department as a deputy.  WDT


12 26       The Cavalier Inns of Watertown won first place in the Fox Valley bowling tourney which was held at Manitowoc.  It was the third victory for a Watertown team in the annual event.  Members of the Cavalier squad are Lou Kuckkan, Art Radloff, Wally Hornickle, Orrin Bisbee and Bill Huhner.  Lee Edwards and Ed Wildes finished in the money in the doubles and Bisbee, Hornickle and Sam Cuccia collected in the singles.  Edwards and Clem Stoll hit an alltime high of 1,323 in the tourney in 1941.   WDT



10 25       Clarence Tessmann was elected president of the Watertown Bowling Association at the group’s annual meeting held at Chase Bowl Sunday evening.  Other officers named were: first vice president, Carl Woelffer; second vice president, Bob Wackett.  Lee Edwards still has a year to go on his three year term as secretary-treasurer. Directors elected were Al Radtke, Ozzie Peters, Les Kulke and Don Krueger.   WDT


11 16       Al’s Tap established a new all-time city association team record in firing in the Major League at Chase Bowl Thursday night and league-mates added to the honor as 11 keglers crashed the 600 mark. The Taps collected games of 916, 1,106 and 1,119 for a 3,141 grand total to top the Chase Bowl mark of 3,139 set last season. All five bowlers on the Tap squad broke 600 — Rudy Hackbarth got 641, Honey Pierce 634, Mac Schlueter 631, Clem Stoll 619 and Art Radloff 616. Stoll had a 268 game, Radloff got a 254, Hackbarth a 243, Schlueter 236 and Pierce 222.   WDT



10 14       Clarence Tessmann was re-elected president of the Watertown Bowling Association for a two-year term at the group’s annual meeting Sunday.  Carl Woelffer, Carl Raue, Ron Buchanan and Willie Kuehl were elected vice presidents and Lee Edwards was named to another three-year term as secretary-treasurer.  Directors elected were Les Bast, Ozzie Peters, Les Kulke and Don Krueger.   WDT




Lee Edwards, veteran Watertown bowler and bowling official, was elected president of the Wisconsin State Bowling Association at the organization’s annual meeting held in Milwaukee Sunday.  Edwards was installed in his office by Frank Baker, executive secretary of the ABC.  Edwards has been secretary of the Watertown Bowling Association for many years and has been an official of Lutheran and state bowling organizations.   WDT



Watertown’s Lou Kuckkan came up as the outstanding individual bowler in the Lutheran state bowling tourney which closed here over the weekend. Kuckkan took the singles title with a 652 score, won the all-events with an 1,888 aggregate, teamed with Jim Wade for fifth place in the doubles with 1,221 and was a member of the Olson Buick team which placed ninth with 2,749. Kuckkan had 652 in the doubles and 584 in the team firing. Helen Zwieg of Watertown won the women’s all-events title with a 1,609 score. She had 470 in singles, 582 in doubles and 557 in team firing.   WDT




Veteran bowler and bowling official in Watertown, Lee Edwards, was honored Sunday night at the annual Watertown Bowling Association meeting at Chase’s Bowl for his 25 years of service to the bowlers in Watertown as the association’s secretary-treasurer. Lee was completely surprised when he was presented with a portable television and a check for his efforts. Presenting the gifts was the association president, Carol Woelffer.   WDT




A Watertown bowler, Jerry Peters, 24, won himself a whole lot of glory plus a fine piece of currency by placing first in the amateur end of the pro-am tourney held at Green Bay over the weekend.  Peters was teamed with Wayne Zahn of Atlanta, Ga., in the event and the duo finished with a combined 1,325.  Peters rolled 193 181-196 and added a 56 pin handicap for a 370 total.  Zahn had 235-185-279 for a 699 scratch.  Peters received a trophy plus $1,000 for first place in the amateur bracket.  Peters won the berth in the state tourney in a roll-off at Bowl-A-Fun.




