ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Watertown Inter-County Fair Association






01 26       EARLY HORSE RACE

First Street, from the new Commercial [Hotel] to the waterworks plant, was converted into a race track for a brief period Saturday afternoon, when an exciting trial of speed took place between two high-bred pacers, one an Ixonia horse, and the other an "unknown."  Bert Smith was starter and “Hi" Rogers time-keeper, while a host of horse-flesh admirers served as judges.  Notwithstanding the Ixonia steed coming in ahead, it was difficult to decide as to the better racer, the drivers offering so many excuses and explanations that the spectators were placed in a quandary.   WR



Saturday afternoon a delegation of citizens including Mayor Mulberger, Jesse Stone, Carl Manz, Emil Seibel, H. G. Grube, E. L. Schempf, Louis Kusel and J. W. Moore went to Columbus to view the sights of the street fair being held there.  The Columbus carnival was not one of the greatest pretensions, but it was very successfully conducted and well served the purposes for which it was gotten up, to attract visitors and to pleasantly entertain them.  It was reported that it did not result in any great impetus to trade during the days it was given, but it afforded the neighboring farmers an opportunity to exhibit their products in competition for valuable premiums and to enjoy themselves at the same time.  The Columbus people seemed well pleased with their efforts and visit of the Watertown delegation was beneficial in the acquirement of much needed information.  WR



The movement for the holding of a street fair and carnival of fun in Watertown next September took tangible form Monday evening at a mass meeting of citizens held in the city hall.  The meeting was not largely attended, but the ball was set rolling and an organization accomplished by the election of the following executive board:  W.C. Stone, president; E.L. Schempf. vice-president . . . Mr. Gifford's idea of the prospective amusement fete is to have it extend over a period of four days, commencing on a Tuesday and ending on the succeeding Friday.  He proposes to raise $5,000 by subscription for the expense of the carnival.  The holding of the affair is of course contingent upon his success in securing the required amount but he seems to have the utmost confidence that he can do it, and if he fails no one will be anything out.   WR




Last Tuesday evening the Watertown Carnival association held a meeting at the city hall, when the report of the executive committee was made and accepted.  It is as follows:


To the Watertown Carnival Association Gentlemen:

Your executive committee begs to submit the following report of their transactions: the total receipts from all sources amounted to $2,342.03, and the total disbursements to date amounted to $2,308.84, leaving a balance of cash on hand of $33.19, vouchers for which disbursements are in the hands of the secretary and open for inspection of parties interested.  Your committee begs to say further that they have endeavored to act with due regard to the amount collected by contributions from the liberal citizens and have used these funds to the best advantage.  Thanks are due to the several parties who contributed their help and wagons that came gratis, and to all those who contributed in any way to make the carnival a success not soon to be forgotten.


The committee has made an inventory of all the property belonging to the Carnival Association and said inventory is on file with the secretary.  The floats are stored in the ice house of Ohm Bros., gratis, to remain there at the pleasure of the association, and it is recommended that an effort be made to dispose of them, which would create a new fund to start a still more elaborate festival.  WR




Because Watertown was divided between two counties, it was not a prime location for a county fair.  But beginning in 1904 a series of fairs were held in Watertown. In that year the Watertown Inter County Fair Association was founded.


Prominent citizens such as John Habhegger, William D. Sproesser, and Charles Mulberger helped found the association.


The Fair was held the third week in September at the Seventh Ward Fairgrounds (c. 1700 River Dr).


On these grounds were once a grandstand with kitchen and dining room, bleachers, exhibit buildings, animal houses, and a half-mile race track.  The fair featured many forms of exhibitions and entertainment.


For a number of years it had the reputation for booking some of the best fair entertainers and circus performers.  The horse-racing also drew greater crowds and good entries.  There was a complete midway with carnival, side shows, and food stands.


There were four days to the fair and when the interurban service began in Watertown, a track was laid to the fairgrounds and many people could be transported from other areas of the city to the fairgrounds, helping swell crowds.


For many years the height of the fair was the balloon ascension. Later, airplane rides and stunts thrilled the fair crowds.  The fair only operated until 1926.



