111-115 S First
Name changes over time:
Carlton House Apartment Hotel
Original structure erected in 1846 by a man named Savage. It was originally occupied by a number of small stores and offices.
In 1847 Thomas Norris opened the original building as a hotel; Norris sold it to J. C. Lewis
1847, Oct 12
Rock River Pilot, 01 05 1848, dated announcement
C. D. Taylor would invite the attention of the travelling public to this house and flatters himself that in all the different branches of his business he can give satisfaction to those who may favor him with their patronage. The house is near the center of the business portion of the village and is but a few rods from the general stage office, which renders it a convenient stopping place for those wishing to transact business in town, or for travelers passing through the village. His accommodations for teams are ample, his hostlers faithful and attentive, and his charges reasonable.
JOSEPH LINDON ACQUISITION
Came into the possession of Joseph Lindon. A Mr. [Alexander] Manegold succeeded Mr. Lindon.
WATERTOWN: “SECOND CITY” IN WISCONSIN,
PLANK ROAD BONANZA FOR LOCAL TAVERNS
“After the completion of the plank road, Watertown, early a place of promise, became the second city in the State and a bonanza for taverns; their story, however, has been well told in local histories. People and produce from the country to the west and north for many miles PASSED THROUGH WATERTOWN TO MILWAUKEE, and land seekers made it their headquarters. J. B. Van Alstine, for years the popular landlord of the Exchange, declared that he thought business dull in those palmy days unless he had a hundred guests and as many horses to care for. Two of the old taverns are still running [in 1915], the Watertown House, now the Commercial, and the Buena Vista, which was opened in February, 1848, by Capt. Henry Bogel, a veteran of the Mexican War. During the regime of William Wiggenhorn and his son, Eugene, the Buena Vista was the rendezvous of German revolutionist refugees, among them Carl Schurz and Emil Rothe, while on Sundays German services were held in its hall.”
Derived from “The Taverns and Stages of Early Wisconsin” by J. H. A. Lacher, 1915. Contracts for construction of the road were let in October of 1848.
12 17 AN EXCHANGE
Mr. James Kilmer, formerly of the Watertown House, has recently become clerk of the Robinson House of this city, one of the best hotels in the state. Mr. Kilmer is one of those intelligent and genial gentlemen that friends and guests always like to meet. Attentive and accommodating, treating all alike with courtesy and urbanity, he will be sure to win the respect and good will of all who have business to transact with him.
A correspondent sends us the following note, which we insert just as it came to us:
“Another change in the Administration – In looking over the columns of the N. Y. Tribune this morning I was highly elated in noticing that the Hon. Hiram Whitney, formerly head clerk of the Robinson House, has been promoted to the clerkship of the far-famed Watertown House, where he will be found in the good humor and graceful appearance which have won the affections and confidence of the traveling public and is ever ready to wait on his old friends and all others who see fit to favor him with a call. We say success to ‘Hi’ – as he is bound to reach the height of fame.” WD
05 18 WATERTOWN HOUSE ENLARGER AND REMODELED
The Watertown House on First Street, formerly owned by J. Lindon, is being raised up, enlarged and repaired by its new owner, who, we understand, is a gentleman from Milwaukee. He designs to make it a first rate hotel. WD
Farmers’ Hotel, Alexander F. Mannegold, prop., N E c 1st and E Washington
A. F. Mannegold, Proprietor
North-East Corner First and East Washington Sts.
(One block South of Main)
Watertown - - - - Wisconsin
A pleasant stopping place for Farmers, with good stabling attached [1866-67 City Dir, advertisement]
Watertown House, A. F. Mannegold, Prop, NE corner 1st and Washington [1872 City Dir].
N.B. Washington Street of the time is now Market Street
“Washington St is the first south of and parallel with Main St, 1st Ward, and runs from First St east to Ninth St.”
“. . My frau, and I went to Watertown; 12 miles. Visited Matilda Ransom in Mr. Hirscher Mammoth Store. We all dined at the Watertown House kept by Mr. Marrigould [Mannegold] where now (~1890) stands the Watertown Commercial Hotel and home again” [Nathaniel Carpenter Ranson bio, ~1890, transcribed by Kent Marsden from a copy found in the New Berlin, WI library.]