At the annual meeting and picnic of the Watertown Woman’s Bowling Association held Tuesday evening at Riverside Park, the following officers were re-elected:  Blanche Haberkorn, president; Marion Otto, vice president; Norma Schlueter, secretary for a term of three years; Marie Bush, treasurer, and Margaret Oestreicher, sergeant-at-arms.  Roseanne Richter, Ora Kuckkahn and Gertrude Pitterle were appointed to the auditing committee.


10 26       A SIZZLING 299 GAME

Ray Zier shot a sizzling 299 game in action in the Industrial League at Chase’s Bowl Monday night.  He missed a perfect game when he left the 10 pin on the last ball, which was cross over.  The game is the highest one bowled locally since the early 1950s.  The 299 was rolled by Zier in his final game.  He put together two other games of 173 and 193 for a total of 665.  The high game now qualifies Zier for an A.B.C. award and also a city award.  He bowls with Brom’s Enco and is currently averaging 189.



Chirp Dollase established a place for himself in Watertown bowling history by blasting a perfect 300 game in city tournament action at Watertown Bowl Thursday night.  It was the first perfect count in sanctioned play in the city since 1940 when Art Krueger collected on in the Business League on the old Maerzke lanes and only the sixth in all bowling history in Watertown.  Dollase, a longtime bowler in the city, also wrote a first in city tourney records since his 300 is the initial perfect game rolled in the meet in its long history.




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Rolled in the Industrial League at Chase Bowl




Mrs. Joe Kopplin and son Bob, Tom Timm and dad Fred, Theresa Schultz and David Kaercher and Donna Scherschel and dad Don



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Lester Zick (left) received a trophy, wallet and check for rolling a 694 first place score in the Elks state bowling tourney at Stevens Point.  Presentation was made by Don Zimmermann, chairman of the local Elks bowling committee.



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Sylvia Rowaldt (left) and Mary Ninmann (right) received awards from Norma Schlueter, city pin association secretary, for the class B doubles victory in the women's state bowling tourney at Sheboygan.  They rolled 1,095.



Ray Seibold, co-owner of Watertown Bowl 18, was elected national secretary of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America at its 37th annual convention and exhibit June 23-28 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.  Seibold, a BPAA member for the past 14 years, succeeds James B. Gibson, of Durham, N. C.  His election to the post is the highest position any Wisconsin member has ever attained.



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The new lanes, ball returns, approaches, pin decks, and gutters, will be used for the first time Friday evening when the establishment will open for the 25th year under the management of Dale and Flora Chase.  The old lanes and other equipment had been in use for nearly 50 years.



Bob Strege, proprietor of the Bowl-A-Fun, entertained the AJBC Junior bowlers at their annual awards dinner at Otto’s Inn Monday evening.  The AJBC is sponsored by the local Men’s and Woman Bowling Associations.  League trophies were awarded to the following:  Team Event — Bob Richter, Lyle Richter, Pat Schauer, Larry Rowoldt, Barbara Kuckkan, Diane Smith, Kristine Berger and Diane Neitzel.  High League Average — Bob Richter and Chris Strege.  High League Set — Pat Schauer and Barbara Kuckkan.  High League Game — Mike Rowoldt and Donna Riedl.  Most Improved Bowler — Glenn Fischer and Sandy West.



06 05       WOMEN'S 600 BOWLING CLUB

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Jane Toebe and Judy Hoffstetter, who have bowled 600 scratch series,  received a plaque on behalf of the Watertown Women's 600 Bowling Club from Ray Seibold of Watertown Bowl.  The two women are officers of the club.



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Chase's Kids won the championship of the annual city bowling tournament with a 3,022 total rolled on the last shift Sunday.  Team members:  Jim Conant, Jack Zielsdorf, Tom Schultz, Dave Draves, and Ron Vaught.




                Harry O'Brien was an all-time bowling great and in 1972 was elected to the Milwaukee Bowling Hall of Fame.  His accomplishments in bowling were many.  He was a former Milwaukee and Wisconsin doubles champion, bowled a perfect 300 game and had a three game total of 814.




Lee Edwards Cleaners, 111 North Fourth Street, will close its doors at noon Saturday, ending a business that had been in operation at that location for about 30 years.  Lee Edwards has no immediate plans following the retirement, but will continue to enjoy his annual vacations to the Hayward area.  A bowling enthusiast his entire life, Edwards has been secretary of the local bowling association since 1942.  He is a past president of the Wisconsin Bowling Association and past president of the Lutheran Bowling Association of Wisconsin.  Edwards has been a local bowling leaders for a number of years, serving in various capacities including secretary of the Major and Classic leagues.



01 15       Eighteen-year-old Peter Richter Monday afternoon became the 10th person in the history of bowling in Watertown to record a perfect 300 game in sanctioned competition.  Richter, bowling on Balistreri’s Restaurant team in the Traveling Classic League, connected on 12 consecutive pocket hits in the second game of a match at Bowl-A-Fun Lanes.  He opened his big night with a 203 game and added a 193 at the end for a 696 total.  Richter was bowling on lanes five and six.  The young bowler is carrying one of the top averages in the city this year with an even 200 in the 22-Point All-Stars and in the 190s in the Traveling Classic.  WDT


08 02       Watertown Bowl 18, 102 West Cady Street, Watertown's largest bowling establishment, is going high-tech this season, according to Robert Schmidt, owner of the firm.  The establishment has completed installation of state-of-the-art computer technology for automatic scoring.  The new equipment is now operational and will be available for the public for the first time this evening.  The new equipment has been purchased through the AMF Corporation and the official name of the equipment is AMF AccuScore.  It was installed by technical people from AMF.  All 18 of the lanes have the automatic scoring devices and they are all hooked up to a main frame computer and terminal system for management operations.   WDT



01 31       Two active and two deceased members will be enshrined a charter members of the Watertown Bowling Association Hall of Fame during a special program being planned during March.  They are Clarence Bittner and Walter Hornickle, both active members in Watertown, the late Herbert Lange and the late Don Nesta.  The four men will be honored at the induction ceremonies on Saturday evening, March 15, at Balistreri's Welcome Inn.  A dinner and program is being planned.   WDT


07 22       Jerry Peters, secretary/treasurer of the Watertown Bowling Association, has resigned his position.  Peters said he was resigning in anticipation of his purchase of Bowl-A-Fun Lanes in the near future.  The board of directors of the bowling association has met and formally accepted his resignation and has also appointed Richard Symoens, fourth vice president of the board, to fill Peters’ unexpired term of office.  Peters took over the secretary/treasurer duties from Lee Edwards, longtime secretary, back in 1980.   WDT


10 27       Jim Conant is the new president of the Watertown Men’s Bowling Association. He was elected at the organization’s annual meeting this past weekend at Watertown Bowl 18.  Conant, who has served on the association’s board of directors for the past six years, succeeds Hilbert Christian at the top post.  Christian, who completed his two-year term as president, was elected to one of four director positions.  The association membership also elected all other officers.  Dick Symoens was elected to a full three-year term as secretary/treasurer of the association.  Symoens was appointed by the board of directors last spring to fill the unexpired term of Jerry Peters.  Peters resigned when he purchased the former Bowl-A-Fun Lanes, now known as Jerry’s North Bowl.   WDT




Inducted into Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame  


Four men will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Association Hall of Fame in ceremonies on Sunday, March 10, at Balistreri’s Welcome Inn.  The four are Louis Kuckkan, John Biefeld, the late Harry O’Brien and the late Fred Maerzke.   The 1988 inductees will join seven others since the organization was formed three years ago.  Charter member inductees were Walter Hornickle, Clarence Bittner, the late Don Nesta and the late Herbert Lange. The 1987 inductees were Clem Stoll, Bill Beisner and the late Lee Edwards.   WDT




Inducted into Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame  


Three men with close ties to the bowling industry in Watertown will be inducted into the Watertown Men’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame next month.  The hall of fame committee today announced that Ray Seibold, retired proprietor of Watertown Bowl 18, the late Dale Chase, for many years proprietor of Chase’s Bowl, now known as Firehouse Lanes, and the late Arnold (Pops) Strege who was instrumental in the creation of Bowl A Fun Lanes, will be inducted into the hall of fame for their meritorious service to the bowling industry in Watertown.   WDT




Three local bowlers with impressive records will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Association Hall of Fame at a banquet Sunday, April 1, at 4:30 p.m. at Plattdeutscher Hall.  The three are Larry Schaefer, Jim Wade and the late Sam Cuccia.  The three will become the 11th, 12th and 13th members to be inducted since the hall of fame was formed four years ago.