03 15       At city hall Monday evening was held a mass meeting to discuss the advisability of organizing a Fair organization of Watertown.  It was the unanimous opinion of those present that an annual Fair was desirable for our city and it was the sense of the meeting that the matter should be pushed to a successful issue. E. E. Grube [H. G. Grube? ]  gave the assurance that the Watertown Driving Park Club would be willing to turn in its property to a fair association if such an organization were formed.  This property includes the half mile track, buildings, fences, etc., now on the driving club's grounds in the Seventh ward.   WDT


When the project of a county fair for Watertown was broached Herman Grube was one of its ardent supporters and helped in many ways to launch it to a successful issue.  He had been previously identified with the Watertown Driving Association, which was merged with the fair association, and was elected treasurer of the Watertown Inter-County fair, which position he held during the first three years, relinquishing the office owing to stress of other duties connected with the fair.   Watertown Daily Times, 1924



Watertown Daily Times, 03 28 1905


A second meeting of those interested in the establishment of a fair association in this city was held last Thursday evening, and was well attended. S. E. Woodard presided and Charles Mulberger acted as secretary.


The report from the special committees appointed was most encouraging, and it was decided to push the work with all possible speed and hold a fair this year.  The work of soliciting stock subscriptions will begin at once. It will be necessary to raise about $7000 in addition to what will be turned over to the association from the driving club, but this will not be hard to secure, as when the previous organization was being effected about three years ago, fully that amount was raised in a short while, but the project fell through.


The above named will be used for the construction of a fence, exhibit buildings and stables, etc., and a portion of it will be used to advertise the fair and pay current expenses.



Watertown Daily Times, 05 17 1905


A committee of the Watertown Inter-County Fair Association has started to solicit stock subscriptions and will call on the business people for amounts varying according to their means. Another committee has secured several thousand dollars and it now remains for the businessmen of the city to make up the balance so that a fair next fall may be assured . . . As soon as the subscriptions are all in a date can be set and the work of advertising the fair commenced.


Watertown Daily Times, 06 15 1905


The prospects for the success of the Inter-County Fair which will hold its first meeting September 19-22 continue bright. It is surprising and at the same time gratifying to the officers of the association to note the great interest evinced by the general public over this event. Farmers from neighboring towns are more than pleased and the great crowd in the city Tuesday kept the fair officials busy answering questions propounded.


Secretary Charles Mulberger states that the premium list is now being arranged and the racing events will be the best that can be secured in Wisconsin. The total purses will aggregate $4500, which will not fail to draw some fast racers. In the way of other amusements, Secretary Mulberger is arranging for some high-priced features which are entirely new and novel, and will give the inter-county a great reputation from the start. The evening free attractions will be no less interesting and a good sum for this purpose has already been pledged. Watertown is able to accommodate without inconvenience the large crowds which will come to the city on this occasion.


September 19, 20, 21 and 22



1905       INTER-COUNTY

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In 1905, at the prodding of Mayor Herman Wertheimer, the Watertown Inter-County Fair Association launched another series of successful annual fairs on the spacious grounds south of the Armory.  Besides the usual exhibitions, the fair offered something for everybody.  You could buy cream candy, rubber balls on strings, gyroscopes, glass fountain pens, have your fortune told and your picture taken on tintype, or see a real motion picture, the "Great Train Robbery."  At one o'clock a marshal on horseback cleared the one-half-mile track for the horse races.  Late in the afternoon, after the acrobatic performers and the clowns had put on their show in front of the grandstand, there would be a balloon ascension.  Mostly it was a horse and buggy fair, but a few horseless carriages, steered by tillers, were parked along the road.  Farmers hated them because they scared the horses.   Derived from Watertown Remembered



Watertown Daily Times, 09 12 1906


This is the season of the year when people's fancies turn to the subject of fairs. This portion of the state has a goodly number of them which are taking place now or will within the next week or two and interest in them grows as the time approaches. It is at these annual fairs that the farmer proudly exhibits the fine stock and grains he has raised the past year and his wife's butter and prize jellies of the culinary department of the household. It is this feature of the fairs that really accomplishes the most good, for it educates the farmer and his wife, but then their value and social affairs must also be given much credit.


City people, too, take a continued if not growing interest in fairs, even though their nature has been changed somewhat from the spectacular shows that once were with horse races the chief features.



Watertown Republican, 09 12 1906


H. A. Holdridte (Holdridge?) has been one of the busiest men in the city this week fixing the shoes on the horses which are to take part in the races during the fair. 



Watertown Daily Times, 09 13 1906


Late developments have gone to show that the speed program of the Watertown Inter-County fair next week will be an unqualified success. The entries yesterday poured in at a lively rate and Secretary Mulberger is jubilant and now assures all that the race program will be one that will have no superior in the state. There will be a large field of horses, including many of the best in this country. Last evening, thirty-one entries had been made in the pace and trot events, to say nothing of the running races that are scheduled for each day. Horsemen know a good thing when they see it; therefore many are to take advantage of the liberal purses that are offered by the association for the various events.



05 09       Track at fairgrounds in excellent condition for speeding; local horsemen invited to use


09 28       The Watertown Inter-County fair came to a close last evening after having had a very successful week. Despite the unfavorable weather of Tuesday and Wednesday.  Despite the unfavorable weather conditions the first of the week, the fair officers are satisfied that it was no worse and they feel quite well satisfied with the way things turned out.  The rains and threatening aspect of the skies no doubt debarred many from going to the grounds.  Nevertheless, the fair was a big success from the standpoint of attendance and entertainment.  Yesterday, the attendance was not as large as was anticipated it being estimated that about 3,000 people were on the grounds. It is also estimated by the management that about 30,000 people visited the fair during the last three days.   Watertown Daily Times



02 07       BOOST THE WATERTOWN FAIR OF 1908 !

That was the key-note sounded at the annual meeting of the stockholders of the Watertown Inter-County Fair association held at the city building last evening.


The meeting was the largest and most enthusiastic ever held and if the enthusiasm displayed at the gathering could but have the cooperation of the citizens of Watertown generally, the coming fair would eclipse anything in the state and prove a mint in the way of receipts.


At the meeting last evening, many volunteered to assist gratuitously at the grounds during the fair in order to lessen the expenses and help to put the association on a stronger financial footing.   WG






All arrangements have been practically completed for the Inter-County fair to be held in this city on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, September 15, 16, 17 and 18.  Every department will be complete, and a fine amusement program has been arranged.  The racing program will be especially attractive.  One of the special attractions will be Klein's consolidated shows, 15 in number.  This show includes a working force of 200 people, and the Watertown and state fairs are the only fairs in Wisconsin where they will exhibit.  The shows will also exhibit at the Illinois and Iowa state fairs.  They will be open day and evening, and that portion of the fair grounds will be brilliantly illuminated at night time.  Boost the fair in every way possible, and help swell the attendance. All who attend can count on being well entertained.   WG


09 04       SPECIAL TRAINS

[same date]  Secretary Charles Mulberger announces that he had made arrangements with the Milwaukee Road officials for a special train on the evening of September 17, during the Inter-County Fair.  The train will leave Watertown for stations on the Madison branch at 9:30 p. m. which will give the people at Hubbleton, Waterloo, Sun Prairie, Marshall and other stations a chance to attend the fair and be at home at an early hour.  He also says that road officials will stop the Pioneer Limited, due to leave here at 10:20 p.m. at Reeseville during the three nights of the fair, September 16, 17 and 18.  This will be a welcome accommodation to the people residing in Reeseville who attend the fair in Watertown this year, which will be bigger and better than ever.   WG


09 11       BEAVER DAM FOLKS

About 400 Beaver Dam people will attend the Watertown fair next week, coming here in a special train and accompanied by a brass band.  Jefferson people are also arranging to come here in large numbers accompanied by their band.  Fort Atkinson, Waterloo, Juneau, Oconomowoc and Columbus will be well represented.   WG



[same date]  The Inter-County fair at Watertown this year will be bigger and better than ever.  Purses aggregating $3300 have been offered for racing events and the premium list is replete with many offerings in all classes.  The free attractions day and night will surpass those of other years, as some of the best talent has been booked by Secretary Charles Mulberger.  There will be plenty of music, including Bach's Military band of Milwaukee and there will not be an idle moment during the fair.  Something doing all the time.  Large crowds expected daily from surrounding counties.  Don't forget the dates, September 15, 16, 17 and 18.  The Milwaukee road will run a special train for the towns on the Madison branch on September 17, leaving Watertown at 9:30 p. m.  The Pioneer Limited will stop at Reeseville every evening during the fair, and the Northwestern road will run a train north on the night of Thursday, Sept. 17, leaving Watertown at 9:40.   


Wednesday next is Watertown day at the Inter County fair, and all business will no doubt be suspended in the on that day to allow everybody a chance to attend the fair.    WG



[same date]  John I. Beggs of Milwaukee, president of the Milwaukee Light, Heat and Traction Co., has given orders that work begin at once on extending the interurban railway from Montgomery Street to the C.&N.W. Ry. depot.  This means a great deal to the people of this city, for it will add greatly to the good service already in force here, and it is hoped all will help the good work along.  Mr. Beggs has also ordered that all electric cars entering the city make one round trip between Montgomery Street and Western Avenue, allowing 15 minutes for this service.  If the experiment pays, this service will be continued.  During the fair next week each car will have a trailer, and enough cars will be run to accommodate all going to the fair who wish to patronize the electric line between Montgomery Street and Western Avenue.  The company means to give Watertown the best possible service, and as merchants and business men have already felt the good effects of the interurban railway, it is hoped that no citizen will do anything to retard the growth and extension of this public enterprise.    WG



On Sept. 15th the interurban railway service between this city and Milwaukee put on the two hour schedule, cars coming and going every two hours, from now till May 15th next, when the hourly schedule will be resumed.  The same rule prevails with all interurban roads controlled by John I. Beggs.  Between 9:05 a. m. and 10:05 p. m. a daily city service will be maintained between Montgomery Street and Richards Avenue leaving Montgomery Street at 9:05 and arriving at Richard's Avenue at 9:15, returning to Montgomery Street at 9:05 and back to Richard's Avenue at 9:35, and back to Montgomery at 9:45, and so continuing till 10:05 at night. This service will be continued till the extension is completed to the Northwestern depot; and if it is found the local service pays, regular city cars will be put on next year.    WG



     A Large Attendance, Great Display and Fine Entertainment.

        Everybody Well Pleased and the Management Happy.


[same date]  Of the Inter-County Fair now being held on the fairgrounds in this city it can be truthfully said that it is one of the very best fairs ever held in the state—every department is full to overflowing and extra accommodations have had to be made since the fair opened on Tuesday to display the various products of farm and home. The livestock quarters attracts much attention this year and no one attending this fair should fail to give their attention to this feature of it. Blooded stock of all breeds in cattle, horse, swine and sheep was never so well represented in this county, and the poultry department, always of interest, is particularly large and interesting this year. Many crates of poultry have had to be placed outside the building. The machinery quarters, the horticultural, fine arts, merchandise and household product apartments, as well as the school exhibit are extensive, interesting and instructive, and with the many fine attractions on the ground all attending the fair certainly find something to satisfy their tastes., The fine attractions, horseracing, etc., are excellent and in fact nothing that tends to amuse and instruct has been neglected by the management, and it certainly has succeeded in getting together for the 1908 fair a vast amount of material. The city is in holiday attire, decorated with flags and bunting, and there is an air of success and interest in this year's fair never before so well shown here. The attendance at the fair thus far has been very large and tomorrow, Friday, it is expected the crowd will be a record-breaker for the last day, as many of the best races will take place and all of the free and other attractions will be continued . . .


Beaver Dam sent a delegation of 500 to the fair on Thursday, headed by their brass band.  Bach's band furnished the music on Wednesday, and Beaver Dam and Waterloo the music on Thursday.


On Wednesday, Watertown day, it is estimated fully 20,000 people passed through the gates.  Fort Atkinson and Jefferson sent large delegations and all the surrounding towns were well represented.    WG


Watertown Remembered


When the Interurban Railway came to Watertown in 1908, it laid tracks down Second Street to the fairgrounds, site of the Watertown Inter-County Fair, charging a nickel for the ride.  This annual fair was initiated by Mayor Herman Wertheimer in 1905 and the fair site was on the grounds south of the Armory.  The cars were always crowded.  On one "Watertown Day" - always the Wednesday of the four-day fair - 11,000 people attended.  But by 1927 interest had waned and Watertown called it quits with the fair for the last time.


In that same year the Interurban made an attempt to bolster its failing business by opening a fine new depot on Second Street, adding plush new cars and reducing the time of the Milwaukee run. When the new electric train came to town for the first time, it stopped at the city limits to pick up the employees of the Electric Company, who had been taken out there to board the train and make the entry more impressive.


The ride to Milwaukee was much more pleasant than it had been on the old trolleys. But the Interurban could not compete with the automobile, and it followed the fair into oblivion in 1940.


The T.M.E.R.& L., as it was called (The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company), had come to Watertown 32 years before, in 1908. It once ran the length of Main Street, from Fifth to the Northwestern depot. The screeching of its wheels as it rounded corners was a familiar sound, and the owl car, coming in around one in the morning and bringing home a few late Milwaukee visitors, would often awaken sleepers until they heard it rumble on, realized it was only the owl car and went back to sleep again.




Request to build interurban this year as far south as the fairgrounds so that it could be of use in time for the 1909 annual fair   WG



At the annual meeting of the Watertown Fair Association held last week Thursday evening all the old officers were re-elected as follows:


President—H. Werthheimer

Vice President—G. M. Gahlmann

Treasurer—C. E. Frey

Secretary—Charles Mulberger

Executive Committee—W. A. Beurhaus, J. F. Hughes, Reeseville; Albert Cebell, John C. Gruel, C. A. Vaughan, H. G. Grube, Simon Molzahn, Charles Kiepert, Concord; C. E. Donovan, Waterloo.


The chair appointed the following soliciting committee:  H. G. Grube, Max G. Kusel, Edward F. Wieman, G. M. Gahlmann and R. Schott.


President Herman Wertheimer presided at the meeting.  The treasurer’s report showed the association to be in good financial standing.  By resolution the secretary was authorized to employ an assistant secretary to aid him in looking after the fair’s work.  An additional building will be erected on the grounds this year, and a fifty-foot addition added to the grand stand.   WG


02 05       Additional building to be erected on grounds; a fifty-foot addition added to the grand stand, old officers re-elected   WG





The Watertown Inter County Fair will be held in Watertown September 21, 22, 23, 24.  There is the funny two vehicle act, the drivers fearless of death, to eyes of amazement.  They are automobile performers, the “fearless Greggs” as they call themselves.  Both are brave and as the picture shows leap from a high platform into the air, the one drives smoothly crossing over while the other spins in the air.  They will perform this daring feat until the world produces something better. 


Also at this fair the secretary Mr. Charles Mulberger hopes to attract $1200.00 worth of other attractions for these days, including an artistic house and crazy comedian donkey/jack asses. 


The fair management is resolved that instead of air-balloons or air-plane attractions there will be this automobile attraction.  An automobile that drives through the air is as exciting as air-balloons and it will by secretary Mulberger’s problem to yet further obtain additional quality events for the fair. 


The fair promises to be even bigger and better than before.  For the visitor the best is yet to come, a ride to the fair on the interurban.   Free translation of article accompanying image, Watertown Weltburger, 07 24 1909.


09 03       Herman Wertheimer recognition   WG


09 10       THE INTER-COUNTY FAIR OF 1909

The Watertown Inter-County Fair will be held at Watertown on September 21, 22, 23, and 24.  This will be one of the big fairs held in Wisconsin this fall and will be run day and night.  The transportation facilities are of the best, as the street cars will run directly to the main gate with only a few minutes for the trip.  There will be free attractions on the grounds during the afternoon and evening and plenty of music.  The racing program calls for an outlay of $3600 in purses and everything connected with the 1909 fair will be on a large scale.


There will be train service north on Thursday evening, leaving Watertown about 9:30 o’clock.   WG




09 17       Watertown Fair of 1909; Children’s Day   WG



[same date] The Inter-County Fair will be held on the fairgrounds in this city next Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and it promises to be one of the very best fairs held in Wisconsin this year.  Over $3600 will be paid out in purses for the races.  There will be many free attractions both during the day and at the evening fair and the exhibits promise to be large and excellent in every department.


The first day of the fair will be Children’s Day—free to all children under 18 years of age.  Wednesday will be Watertown Day and it is expected that all lines of business will be suspended during the afternoon to help swell the crowd.  On Thursday a special train will carry the Beaver Dam visitors and they well be accompanied by the Beaver Dam Brass Band.  The Waterloo Cornet band and Waterloo Juvenile Band will furnish music for that day.  The Columbus Band will furnish music on Friday.  The Watertown Imperial Band will furnish the music on Tuesday and music on Wednesday will be furnished by the Watertown Military Band and the Reeseville Band.


The speed program [horse racing] will be under the charge of William F. Earle and will include the four days . . .


Following are the officers and superintendents of the fair:


President—H. Wertheimer

Vice President—G. M. Gahlmann

Treasurer—C. E. Frey

Secretary—Charles Mulberger

Assistant Secretary—Emil Track

Executive Committee—W. A. Beurhaus, John C. Gruel, H. G. Grube, Albert Cebell, C. A. Vaughan, Simon Molzahn, Charles Kiepert, Concord; C. E. Donovan, Waterloo; John F. Hughes, Reeseville.



Gates and Grounds—C. A. Vaughan

Speed—William Earle

Horses—Ernest Krueger

Cattle—E. E. Randall

Sheep and Swine—Peter Thauer

Poultry—George J. Weber

Farm Implements and Vehicles—E. H. Graeszel

Educational—W. P. Roseman

Art and Floral Hall—W. J. Stube

Farm Products—Simon Molzahn

Privileges—W. A. Beurhaus


Admission to Grounds [fees] . . .



The Inter-County Fair of 1909 now being held on the fairgrounds in this city is one of the best in its history—the exhibits are large and many of the departments are filled to overflowing.  There are many fine free attractions, the horse racing very good, and the attractions along the pike are clean, entertaining and instructive.  The attendance thus far has been a record breaker, that of Wednesday being estimated at 15,000.  Reeseville sent a delegation of nearly 500 and headed by its brass band and Hon. John Hughes marched from up Main and West Main Street and, before the end of the line came in view, Watertown people began to think all the residents of the western part of the state were pouring into the city.  Today Beaver Dam sent a special train load of excursionists headed by its band and large delegations from Jefferson, Ft. Atkinson, Waterloo and Oconomowoc are expected.   WG



      September 20, 21, 22 and 23



There was a large attendance at the annual meeting of the Watertown Inter-County Fair Association held Thursday evening of last week at the city hall, including many from the rural districts.  The secretary's report showed the association to be in fine financial condition.  It was voted to enlarge a number of the buildings the coming season and also to enlarge the grandstand.  William A. Beurhaus, Charles Harte and John Hughes (of Reeseville) were elected directors.  All the old officers were re-elected as follows . . .


It was decided to hold the 1910 fair on September 20, 21, 22 and 23.  This is the week following the state fair and immediately preceding the fairs at Jefferson and Beaver Dam.  A vote of thanks was tendered the officers on motion of Peter Thauer, and Charles Mulberger in responding thanked the public for their interest in the fair and the help extended to the association.   WG



Five lots just north of the Watertown Fair Grounds have been purchased by the Fair Association.  This will allow more room for displaying live stock.   WG



An addition to the grandstand and a new merchants display building were ordered, at a meeting of the officers and directors of the Watertown Inter-County Fair association held last evening. Vice President G. M. Gahlman presided.


Plans and specifications are being prepared by Otto C. Riebe, and bids will be asked for.  The bids on the grandstand extension of 48 feet must be in the architect’s hands not later than June 22 at 7 p. m.  The plans for the merchants building are now being prepared.  This building will be 32 feet wide and 96 feet long and will afford ample space for the display of goods and manufactures.  This building will be constructed on the west side of the grounds, immediately south of the main entrance.  In this building will be the secretary’s office, which will be handy to people having business with the secretary, as it can be transacted at the gateway.


The money for these improvements was subscribed by our citizens and the soliciting committee which circulated the list, although not quite through with their work, are thankful for the good will expressed and the generous support given the fair by the people. 