1875 Watertown House, A. F, Mannegold, next post office [1875-76 City Dir].
DISTANT VIEW OF WATERTOWN HOUSE
1879 (or 1877)
In July 1879, it was partially rebuilt and called the Commercial House
Commerical Hotel, Mannegold & Co., Prop'rs, was rebuilt in 1877
10 12 DEATH OF A. F. MANNEGOLD, [b. 1817, d. 1888]
Sunday, October 7, 1888, Alexander F. Mannegold, died at his home, the Commercial Hotel, of general debility at the age of 71 years, leaving surviving him a wife, one son and four daughters. The deceased was a native of Prussian Saxony and came to the United States in 1847. From 1862 to 1865 he conducted the Niagara House in Chicago and in the latter year came to Watertown and was proprietor of the old Watertown House until he erected the Commercial Hotel, which he managed for years with good success. Mr. Mannegold was a public spirited man and in his younger years was one of our most energetic citizens. He was one of the organizers of the Sons of Herman of this city and had a great deal to do towards bringing that society to its present flourishing condition. His funeral took place Wednesday afternoon and his remains were followed to their final resting place in Oak Hill cemetery by the large circle of friends. WG
1889 Commercial Hotel, Mannegold and Co., props., N E cor Washington and First [1888 City Dir].
08 27 ELECTRIC FIRE ALARM
There was an incident over at the Commercial Hotel in Watertown the other night that was funny enough if you weren’t an interested party. A semi-inebriated chap came along in the small morning hours and asked for a room. The clerk stepped out of the office to look for a suitable spot to stow the party away. Left alone, he discovered a sort of crank machine behind the counter and the spirit of mischief prompted him to turn it. It set the electric fire alarm apparatus ringing, and in less than a minute about all the guests in the house were down in the office in various stages of dishabille, bare feet shrinking from the cold planks of the floor, and anxiety and terror on every face. The stranger arose equal to the occasion. He drew off his coat, and gravely and with great politeness said; “It’s a cold morning, ladies and gentlemen, but I’ll do the best I can for you. There, you can stand on that, throwing his coat on the floor. There are pictures which can be painted in words. There are others which cannot. This is one. -Oconomowoc Free Press
12 12 FOWL PRIZES SERVED FOR DINNER
T. M. More, of BeldIng, Mich., and F. A. Rose, F. C. Sheldon and E. D. Howell, of Chicago, spent Sunday here, guests at the Hotel Commercial. Saturday evening they succeeded in winning two turkeys and a duck at a "keno" game. Through the well-known good nature of the jovial and accommodating landlord of the Commercial, arrangements were made by which a special table was reserved and the fowls prepared for dinner. Landlord Mannegold sat at the head of the table and Messers. Rose and Sheldon officiated as carvers of the turkey and duck, respectively.
The "tourists" are wishing that they could plan their trips to spend their Sundays where they get such good accommodations and receive such kind treatment that has made the Commercial popular with the boys. WR
1897 Commercial Hotel, Henrietta Mannegold (wid Alex), prop., 115 1st [1896-97 City Dir]
ROOM KEY FOB FROM COMMERCIAL HOTEL
07 06 PROPRIETOR HOOKED A PICKEREL AT ROCK LAKE
W. J. Foy, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel at Watertown, while angling on Rock lake Wednesday, hooked a pickerel so large that in his efforts to land the monster his fine steel pole was broken and the fish got away when within 12 to 15 feet from the boat. Mr. Foy said he would not have been more chagrined had he lost $10. There are big ones in Rock lake sure.
06 27 ONE OF FOUR STANDARD CLOCKS
The Western Union Telegraph company (107 S. First St in 1899) has placed in this city four standard clocks and correct time will be gotten once a day at the telegraph office, where the master clock will be placed. The others are in Wiggenhorn's jewelry store, Goeldner's department store and the New Commercial hotel. The timepieces are of the most modern kind, self-winding, and will be regulated from the master clock each hour. They work by electricity.
08 15 "LITTLE WHALE" CAUGHT AND SUBDUED AT ROCK LAKE
William J. Foy, proprietor of the New Commercial hotel at Watertown, paid Lake Mills a visit last week for the purpose of trying his skill at luring the finny tribe from the cool waters of Rock lake, and so complete was his success that he has been voted the medal for taking the largest fish of the season. . . Mr. Foy's success is doubly praiseworthy because of the lightweight tackle by which he landed the little whale. A common fishing rod with a light line is not the kind of machinery with which to handle such big fellows, but by some sort of witchery William J. enticed his prey to the side of the boat, and then gently holding the deluded fish in his arms he tumbled him into the boat and then there was a fight in which Mr. Foy came out victor by lying down with his antagonist until he surrenders. Some say he was very proud of his catch; of course he was, and who would not be proud of such a prize? . . . Rock Lake has plenty of fish both great and small, ready to be caught when the proper bait and proper skill are presented for their consideration. We do not envy the patrons of the Commercial, still we would much like to have helped them eat the fish. WR
11 21 SOLD TO J. A. McCONNELL
After a proprietorship of about two and one-half years, W. J. Foy last week sold the New Commercial hotel to J. A. McConnell, of St. Peter, Minn., the change taking place on Thursday. The consideration is not given. The new proprietor has been in the hotel business twenty-five years, and with this long experience is no doubt well equipped to run a hostelry that shall be first-class in every respect and eminently satisfactory to all who have occasion to favor it with their patronage. Mr. McConnell will be assisted in the conduct of the house by his son, John. It is generally hoped that they will meet with much success in their venture. WR
11 16 McCONNELL SELLS TO SMITH
J. A. McConnell, who has been the proprietor of the New Commercial Hotel for the past year, has disposed of it to J. A. Smith, of Winona, Minn., the consideration being$18,000. Mr. McConnell bought the property a year ago from W. J. Foy, and has been very successful in its management. He quits the hotel business with a time being on account of his wife's health. He has conducted hotels in several of the larger cities of Minn., among them being the Windsor Hotel in Minneapolis. As proprietor of the New Commercial he was very popular and conducted the house in an excellent manner. WG
HOTEL AND WILLIAM JONES CARRIAGE PAINTING SHOP
01 11 REDECORATING AND REMODELING
Landlord Smith of the New Commercial hotel has just completed redecorating and fitting out the dining room of the hotel and small reading room in fine shape. This week he has a large number of mechanics at work enlarging the office and refitting the toilet rooms. The office is being enlarged to occupy nearly the entire north side of the hotel on the first floor. When completed it will be one of the finest and most home-like hotel offices in the interior of the state. Mr. Smith evidently knows what the travelling public wants, and he is going to make life happy for everyone who stops at this hotel if there is any possible way to bring it about. WG
04 12 NEW TOILET ROOMS
J. H. Smith of the New Commercial, has just completed adding several new toilet rooms to that popular hotel, now being one on each floor. He has also fitted out a ladies’ parlor on the first floor, a great convenience to lady patrons and lady callers at the hotel. The hotel has been completely remodeled throughout since he became the proprietor of it, and as a consequence of the improvements and strict attention to business, the hotel is crowded with guests every day. WG
06 21 SAMPLE ROOM REMODELED
On Tuesday J. H. Smith at the New Commercial Hotel began to remodel the sample room to the north of the hotel. He will raise the building and add eight more rooms to the capacity of the hotel. Messrs. Chas. Huenefeld and J. M. Jornay have charge of the work. Mr. Smith is continually looking after the wants of the patrons of his house, and has already succeeded in making the New Commercial one of the most popular hotels in the country. WG
10 25 HOTEL ENLARGED
The New Commercial hotel is to be enlarged by the building of a two-story addition 26 x 34 feet. The lower part will be fitted out as a buffet and wash-room, and the second story for sleeping rooms. J. H. Smith, the proprietor, is constantly improving the hotel, and ever since he has taken hold of it, he has had a deserved large patronage. Work on the addition has already begun. WG
01 31 Last Friday Landlord Smith, of the New Commercial Hotel, started the new steam-heating plant recently put into the hotel. A new full sized-horse-power boiler has been put into the basement of the new annex to the hotel by Otto Biefeld & Co. and steam connections made throughout the hotel, the sample rooms connected therewith, and also with the post office building, all of which are heated from the new plant. It has been given a full test during the cold weather of the past week and is working in a first class manner. WG
11 08 Under the present management the Commercial House has taken its place among the best hotels of interior Wisconsin, a fact that is as pleasing to the people of our city as it is complimentary to the present proprietors. The demand for such a hotel has been constant and as we have at least succeeded in securing a house that is a credit to the city, a little local encouragement would best show the public's appreciation.
12 20 A 23 pound turkey was raised by Charles Gillis of the town of Watertown. Landlord Brandenburg of the New Commercial purchased it and will serve it on Christmas day to his guests.
12 27 On Christmas Jos. Brandenburg, of the New Commercial Hotel, presented his wife with a handsome Kranisch & Bach piano from the sales rooms of the W. D. Sproesser Co. and Mr. Brandenburg was nicely remembered by his wife presenting him with an elegant quarter-sawed writing desk.
09 07 Improvements, involving the expenditure of a large sum of money, are to be made on the New Commercial Hotel. In fact the preliminary work was commenced yesterday under the supervision of Carl Huenefeld, who has the contract for the work, which will be rushed to completion and by the time snow flies Watertown's leading hostelry will present an entirely different aspect and be in keeping with the development and improvement of the city.
The decision to remodel the hotel was recently reached by Mrs. Joseph [Lilian] Brandenburg, who, it might be said is carrying out the plans outlined about a year ago by her husband before his death. Mrs. Brandenburg who gives the management of the hotel her personal attention, is a thorough business lady who believes in the future of Watertown and therefore proposes to make her hostelry an ideal one and thoroughly up-to-date . . . Mrs. Brandenburg also states that among the improvements to be made is one that will add greatly to the beauty of the place.
If she can get a permit from the city council, she proposes a large canopy in front, extending from the building to the curb and from the ladies' entrance to the main entrance. It is proposed to build the same of glass and steel . . . It is also proposed to erect a veranda in front of the hotel . . . The hotel will be repainted from top to bottom, inside and out. Paint and papering will not be spared in adding to the appearance of the New Commercial.
02 07 E. A. Welsh, the new manager at the New Commercial Hotel, met with a rather peculiar and unfortunate accident Wednesday evening while engaged in some work in one of the sample rooms in the rear of the hotel. He tripped over a grip laying on the floor and fell onto an iron bar in such a manner as to receive a fracture of the nose and a rather ugly gash under his left eye. While the injury is not a very serious one it was nevertheless painful and will disfigure Mr. Welsh for a few days. WG
01 15 Banquet honoring John I. Beggs, president of Milwaukee Heat, Light and Traction Co; Mrs. Brandenburg, the proprietor, praised. WG
02 19 Joseph Jr, four-year-old son of Mrs. Lilian Brandenburg, bitten in the face by a dog in the lobby of the hotel. WG
12 17 Mrs. Brandenburg's Lucky Escape: While out cutter riding last Monday afternoon, Mrs. Joseph Brandenburg, proprietor of the New Commercial Hotel, narrowly escaped serious injury. When reaching the corner of Main and North Second streets, at about two o'clock, she turned north to avoid an interurban [trolley] car and while making the turn her cutter tipped over in the deep snow, throwing her out, but she showed great pluck and presence of mind and held on to the lines. After having been dragged three blocks, she brought the horse to a stop. The snow was quite deep all the way, and she fortunately escaped serious injury. She says she rather enjoyed the excitement, but would not want the experience repeated. WG
07 22 NEW HOTEL MANAGEMENT
Mrs. Joseph Brandenburg, who for years past has so successfully managed the New Commercial Hotel, has retired from active management and C. E. Hunter has assumed charge at the hotel, assisted by Miss E. C. Glaser, sister of Mrs. Brandenburg. Mr. Hunter is well known to the travelling public, and is thoroughly versed in what a hotel needs to make it popular, hence the popularity of the New Commercial is sure to continue under his management. WG
09 30 C. E. HUNTER, MANAGER
C. E. Hunter, manager of the New Commercial Hotel, who gave such fine satisfaction as starter for the Watertown fair races last week, will leave the latter part of next month for Phoenix, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, to officiate as starter for two big races. It is a foregone conclusion that he will give the best of satisfaction. WG
The one-time bartender of the place was a former female impersonator. He toured in an act in vaudeville in the early 1910s.
07 28 FIRE AT THE NEW COMMERCIAL HOTEL
At 1 o’clock Friday morning an alarm of fire was turned in from box 17 and the fire department responded promptly, the cause of the alarm being a small fire at the New Commercial Hotel. The hotel was filled throughout with smoke and for a time it was difficult to locate the blaze, until holes were cut in the kitchen floor near the range, then it was found the fire was underneath the floor under the range and it was promptly extinguished. The fire damage was slight but the smoke and water did considerable damage. For a few moments the guests at the hotel were somewhat alarmed, but on learning the fire was an insignificant one, they returned to their rooms. WG
01 16 MRS. BRANDENBURG SELLS COMMERCIAL HOTEL
E. J. Carroll has purchased of Mrs. Lillian Brandenburg the New Commercial Hotel, and has already taken charge of it. The Commercial under Mrs. Brandenburg's management was one of the most popular hotels in the state. It was properly managed by her in every manner — the rooms were all kept scrupulously neat and tidy and the menu served at all meals was the very best. In retiring from the hotel business in Watertown, Mrs. Brandenburg takes with her the good wishes of all our people. About February 1st, she and her young son Joseph and her sister, Miss E. C. Glaser, who has been with her in the hotel for years, will leave for a three month visit in California. Mr. Carroll, the new landlord, comes to our city well recommended. He is an experienced hotel man and the public will find that the Commercial under his management will lose none of its popularity. WG
01 22 SARAH BERGIN HELD UP
Miss Sarah Bergin, who has been employed for some time at the Commercial Hotel, received a check last Monday evening for her wages, and decided to visit her old home in Richwood. She took the ‘bus to the C. M. & St. P. depot, and then made up her mind to walk to the Junction and visit over night with friends near there before going to Richwood. She was carrying her satchel and walking along the railway track, when suddenly a man came up behind her and grabbed her satchel, and said "Wat you got in that suitcase? Money?" He ran west on the tracks with the satchel and Miss Bergin followed to the Junction and notified the police by phone. Next morning her satchel and check therein was found by a brakeman near the Junction. The contents therein were rifled, but nothing was found missing. WG
01 22 Death of Henry Bertram, was proprietor of the Commercial Hotel for some time.
01 25 Death of Joseph Brandenburg, Jr, son of former owner WG
1950 NEW CARLTON HOTEL OWNERS
Good Meals, Clean Rooms Policy to Predominate
The new owners of the Carlton hotel took over the place yesterday and will continue to operate it under the same, long standing policy which has made it one of the best known hotels in this area. They are Leonard Platt and his father, Harry Platt, both formerly of Lake Geneva, Wis. The son will be the active manager.
Good meals, clean rooms and a home-like atmosphere will be the policy of the hotel. The hotel would continue to welcome gatherings, dinner and luncheon parties, large or small, and that it would do its utmost to provide the best possible catering service.
The new owners met many of the city's younger men last evening during the monthly luncheon meeting of the Watertown Junior Chamber of Commerce. The son will affiliate with that group and will help promote the program and activities of the junior chamber organization in the community.
Louis Silagy and Don Mitchell, who have operated the hotel for many years, will continue to make their homes in Watertown. They have built the hotel up to a position where its meals and services were first rate for a city this size and the two joined today in wishing the new owners well and in thanking the public for its patronage during the years they operated the place. WDT
BUSINESSES AND OFFICES IN THE CARLTON HOTEL IN 1950
Hotel Carlton of Watertown, Inc.
Hotel Carlton dining room
Carlton Cocktail Bar
Watertown Junior Chamber of Commerce.
Watertown Industrial Safety Council
Northland Greyhound Bus Lines
Cardinal Lines, Inc.
05 11 NEW CARLTON HOTEL OWNER AND MANAGER
The new owner of the Carlton hotel, Bernard B. Rekus, has arrived in Watertown from Chicago and has taken possession of the property which he purchased from Harry Platt, also of Chicago, who owned and operated the hotel for the past year, having acquired it in May, 1950.
Mr. Rekus has announced that he purchased the hotel outright and is the sole owner and that Michael Joyce, Chicago, will be the manager of the hotel. Mr. Rekus was born in Missouri. His father was a native of Germany who came to this country as a young man and his mother was Scotch- Irish extraction. Mr. Rekus received his elementary schooling in Missouri and later attended college and in 1928 went to Chicago and entered the insurance business.
Successful Career He is a self-made man who has 1 met with considerable success in the insurance field. He maintains an office in Chicago. He also owns farms in Missouri and has other holdings. Having lived in Chicago for many years, he still retains a love for small towns and community life and that is one reason he decided to come to Watertown. He likes this community and after making a survey of the city and its possibilities decided to locate here. He will continue his; business in Chicago and will divide his time between Chicago and Watertown.
‘‘I know it is going to be a pleas- j sure for me to come to Watertown at every opportunity,” Mr. Rekus told a reporter during an interview yesterday afternoon. “I have already met so many people in this community and I have found them to be most congenial and friendly. I know I am going to like it here.” Plans Improvements He contemplates several changes and improvements at the hotel. He also plans to introduce a business men’s lunch at noon and will cater to clubs, societies and family parties as well as social functions and banquets. e says it will be his aim to serve good meals at all times and maintain the highest quality of meals and service.
Mr. Joyce, his manager, is an experienced man in the hotel field and can be relied upon to carry out his wishes, he said. He hopes to make the hotel known far and wide as a place that is friendly and hospitable and which will ac- quire a reputation for its excellent meals.
10 28 The Western Union Telegraph Company started moving operations yesterday. It is moving its Watertown office to new headquarters in the Carlton Hotel, across the street from its old office in South First Street. The telegraph company is vacating the building directly north of the Wethonkitha Club, the city recently having purchased it along with a strip of land and plans to utilize the land as part of the South First Street parking area, on which a car ramp is to be constructed.
09 15 The Carlton Hotel in South First Street, which has been offered to the city of Watertown as a site for a future City Hall or municipal building, dates back to 1847 when it was opened as a hotel and was known as the Watertown House and later the Commercial House and Commercial Hotel. The original structure was erected in 1843 and was occupied by stores and offices. In 1847 Thomas Norris opened the original building as a hotel. Norris sold it to J. C. Lewis, and in 1848 it came into the possession of Joseph Lindon. A Mr. [Alexander] Manegold succeeded Mr. Lindon. In July 1879, it was partially rebuilt and called the Commercial House. WDT
04 23 An annex of the Hotel Carlton taken over for new Firestone store. WDT
02 04 SALE OF CARLTON HOTEL TO HOWARD MARTIN
Announcement was made of the sale of the Carlton Hotel to Howard Martin, Madison, who took possession as of yesterday, Feb. 1. Negotiations for the purchase had been underway for some time. The sale was made by Mr. and Mrs. H. Fred Frehe who have owned and operated the establishment for the past 10 years. They came here from Minneapolis and now plan to retire. WDT
11 09 DUKE’S BAR CHANGES HANDS
Two old and well established taverns in Watertown are due to change hands on Dec. 1. Applications for change in licenses have been filed. One is Duke’s Bar in the Hotel Carlton operated by Harry E. (Duke) Marthaler. The change results from the recent sale of the hotel property to G. V. Mathews, formerly of Fort Atkinson by Howard Martin, the former owner. The present bar license is held by Mr. Marthaler. WDT
- PERSONAL RECOLLECTION
In 1964, the owner Loren Bixby hired me as desk clerk. Wow, I not only took care of the old cord type switch board, but answered dead animal pick up phone, dispatched taxi cabs, helped drunks climb stairs to their rooms, sold newspapers and candy, greeted greyhound bus travelers, watched restaurant cashier, adjusted color TV in the bar, set table cloths in dining room, played the 8 track tapes, made decorative signs, but filled in short periods for Western Union guy . . . all for $1.00 an hour. In the lobby before it was renovated into senior housing room, I spotted the design in the fireplace bricks that was a Nazi swastika. (Barry Nelson Facebook posting feedback)
2003 Carlton House Apartment Hotel, 115 S First, Current site of
Click to enlarge
08 10 1889, drawing
This image not same
1910, Commerical Hotel
Hotel bar token
History of Watertown, Wisconsin