Jerry Peters and the late Arthur (General) Guse will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Association Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 5.  Both Peters and Guse have been strong and active supporters of bowling in Watertown and have played leadership roles in the game.  In addition, Peters is one of the city’s top bowlers.  Peters has a long association with bowling, dating back to his high school days.  He is past secretary and a past president of the local association and has played various other leadership roles in the association.  In addition, he has held averages of 190 or higher 15 different years in his bowling career.



Popping the pins is just as much fun as it used to be over 50 years ago, according to two longtime keglers who started bowling back in the 1930s.  Both have many memories of bygone days when pinsetters were hard-working men, foul line violations were judged by human beings, and the cost was 15 cents a line.  Watertown bowlers Larry Reich and Clarence “Bumps” Schumann, both 76, were recently honored for their charter membership in the 50-year-old City Bowling League.  Reich received a plaque for being the only bowler to participate in the league all 50 years.  Schumann missed out on the award because he skipped a few seasons during a stint as a serviceman in World War II.  Although both are proud of their charter membership, their bowling career is actually older than the City League.  They were competitors at the Wethonkitha Club lanes back in the 1930s.  Both also bowled years ago at the old Maertzke’s bowling establishment which later became Chase’s and now Firehouse Lanes.



Bruce Martin was elected president of the Watertown Men’s Bowling Association at its annual meeting Sunday afternoon at Jerry’s North Bowl.  Martin succeeds Tim Norbury who completed his two year term of office at that meeting.  Other officers elected for two-year terms were Erv Rosenow, first vice president; Wayne Kuerschner, second vice president; and Don Koepke, third vice president. One new officer was elected.  He is Ron Bartels who was elected to the position of fourth vice president.




Robert Schmidt, president of Watertown Bowl, Inc., has been elected president of the Bowling Proprietors of Wisconsin.  His election came at the group's annual meeting at Pier Three Restaurant in Milwaukee.  Schmidt's term is for one year but he will be eligible to stand for election to a second term.  The new president ascended to that position after having been elected to all other offices of the association.  He is a past sergeant at arms, treasurer and vice president.


1997       TOM SCHULTZ inducted into Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame  



04 01       Proposal to introduce girls bowling as a letter sport at Watertown High School    WDT



09 29       Jerry and Debbie Peters, owners of Jerry’s North Bowl of Watertown, have named Darryl and Misty Drebenstedt as managers of their 12-lane bowling center.  Misty Drebenstedt’s responsibilities will include bartending, scheduling, ordering and overall operation of the business in the absence of Jerry Peters.  Darryl Drebenstedt’s duties will include lane conditioning and maintenance, bartending and pro shop assistance.   WDT



04 07       Wayne Kohlhoff joined Bruce Martin as newest inductees into the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame.   WDT



04 02       Paul Kressin and Tim Rupprecht will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame at the annual dinner Sunday, April 17, at Plattdeutscher Hall.  The two men will be honored for their many and varied contributions to the game of bowling over a sustained period of time.


Rupprecht is being honored for his unwavering support of bowling locally through decades of sponsorships and for his successes on the lanes.  It was Rupprecht's father, the late Mel Rupprecht, who started sponsoring his Mel's Garage teams back in about 1960, a tradition Tim Rupprecht readily continued when he took over the business. 


In all of his years of local bowling competition, Rupprecht has competed for only one team sponsor - his own Mel's Garage team.  The sponsorship tradition began in the Industrial League at then Chase's Bowl (now Firehouse Lanes) back in about 1960. Since then the teams have moved periodically to different leagues, from the Industrial to the Merchants, Community and 766 leagues. He also sponsors and competes in the Major League at Firehouse Lanes.


Kressin will follow the footsteps of his father, Wayne, who was inducted into the local bowling hall of fame in 1993.  Kressin started bowling in high school but did not pursue the game initially as an adult. He came back to the game in 1986 and has set many scoring records since that time. His initial interest in bowling came from watching his father compete in top leagues. From there it was the junior programs and later adult leagues.


Kressin has been involved with lane dressing procedures in the city, working to help establish oiling patterns at Firehouse Lanes for a number of years. Kressin has worked with lane dressing procedures by hand, with the Rotobuff, Century and now the sophisticated Phoenix machines.  While he typically doesn't dress the lanes, he works to establish oiling patterns that will ensure quality conditions.   WDTimes article



03 27       Randy Kroll and Kevin Quinn inducted into Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame   WDT

11 21       Tom Schultz inducted into State Bowling Hall of Fame   WDT

Schultz is being inducted for exemplary service to the state association.  Schultz has served on the state association board since 1974 when he succeeded the late Lee Edwards of Watertown in that capacity.  He was state president in 1994-95, has served on all state committees over the years and continues to be active as a director of the state group.  This past year he was re-elected to a three-year term on the state board.  For many years he has been the master of ceremonies for the state hall of fame programs.  .


The new inductee has been involved with the local bowling scene since the early 1960s when he participated in junior leagues.  He was a junior and adult league secretary and league president, was a member of the local lane inspection committee for a number of years and served as local association president in 1977-1979.  In 1968 he organized and published the first Watertown Bowling Yearbook and served as editor of that publication for 15 years.


He was also instrumental in forming the local bowling hall of fame and has served as master of ceremonies for that program since it was started in 1987, a position he continues today.  He was inducted into the local bowling hall of fame in 1997.   WDTimes article



01 08       Carol Gallert inducted into meritorious service category of Watertown Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame.   WDT


01 29       Richard A. Symoens, 1943-2013  Active in local bowling circles for many years and served as manager of the local bowling association for 25 years, as a member of the Hall of Fame committee, and in many other bowling leadership positions.  He was a member of the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame . . . He was very proud of his bowling accomplishments and had six 300 games, one 298 game, one 800 series, bowled with several pro bowlers in various tournaments and won a number of bowling awards and honors.  WDT


03 21       Dan Schilling and John Foltz, two of Watertown’s top bowlers for decades, will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame in a program Sunday, April 14.  Both Schilling and Foltz are being recognized for their bowling skills and have held a number of high averages for several decades, dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.   WDT


10 17       Jane Toebe will be inducted into the Watertown Women’s Bowling Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 3.  Toebe was an active member of the Watertown Women’s Bowling Association, holding the office of president and secretary in many leagues.  She also served a term as city secretary.  She is a charter member of the state 600 club along with Judy Hoffstetter, Ellen Berger and Mickey Tessmann.  Hoffstetter and Toebe formed the local 600 club with Hoffstetter serving as president and Toebe as secretary . . .   WDT



03 26       Scott Strege and Rich Ebert will be inducted to the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame.   WDT



03 30       Joe Krueger will be inducted to the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame.   WDT



02 12       JERRY PETERS (1942-2017)

Jerome E. Peters, 74, of Watertown, passed away on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017, at Rainbow Hospice Inpatient Center in Johnson Creek.  Funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Watertown with the Rev. Karl Walther officiating.  Burial will take place at Lutheran Cemetery in Watertown.


Hafemeister Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Watertown is serving the family.


Jerome Edward Peters was born on Oct. 31, 1942, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Watertown, the son of Oswald and Patricia (nee Simon) Peters.  On Feb. 2, 1980, he married the former Debra Buchta at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Watertown.


Jerry graduated from Watertown High School. He entered the United States Navy and served his country from 1960-63.  He then was employed by Kinkead Plastics in Johnson Creek for 23 years, serving most of those years as foreman.  He then purchased the former Bowl-A-Fun Lanes and became the proprietor of Jerry’s North Bowl and served there as proprietor for 17 years, at which time he retired.


Upon his retirement, Jerry became very active in the American Legion Post 189.  He was commander from 2007-13.  Jerry was honored with having the Main Street Bridge named after him for one year for all his help in the community.  He was also an active member of AARP Chapter 3056.  Jerry was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.


Jerry’s passion was softball and bowling.  He played softball for 50 years and started bowling as a teenager setting pins.  He held a 200 plus average for many years.  He also played golf and played on the Lutheran Dartball League.


Jerry is survived by his wife, Debbie Peters; five children.   WDT



Steve Mihal and the late Craig Umland will be inducted into the Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame at a dinner program.   This year’s inductees took different paths to the election. Mihal, while a good bowler in his own right, was also a tireless worker and manager at many city tournaments and other events.  Umland was one of the city’s top bowlers for many years, amassing a large number of honor scores including 300 games and numerous 700 series . . .    Full article  



Bob Schmidt, longtime proprietor of Watertown Bowl 18 and Watertown Bowl North, and active in managing and promoting bowling at local, regional and state levels, has been selected for induction into the Wisconsin State USBC Bowling Association Hall of Fame.


Schmidt has been employed in the bowling industry since 1966 when he worked part time at Watertown Bowl 18. He began full-time employment five years later, and in 1984 he and his wife, Inez, purchased the lanes from Ray and Marion Seibold.  In 2002 they purchased the former Jerry’s North Bowl and renamed it Watertown Bowl North.  Over the years they invested in many areas of the two bowling centers, including redecorating, automatic scoring, underground ball returns at Watertown Bowl 18, and much more.  They sold the business to their two daughters, Diane Mallow and Denise Richter, in 2008.




Bob Schmidt, retired owner of Watertown Bowl 18 and Watertown Bowl North, has been inducted into the Wisconsin State USBC Bowling Association Hall of Fame at an induction ceremony in Neenah.  Schmidt was honored for his strong commitment to bowling and his promotion skills over a long career in the industry.



Firehouse Lanes has been sold to Watertown Investment and Redevelopment Company, LLC (David Schroeder, president).  Randy and Gloria Kuckkan, owners of the buildings and business, said they will continue to operate the bar and grill into early 2019 before closing permanently.  However, they said the bowling side of the business will end this summer, shortly after the closing.  The six lanes, pinsetters and other related equipment will be removed and sold and the bowling side of the business will permanently close.


The closing of Firehouse will bring an end over a century of bowling at that location, and leaves the city with two bowling establishments, Watertown Bowl 18, 102 W. Cady St., and Watertown Bowl North at 766 N. Church St. Both businesses are owned by Diane Mallow and family.


Early records indicate Firehouse Lanes originally became a bowling alley over a century ago, in 1916, when it was formed by the Maertzke family and it has been in continuous operation since that time.  The Kuckkans have owned the business since December of 1991 and then three years later they purchased the real estate from Bob Krebsbach and Jerry Dusso who had operated the lanes in the past.


Before going into the bowling business, both Randy and Gloria Kuckkan had long careers in other endeavors. Gloria did bookkeeping and accounting work for Miller Auto Parts and Randy was a longtime employee of Schweiger Industries.


The bar and restaurant side of the business will be operating as normal throughout the rest of 2018 and into the early part of 2019, they said.


Several leagues that have been competing at the lanes have been informed that bowling will not be available when the leagues normally start back up in fall.




The Watertown Bowling Hall of Fame will induct three people at a dinner Sunday, April 24.  The three to be inducted are Ron Bartels, Barb Bauer and Tom Fredrick.  Both Bartels and Bauer were scheduled for induction two years ago, but the induction program was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The third inductee, Tom Fredrick, was selected by the hall of fame committee this year and will also be honored on that date.  All three of the nominees are being inducted for their bowling skills, competitive records and for their leadership in the game of bowling.               WDTimes article




Cross References:

Watertown Bowl

Ellen M. Berger: Charter member of the Watertown Women's Bowling Association 600 Club.  Was inducted into the Watertown Women's Bowling Hall of Fame.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin