ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Quonset Dwelling Units


Building made of corrugated metal and having a semicircular cross section


First family moved in 11 17 1946 (known as Garden Homes addition)

Closed 12 31 1951 and later becomes Lincoln Park



In 1945, WW II came to an end and Watertown celebrated in high fashion.  The men soon began returning and with their return a new problem presented itself, a shortage of housing.  In order to compensate for this, the city took over the old city circus grounds in the Fifth Ward and turned it into a Quonset hut village.  The idea was that these simple structures would allow soldiers and their families to live on their own while they save up for new homes or until new homes were built.  In 1951 the huts were torn down and the land reverted to a playground and public park today known as Lincoln Park.  Several Quonset huts still exist in the city and surrounding countryside.  Watertown: A History (WI) (Making of America), by William F. Jannke III




   The first pre-fabricated home to be placed on sale in Watertown is pictured here.  The home, or Quonset hut, 20 by 24 feet, placed on South Seventh Street, near Main, for display purposes by the Gamble Stores.  The home, which provides four rooms, is being shown by the Gamble Stores by appointment.  Due to the housing shortage the homes are in wide demand in many parts of the country.  The University of Minnesota has purchased 48 of the homes in the 20 by 36 size.  These units were divided into two parts, each half accommodating two couples.  At Rochester, Minn., 100 units have been acquired to house the families of doctors and interns.  The homes are set up unfinished on the inside in order to make it possible for purchasers to finish the homes they like.  Also, the homes may be ordered with as many windows and doors as desired.  The homes had formerly been manufactured for the army.  The contract was cancelled at the end of the war, and the Gamble organization took it over.  The homes are made by a manufacturing concern near Minneapolis.  A home can be delivered in two and a half weeks after the order is placed.  




Raymond Sterwald family moving into:  Raymond Sterwald, Mrs. Sterwald, two Sterwald children




Sherman Products, located in the Richards hill section of the city, occupies a steel quonset hut type building, 216 by 40 feet.  Construction of the building began in September of 1946.  The building was sufficiently completed by January of 1947 to permit operations on a small scale.   The company manufactures steel stampings and assemblies






Margaret and Warren streets

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Watertown's Quonset dwelling units, the city's war-time emergency housing project, part of which is shown here, is to be closed Dec. 31, 1951, according to action approved by the city council.  Many of the units now need or will soon need repairs and it is felt that since they were to be only a war-time and immediate post-war program to meet the critical housing shortage, it will be better to close them at the end of next year.


This, the council feels, will give the tenants ample time to provide for other living quarters.  The recent rate of increase in new homes here, which is expected to continue this year and also into next year, is further proof that the time has come to close down the emergency project, the council reasoned.


The 13 dwellings have provided 26 apartments.  As of May 1 of this year 24 were occupied, two being empty.  Two of the quonsets are not included in the picture.


Tenants who will be affected by the council's action include the following families:


Marvin A. Reichert, Charles Koshelnick, Robert Dehnert, Donald Schnitger, Harry McKee, Clifford Steinbrink, Norden Krueger, all residing at addresses fronting on North Warren Street;


Lester Kuerschner, William Kehl, George Erdmann, Cyril Klecker, Alburn Blasing, Frank Fries, George Foskett, James Tester, Lawrence Schultz, Earl Kreitzmann, Roy Cutsforth, Leonard Kube, Mrs. Lorraine Kuehl, Kenneth Stephenson, Herman Parpart, H. R. Rowe, Jr., and Elmer Selves, Jr., all living in units fronting on Margaret Street.


Under the council's plan, the dwellings are to be removed as soon as possible after the Dec. 31, 1951 deadline.  The site then will revert to park purposes, it having been a Fifth ward playground and future park site at the time it was decided, to locate the Quonset units there as a temporary housing solution.




Although the city’s 26 dwelling units in the Quonset homes are to be closed at the end of 1951, under terms of a city council resolution, it was indicated today by city officials that, should the housing situation in Watertown warrant, as a result of the current war crisis, keeping the dwellings open longer the council undoubtedly would reconsider its action and adopt a new policy.  At present all of the dwelling units except one are occupied and there are applications pending for the occupancy of the one unoccupied dwelling.  The council in its vote some time ago fixed Dec. 31, 1951 as the date on which the units are to be closed.







-- --           QUONSET LOCATED AT 1033 N. FOURTH ST.





Cross References:

Three Quonset homes still standing:  E Spaulding St., Center St., Hwy A.



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History of Watertown, Wisconsin