The building of the new structure will add another exhibit room to the grounds, making three in all.  One of the older buildings will be devoted to agricultural displays and will be known as the agricultural building, while the one built in the form of a cross will be known as the fine arts and educational building.          The Watertown Leader, 17 Jun 1910



The matinee races on July 3 at the Watertown fair grounds promises to bring many good horses to the city for the three racing events.  The interurban cars will take the crowds to the grounds, extra service being put on at 10 a.m. and continuing until after the races are over with in the evening.  The three harness events will be trot or pace:  A free for all, 1/2 mile heats, best three in five, purse $100.  A 2:19 class, 1/2 mile heats, best two in three, purse $100.  A 2:30 class, 1/2 mile heats, best three in five, purse $75.   WG



On Sunday afternoon there was a good-sized crowd at the motorcycle races at the fairgrounds . . . Australian pursuit race—Contestants start at equally distant points around the track and start simultaneously.  A man passed must drop out until but one, the winner, remains—Sporleder and Fischer tied, each 3 1/2 miles. Time, 4:25.  Prize, silver loving cup . . .     WG



Opened Bids — Bids for the construction of the new merchants' display building on the Inter-County fair grounds were opened last week and are as follows:  John Schatz, $1718: L. A. Willenbockel, $1901; William Riebe, $1921 ; Ferd. Behlke, $1997; Rohde & Zickert, $2041 ; Charles Huenefeld, $2331.  The contract was let to John Schatz.     WG




There was a large and enthusiastic attendance at the annual meeting of the Watertown Inter-County Fair Association at the city hall last Friday evening.  President Herman Wertheimer called the meeting to order, and City Treasurer, Emil Tanck officiated as secretary of the meeting.  The treasurer's report was read at the meeting and it shows the association to be in a sound financial condition.  A new lease of the fairground has been taken for 14 years.  It was voted to hold the annual fair from Sept 19 to 22nd.  Chas. Mulberger declined to serve longer as secretary, and a vote of thanks was extended him for the excellent service rendered since the organization of the fair.  The election of officers resulted as follows: 


President—H. Wertheimer

Vice President—G. M. Gahlman

Secretary — Charles Harte

Treasurer—Charles Frey

Secretary of Speed—Chas. Mulberger

Director for three years—S. Molzahn, H. Grube, Robert Dent, H. Kronitz, for on expired term.   WG


-- --                  Weltburger, 09 16 1911, Inter County Fair, Sept 19-22.







The Watertown Inter-County Fair Association has succeeded in securing good seed corn from the agricultural college for the annual contest for boys and girls and for which the association offers prizes.  The contest is limited to boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18 years.  The seed may be secured at S. Molzahn & Company's place in Watertown.  It is known as Wisconsin Pedigree No. 7.  The supply is limited, and those calling first will be served first.   WG


09 24       THE 1912 INTER-COUNTY FAIR











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09 25       A GREAT FAIR !

       Inter-County Fair One of the Very Best Ever Held in Wisconsin

            Splendid Exhibits and Excellent Amusement Program


The Watertown Inter-County Fair opened on the fairgrounds Tuesday and will continue till Friday evening.  It is daily attracting thousands of people, the attendance of yesterday being estimated at fully 10,000.  The fair is a most excellent one, and deserves the patronage of everyone who can possibly attend.  Many visitors from outside who have attended many fairs say the present Watertown fair is the very best they have ever attended, even surpassing the Wisconsin State Fair. 


The cattle, horse, sheep, swine, poultry, dairy, agricultural, horticultural, floral, fine arts, public school, culinary and machinery exhibits are filled to over-flowing with the finest selections in their lines that has ever been exhibited in this section of the state.  The Watertown businessmen's displays are a great credit to their enterprise, and a most excellent display of fruits, grains, alfalfa, nuts, grasses, corn, etc., from the southern states attracts much attention.  


The amusement attractions are mostly of a high-class order, the races being particularly good.  The races scheduled for this and tomorrow afternoon ought to attract a large attendance.  The immense crowds are handled without a hitch and Paul Demenske, marshal of the fair, sees to it that all things are attended to with neatness and dispatch.        Watertown Gazette



   1914, Inter County Fair advertisement


      Teske Miniature Model Farm display




At a regular meeting of the Watertown Business Men’s Association last Tuesday evening it was decided by resolution to do all in its power to boost the 1915 fair of the Watertown Inter-County Fair Association and pledged itself to contribute $500 toward the salary of Chas A. Harte, the efficient secretary of the fair for the past four years.  Everybody appreciates the fact that the fair is a good thing for both business men and farmers in this city and vicinity and all are going to boost more than ever for the 1915 fair.   WG



-- --           GREATEST RACING CARD EVER  /  pdf file



   The Watertown News, 09 03, 1917.  Stapleton Drug Store.  




                          Alexander Bros Co.




Watertown Fair:  September 21, 22, 23 and 24.      WG



Troop K 105th Cavalry (part of the National Guard) boarded horses at the old fairgrounds on the city's south side.



Old History Remnants Recovered


Watertown Daily Times, 04 10 1999


City workers are currently in the process of a road building project on the south side that has unearthed a little smattering of old history.


The crews are constructing a new roadbed on Utah Street south of Boomer Street. That new section of road is badly needed. The existing pavement was in pretty tough shape and drainage was poor. This short dead end street serves Wisconsin Auto Parts, Badger Car Wash and Holz Motors.


Well, while the crews were digging up the roadbed, they found a bunch of old railroad ties.


Those ties are all that's left of the old branch line of the interurban, known formally as The Milwaukee Electric Railway & Light Company (TMER&L).


The interurban or TMER&L was a trolley car system from Milwaukee to Watertown, with other branch lines going south to Kenosha and north to Sheboygan. Service came to Watertown on July 31, 1908, and ended rather quietly on Feb. 1, 1940, a victim of the popularity of the automobile.


These old ties which were dug up really brought back memories of a lesser known part of the interurban history.


By the time the interurban arrived on July 31, 1908 for the first time, the railway owners had already set their sights on extending the line all the way to Madison. Rights of way had been purchased and the tracks were laid south of the city's business district to the intersection with the Chicago and North Western tracks and station. The plan was to extend it all the way to Madison in the very near future, and it was to have been done on private, rather than public, right of way.  But it never materialized.


In addition to that plan, the owners had other ambitious ideas. The tracks were laid south along South Second Street, and along what is now the sliver of land between Highway 26 south and Utah Street.


The terminal was the former Grinwald Ford dealership at Second and Market streets, so that track extension seemed pretty logical.


The immediate need was to service the inter-county fair, but the ultimate goal was to have the service extend south to the county seat in Jefferson.


Site of the inter-county fair, always held the third week of September, was the general area of the Watertown National Guard Armory, the Watertown Municipal Airport, and the three businesses we mentioned above.


That track was installed and grading was even completed about a mile south of the fair stop. But, again, there never was an effort to get the tracks all the way to Jefferson. It became too expensive, especially with the growing competition from the automobile.


Our records show that as late as 1934 tracks were still in place out to the inter-county fair, and maybe it was even longer. No doubt what was dug up there this week are the remaining ties of a once very busy line.


The round trip cost to the inter-county fair from any interurban stop in Watertown was five cents. What a bargain!


A map of the tracks show the branch continued south on Second Street, under the Milwaukee Road (now Canadian Pacific) tracks and then at Second and Hyland streets, there were several turnoffs probably used to store extra cars.


Then the track traveled adjacent to River Drive which was the old highway at the time. There was double track, presumably a passing siding from the approximate location of Stimpson Street at River Drive south to Mary Street where it again became single track.




South Second St, between Milwaukee St & Western Ave








Cross References: 

1861:  A trotting course – Some of our owners and dealers of splendid horses propose to add to the attractions of the live stock fair that is now regularly held here, a race course for the purpose of trying the speed of their nags and testing their qualities.  We learn that appropriate ground for this purpose can be very easily procured and two hundred dollars have been pledged to grade a road of suitable length.  Let the thing be carried out.  It will have a tendency to draw together more buyers and a sight now and then of a famous, fancy, or swift-footed traveler won’t hurt any body.  We are in favor of the race course.   Watertown Democrat, 03 28 1861


Display of artifacts unearthed by Watertown resident David Yelk while metal detecting on the grounds of the former Inter-County Fair.  A society holding.


Robert Dent was a director of the InterCounty Fair Association since its organization.




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin