ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


High School, Former, Main St

High School is the remodeled former School No. 1

plus the erection of a large addition on the south



   Image Portfolio 



The Ducasse building was the very first school in which high school subjects were taught.


High School was next in the rear part of the former Armory building.


Then it was moved to the then new Western Avenue School (later called Webster) with grade 6, 7, 8 on the first floor.


In 1898 the Armory was enlarged and High School moved there with two eighth grades on the first floor front.  There were the only eighth grades in Watertown until 1902.  Bertha Marquardt and then Mary Crangle were the teachers.  They had departmental work.


< Ducasse building, c1863, became high school    


The above picture [left] shows Watertown’s FIRST HIGH SCHOOL building. 

The school was located in a small frame building at North Fifth and Jones streets [417 Jones]. 


It was built by Justice Ducasse, who for many years was a police justice in early Watertown.  The first principal of the High School during the Civil War period was Professor Theodore Bernhard. 


It was in this school that the first text books in Wisconsin were issued. 


It was also during this period that a commercial course was offered to a high school class for the first time in the history of the state.  The building, later used as a restaurant and then as the residence of the late Herman Heinz, was subsequently razed.



09 09       Rollin L. Reed, Principal; Miss L. A. Rockwell, Assistant   WD


12 23       High School is a miserable structure . . . No effort towards the erection of a better, more commodious building   WD



10 12       Miss Susan Perry opened private school   WR





click to enlarge


Prof. Theodore Bernhard, the principal of this school, held a public examination last Monday at the Musical Association rooms, in Dennis’s Block, last Monday.  The exercises were conducted by the principal and his assistants.  About two hundred scholars, who have attended this school during the last six months, were present.  All, without exception, gave satisfactory evidence of the thorough drilling of which they have been subjected and exhibited a degree of proficiency in their several studies that reflected credit on themselves and on their teachers.  There were 30 or 40 boys, from 12 to 16 years old, who have been under the immediate instruction of Mr. Bernhard, of whom their teacher, as well as parents, may justly feel proud.  Many of them have not their superiors in this city for scholastic attainments.  Spectators must have been impressed with the success of Mr. Bernhard’s method of instruction, from the prompt and accurate manner in which his pupils answered the questions put to them during the exercises.  The German portion of our citizens may well feel a deep interest in sustaining this school.   WD


Early School Days Told by Old Resident


Pranks and Intellectual Feats Are Revealed

1936 article

The old-fashioned building at the corner of North Fifth and Jones streets was the first high school building in the city. 


The first principal of the school was Professor Theodore Bernhard, William Rohr was assistant.  Other teachers were Mrs. William Norris and Miss Cooley.  Among the pupils of the Civil war period or late in the 50's were Honorable W. F. Voss, C. H. Jacobi, Edward Racek, Louis Merkel, Henry Bertram, Charles Fuermann, Max Gaebler, John Mallaney, Mrs. A. J. Earling nee Peebles, Oscar Cole and Henry Peebles.


The following sketch was written by a former student [date of writing uncertain]:


"The quaint old Ducasse building, about 50 years ago, housed the beginning of our public high school.  The faculty consisted of Theodore Bernhard, William H. Rohr, Misses Vestey, Cooley and Merriam.  The studies were not as numerous as they are today, but the upper class did trigonometry and surveying and the pupils could recite history by the page, though they had never looked into a history book.  In those days people were too poor to buy many text books and the teachers were obliged to do real teaching.


"Professor Bernhard was a remarkably successful teacher.  When a pupil showed precocity in a certain direction, he would coach him on that line and develop an exhibition stunt for the public examination at the end of the year.  A merchant named Arnim offered prizes to the pupils at this examination and William Voss, fourteen years old, took the first prize with a remarkable geographical recitation, and Max Gaebler, twelve years old, did the Pythagoras theorem.  Professor Bernhard, to the end of his career, frequently would refer with much pride to these feats of his pupils.


"Schoolroom discipline was a little wild and woolly, and the rod was freely used.  Billy Beurhaus, a chunky lad, sat next to Oscar Cole, who was tall, and thin as a sliver.  Whenever there was mischief in their neighborhood, Billy would get a licking without much investigation, and was told to pass the surplus over to Oscar.  When the professor wrote on the blackboard, his back turned to the class, the boy who remained on his seat was considered not much of a "feller."  The alacrity with which they regained their seats was simply amazing.  Hugo Jacobi was the tallest boy in school and could run like a doe.  The game at recess usually was "pullaway," with Jacobi pitted against the whole crowd.  When stormy weather kept the boys indoors, it was not unusual to overturn the stove.  In fact, Jim Larkin acquired some reputation on that score and there seemed to be general disappointment when, sometimes, he did not rise to the occasion.


"Notwithstanding these ebullient excesses, considerate decorum was observed toward the girl pupils.  Some of these were very bright. 


"For the purpose of German dictation, the German pupils were always separated from the "English.”  A newcomer, John Mallaney, did not obey this order and kept his seat.  When the question was tartly asked whether he was German or English, he told the professor with much emphasis that he was an Irishman.


"The old building now looks very small.  But in those days, it seemed so very, very large."




This new school building – the largest and most commodious in our city – is so far finished that it is occupied for the purpose for which it was built today.  It is well furnished, divided into apartments of convenient size and well adapted for the accommodation of the classes that will attend there.  It is a decided credit to our city and supplies a want in our educational facilities that has long been felt.   WD



08 11       Watertown Seminary   WD




Watertown High School Orbit, 1920


From 1871 to 1873, two rooms on the upper floor of Union School, No. 1, later remodeled to make the High School on Main Street, accommodated a High School of two grades with one teacher for each grade, and an average attendance of seventy five - twenty nine boys and forty six girls.


The First, or highest grade, taught by Bernhard, occupied the room which was the west half of the second floor.  The heating system for the room consisted of a huge, drum topped box stove, behind which was a big pile of wood, and on the other side zinc-lined shuttered screens, regulated by those sitting nearest. Needless to say real comfort was somewhere midway between the stove and the outside walls. Along the west wall, tall wooden cupboards concealed such illustrative and experimental materials, such as mineralogical and geological specimens, cases of mounted insects, a planetarium, a tellurian, a centrifugal machine, a gyroscope, and electric friction machine, a Grove's battery, and an air pump. At the blackboards, which covered three sides of the room, frequently every bit of available space was occupied by eager pupils doing some assignment of Mr. Bernhard’s.  Over these blackboards hung numerous maps and charts:  in many studies these had to do the work of the free text books, which were not introduced until 1877.


Every operation at the blackboard was closely watched by Mr. Bernhard, who demanded thoroughness and exactness in everything.  In fact, no study was ever looked upon as finished, but could be brought up again when the least expected. All the branches were co-related; and-whenever a weak spot was discovered, the lesson under discussion was dropped until by means of drilling and numerous other examples in subjects that gave additional light, all had been made perfectly clear. And always the principles were the important things, rules and theorems, easily derived from them were secondary.


Thus, since it was general practice to have every branch well correlated and thoroughly revived, the program was, of necessity a very flexible one, and if at any, time during the day, interest seemed to flag, the lesson plan was never too rigid to permit a few songs, with Mr. Bernhard at the organ.


Taken as a whole, the course of study, as well as, the methods of teaching, aimed not to fit the pupils for some higher institution of learning, but to give them a "lucid perception of the general, natural and therefore necessary connection of all branches of knowledge, and of all those scientific facts and truths, which have a practical bearing upon moral, social, and civil life"  The knowledge imparted was to be "popular, but not superficial, selective, but not fragmentary." 


Besides the regular course of study, the high school also contained an incipient normal department, which was taken advantage of by a considerable number of non-residents, as well as those living in Watertown. This course included the studies required by the law of the state for obtaining first, second and third grade teachers' certificates.


The first graduates, twelve in number, passed their examinations in 1873 and received their diplomas a year or two later. But on this occasion there were no graduation gowns; in those days linsey-woolsey was the popular material for winter, and good strong calico for summer. There were no class colors, no class yell; there were really no graduation exercises. To the twelve graduates, standing near their benches, Mr. Bernhard made a few appropriate remarks, then he handed each his diploma. That was all.


The graduates were as follows:


Emma Griffith, (Mrs. Frank Powers), Chicago, Illinois.

Emma Charboneau, (Mrs. J. B. Murphy), Watertown, Wisconsin.

Jennie Ross, Cleveland, Ohio.

Albert Bellack, Columbus, Wisconsin.

Rosa Bernhard, died in 1886.

Anna Shillcox, (Mrs. Thomas L. Smith), Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Josephine Ruebhausen, (Mrs. C. F. Viebahn), Watertown, Wisconsin.

Ida C. Wilder, died in 1887.

Minnie Voss, ( Mrs. George France), died in 1898.

Addie Randall, (Mrs. James D. Baker), Eugene, Oregon.

Josie Kern, (Mrs. Paul Fontaine), Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    [ 11 are listed in Orbit article ]


Hope, enthusiasm, joy, and good will dominated the spirit of the class of 1873. Going to school was so great a delight that no weather was too inclement, no snowdrift too deep. Such was the enthusiasm for learning that many continued to go to school from one to three years after passing their final examinations, in order to take advantage of the ever broadening curriculum. Their inspirer, guide and friend, in praise of whom too much can hardly be said, was Theodore Bernhard, teacher and scholar, who for many years so ably and faithfully directed all educational matters in Watertown. His memory is held in the highest regard by all who had the good fortune to come under his personal instruction.





07 03       Exercises by high school students      WD



                Charles F. Viebahn appointed superintendent of schools and principal of High School     WDT




Watertown High School from 1881 to 1904

From 1913 High School Orbit

    (first Orbit published)

by Charles P. Viebahn

1866, First High School

Theodore Bernhard


In the summer of 1879, after the death of Theodore Bernhard, under whose principalship the Watertown High School had been established in 1866, and who had been its efficient head ever since, the board of education offered me the vacant position.  Being at that time bound by contract to the position I then held at Manitowoc I had to decline the offer.


In the fall of 1880, the position having again become vacant the board of education, supported by the urgent invitation of many citizens, again offered it to me.  I agreed to accept the position on condition that the school superintendency be combined with the high school principalship. My condition was accepted.


The duties of city superintendent of schools had hitherto combined what are now the duties of the clerk of the board of education with most of the administrative duties of the superintendent.


Rohr, W. H.


W. H. Rohr, who had held the office of superintendent before the change was made, was now appointed to the new position of clerk of the board of education. He had formerly been a successful teacher, and during the thirteen years I was associated with him in the administration of school affairs, he did much to lighten my work. His excellent qualities as an official have always been recognized.


I entered upon the duties of my position as superintendent and principal April 19, 1881 and continued to perform them until July 1, 1904.  I am requested to give a brief account of our high school during these 23 years.



High School part of

Union School No. 1 (Main St)


In 1881 the home of the high school was in what was then called Union School No. 1, now a part of the high school building.  It occupied only two rooms on the upper floor of that building.  As the attendance increased and more room was needed for the lower grades, the boards of education in 1883 determined to erect a new building.


1881 definition of

High School

In 1881 the term high school did not mean exactly what it meant in 1904.


Formerly the eighth grade was a grade of the high school. In 1884 it was made one of the grammar grades.


Formerly the school year was divided into three terms of instruction, beginning with the spring term at the end of the Easter vacation. Since 1888 the school term has been divided into semesters and the year of instruction was made to end in June. This was one of the most difficult chances to make, because it interfered with an old German custom. For some years the fourth year high school class existed during the spring term only, the regular annual promotions taking place at Easter and the commencement exercises in June.


It was our aim not to allow the high school to constitute an entirely separate institution. To indicate this it was determined not to use the college terms freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, but in order to show their relation to the grades, to use the term ninth grade, tenth grade, eleventh grade and twelfth grade. But this effort proved an utter failure. The boys and girls persisted in using the college terms.


Only two courses of study were followed in the high school, the general science course and the modern classical course. There were some optional studies - bookkeeping, commercial arithmetic, drawing, and later, shorthand and typing.  But we could not teach all the subjects that should have been taught, nor divide up our classes to the best advantage because our teaching force was too small. The principal, who should have had the opportunity to give most of his time to supervision, generally had to teach five or six classes a day.


Most of the teachers employed during these years were interested in their work and did good service. When it was found to be desirable that shorthand be taught, one of the teachers devoted his summer vacation to the study of this art, and in the fall he was prepared to teach a large class in shorthand. 


In 1881 and during a few years that followed, the high school had no supplementary or extra literary reading matter. The school library contained a few good books for references, but no books to speak of that boys and girls would care to take home to read.


All this has since changed for the better; classical reading matter has been supplied, the school library has been supplied with many good books, and the pupils have been given the advantage of using the public library.


The natural sciences had been given a prominent place on the course of study, but the apparatus provided was insufficient for the proper teaching of physics and chemistry. As it is easier to supply the most necessary apparatus and material for the teaching of chemistry than for the teaching of physics, the former was for a time made the more prominent study.


The number of assistant teachers required for the high school during these years, was as follows: 1881, one assistant; 1882, two; I884, three; 1893, four; 1902, five; 1903, an additional teacher to teach drawing two weeks each month.




      The 1883 construction of the building, later known as the Webster School, the rooms on (the) upper floor of which were assigned to the high school, and those on the lower floor to grammar grades.


06 27       CONTRACT LET

Last week the board of education entered into a contract with C. Schmutzler for the erection of the First Ward School building at the sum of $14,500, this being $100 lower than the bid of J. Trumbull of Whitewater.  The bid of W. Quentmeyer, although lower in price, was not satisfactory to the Board in certain requirements such as binding the board to advance money for material on the ground, etc.  Mr. Schmutzler binds himself to have the building under roof and windows in it by December 1, and fully completed by July 1, next.   WR



Public schools closed this week.  Friday the graduation of the high school will be held at Union School No. 1, with the graduating exercises and presentation of diplomas.  Eight scholars will graduate.  On Saturday all the public schools of the city will hold a grand picnic on Concordia Island.  The scholars and teachers will move in procession to the picnic grounds at one o'clock p.m.  WR


07 04       The ground is expected to be broken this week by Mr. Schmutzler for the erection of the new First Ward School and the work proceeded with as rapidly as possible.   WR



Editorial  /  Watertown Gazette, 07 13 1883


Many of our citizens seem to be dissatisfied with the action of the School Board in concluding to build another school house, claiming that the present school accommodations are sufficient to meet the requirements of the number of children here, believing that the expenditure of so many thousands could be far better utilized.  Among the many reasons brought forward in support of their claim are the following:


In case of fire, Union School No. 1 is badly provided for, sufficient water not being obtainable in that locality to quench an ordinary blaze, although a cistern was sunk there for that purpose, but of a kind that is almost useless.  A few hundred dollars might be well expended for the purpose of remedying this.



Others want a bridge across the river at the foot of Washington Street on the west side, it deemed of far greater importance and necessity than the erection of another school house at the present time. 


Still other portions of our citizens consider the necessity of providing a suitable "lock-up" and a better and safer building than that now used by the Pioneer Fire Co., for the use of the company. 


We might use a whole column in giving the different views of the citizens of Watertown on this subject, but believe the above sufficient to show what the sentiment is in the matter. 


It is our opinion that a new school is not an absolute necessity and the money expended in it is needed more for other purposes.  We do not condemn the School Board for the course taken by it.  We believe that it has acted conscientiously, and the money expended will be well invested.


1885       GOSLING

The earliest use of the wordgosling” when referring to Watertown high school students.


1886       UNION SCHOOL No. 1, Grade School




Before 1897 this was Union School No. 1.  In 1897 it became the high school.  That is why there are young children in the image.


The Watertown High School, located on the north side of Main Street, between Seventh and Eighth streets.  Note Wesley Methodist Church in the distance on the far left.  This image dates to about 1895.  The high school was located here until 1917, when it moved to South Eighth St.  Structure became the Watertown Armory and still later the Youth Activity Center (YAC).  It was torn down in the late 1960s and the Welcome Inn was constructed on this site.  Today the site of the Heritage Inn Hotel.


--------   The average salary paid in 1887, including high school teachers, was $45 per month; in 1908 it was $60.50

--------   1887 high school had four teachers, including the superintendent; in 1908 it had nine, including the superintendent








The steam-heating apparatus is being put into the high school building-—a fine improvement.     WR




      S. Fifth St. and Western Ave.

Constructed in 1883 as Watertown High School.  Became Webster grade school in early 1910’s.  Demolished in 1957.  Today site of Trinity-St. Luke’s Lutheran School.




Arbor Day was appropriately observed by the public schools of Watertown last Friday.  The exercises consisted of recitals, singing, tree planting, etc.  At the High School a tree was planted in honor of the 12th grade of 1891, at the planting of which Bertha Habhegger recited "We Plant This Tree,” and Supt. Viehahn addressed the scholars in language that was very appropriate to the occasion.       WG




Joseph E. Davies a member of the class



    Joe Davies' High School Classmates 'Saved His Head' at Graduation

        by Louise Marston, Society Editor, Wisconsin State Journal 18 May 1958


This is an interesting little anecdote about the late Joseph E. Davies, the Wisconsin-born lawyer who rose to great heights, politically and socially, in Washington, D. C.  Mr. Davies died May 9 in Washington at the age of 81.  He was ambassador to Russia during World War II and was a special envoy for Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.  A graduate of the University of Wisconsin.  Mr. Davies also was considered one of the leading attorneys in the nation's capital.


This little story about Joe Davies was told to me by Miss Hilda Volkmann, 1010 E. Gorham St., who spent her youth In Watertown, Mr. Davies' hometown, and knew him well.  Miss Volkmann said that when she was in grade school and Joe Davies was a senior in the Watertown High School [Davies graduated from Watertown High in 1894 as valedictorian of his class], he had a severe case of typhoid fever and lost every hair on his head.  Out of deference to their temporarily bald classmate, the other senior boys voted to wear mortar boards on their heads for the graduation exercises, a dramatic and bold gesture as Watertown had never had them previously.  "It was the talk of the town, the kind gesture on the part of the boys and it made such an impression on us younger children," says Miss Volkmann.  Later on Mr. Davies' aunt lived with Miss Volkmann's family for seven years so that Miss Volkmann heard his name as a daily byword.  The aunt died many years ago in San Diego, Calif., in her late 90s.



The students of the high school have secured Professor Wescott for lectures at the Concordia Opera house, tomorrow afternoon and evening, on China, Korea and Japan, graphically illustrated with 100 colored stereopticon views, each 15X15 feet in size.  This entertainment will no doubt prove very interesting, in view of the recent war disturbances in these countries.  The hour for the matinee lecture is 4 o’clock; evening 8 o’clock. Admission – adults 25 cents; children 10 cents.   WR




Again, with the advent of this beautiful month of roses, "commencements" become prevalent in all the various institutions of learning throughout the land.  The sweet senior, in her dainty toilette, and the proud young gentleman graduate, once more claim their share of public attention, while the annual quota of graduates is again sent forth from their beloved alma maters into the busy world of practical life.  WR


Watertown, from its representative seat of learning, the high school, sends forth its representation in the class of '95, the last recitation having been held and the last examination having been passed on Friday of last week.




Emeline Runkie, Jennie Sproesser Rohr, Jennie Melzer Faber, Marie Iffland, Arthur Pohlman, Myrtle Huber, Gertrude Malloy, Fred Downing, Amanda Kabot, Alvina Brennecke, Frank Lounsbury, Lydia Broenneman Wertheimer, Helen Racek, Susan Kall, Marie Killian, Ernst Buending, Emma Kelly, Hedwig Hoerman Melzer




A picture containing text

Description automatically generated     700 East Main St.

Miss Ida Kopp, teacher



A picture containing sky, outdoor, tree, track

Description automatically generated     north side of Main Street, between Seventh and Eighth.  Became High School in 1897.



1898        Union School No. 1

05 11       Last evening the Board of Education considered the proposals offered for the remodeling and enlarging of the School No. 1 into a high school.  The bids were in the main made on different branches of the work, only one bid being received for the entire contract.  Work is expected to begin next week and the building will be pushed to completion by September 15.  The total amount of the contracts let figures about $10,800.   WR




In 1898 additional room was provided by building an addition to Union School No. 1.  The part added is the present assembly room of the high school, with its cloak rooms and the rooms on the first floor directly below.  Alterations were also made in the basement and other parts of the building.  A room for manual training was provided. 


The enrollment of pupils of the high school in 1881 was fifty-two.  In 1878, under the principalship of Mr. Bernard, it had reached 145.  In 1904 it was 215.


Increased attendance in the high school is due to several causes.  Among these the following may be mentioned:


1. Increase in wealth. There are more people now in our city who can afford to give their children a secondary education than there were formerly.


2. Higher appreciation of the value of high school education. Formerly most of our citizens held the opinion that an elementary education is sufficient for all except the few that want to prepare for a learned profession. This notion is slowly changing.


3. The course of study has been extended and made to contain more subjects which most people regard as of more practical value than the usual staple subject of the ordinary high school course.


4. More teachers are employed. This permits the assignment of each to the branches which he can teach best.


5. Occasionally, the too rapid promotion of pupils and admitting them to the high school before they are properly prepared for it.



The new high school building will be open for inspection to the citizens of Watertown on Monday, January 2, from the hours of one to four in the afternoon.  School commissioners and teachers will be present to receive all visitors.  By order of the Board of Education.  /  C. F. Viebahn, Supt. of Schools.    WR



1898, Union School No 1, Weltberger drawing, 03 19 1898, WHS_005_923




Monday evening the Board of Education accepted the plans offered by Claude & Starck, architects of Madison, for the reconstruction and enlargement of School No. 1, on Main Street.  The board for some time has had the matter of providing more school room under consideration, the scheme being to erect an addition to the above building and change the present arrangement so that it will be suitable for high school purposes.


Besides the grades of the latter school the two eighth grades will also be located there.  The addition is to be elected on the south side of the old building.  It will be two stories high and 50x68 feet in size. The estimated cost is $10,000.  Work will he begun as soon as the plans and specifications are completed and the contracts let, and it is to be ready for occupancy next September.  Under the new order of things the present high school is to become a district school containing seven grades.      The Watertown Republican, 03 09 1898



The board of education has appointed Miss Nellie Shinnick of the town of Watertown to the new position created on the high school staff, at a salary of $55 per month.  She has been pursuing a course of study at the Oshkosh Normal.   WR


08 03       A special term of school for the pupils of the high school and eighth grades will be opened at the present high school building, on Monday, August 15, and continued two weeks.  The regular work for the year will be begun.  There will also be reviews from the common branches, and instruction for students preparing to teach.  The regular fall term for the high school and eighth grade will probably not begin October.  For the other grades school will open September 5.   WR


10 05       The contractors of the new high school building promise to have it ready for occupancy on Monday, October 17, which date has been set for the opening of the fall term of the high school and eighth grades.   WR


10 19       School will open in the new High School building next Monday.  All eighth grade and high school pupils should try to be present on the first day.  Non-resident pupils will be received on the payment of a tuition fee of $2 a month.  All pupils are furnished with textbooks for use, free of charge.  The increased number of teachers will enable the High School to offer more extended and varied instruction hereafter than hitherto.  To suit all classes of students various courses will be provided:  Modern classical, scientific, English, commercial, etc.  Students who wish to prepare for teaching will receive all needed attention.   WR


10 26       School opened in the new high school building Monday morning and the pupils of the high school and eighth grades are now enjoying the conveniences and comforts of this fine structure.  The new school is the result of the remodeling of former School No. 1 and the erection of a large edition on the south.  Its location on Main Street between Seventh and Eighth, is very sightly.  The building is of brick and one of the most noticeable features is the splendid light afforded during the day by the multitude of windows.  Gas for night lighting is furnished throughout.  There are two entrances, one on the south---the main one---and the other on the east.  The main entrance, with its large portico and Corinthian columns presents a most substantial and handsome appearance.   Upon entering the building a person is at once impressed with the spacious corridors and the wide, easy stairways.  It seems that the design of the architect was to afford above all else convenience, comfort and safety.  Two stories and a basement comprise the building.  The interior woodwork is entirely of Georgia pine.  The building proper cost in the neighborhood of $11,000 and the system of heating and ventilation an additional $2,000.   WR



07 28       FREE CLASSES

During the month of August, Supt. Viebahn will give instructions free of charge, to all high school students who may need and desire help in any one branch.  Those who wish to avail themselves of this opportunity will come to the high school next Monday at 9 a.m.   WG




Tillie Hagemann, Clara Miller nee Boettcher, Cornelia Nowack nee Brennecke, Zayda Grube, William Marquardt, Amy Ziegelman nee Nickels, Catherine Zimmerman nee Hall, Alma Kirchoff, Minna Miller nee Weber, Leona Steinmann, Morgan Throne, Laura Terwedo nee Schemmel, French Fuller, Louise Pautz nee Jaeger.


07 04       GRADUATION OF CLASS OF 1899

Amid flowers and greenery and tasteful decorations the class of '99 was graduated from the Watertown High School last Friday evening, the exercises being held in Turner Opera House before a large and appreciative audience.  Sixteen young ladies and gentlemen composed the class.  The idea of the decorations was carried out in red and white, the class colors, the front of the stage being festooned with bunting of those colors, while a border of white daisies forced a crest of the bunting, large palms swayed on the sides, and bouquets of red flowers interspersed the other embellishments, the whole forming a very tasteful picture.


The superintendent of schools Prof C. F Viebahn conducted the exercises and made a brief address in presenting the class, wherein he alluded to the value of a high school education and the beneficial results accruing from the association with good books, which such education fits one for.  Prof. Viebahn complimented the class on its uniformly meritorious work while under his tutelage, and said that, notwithstanding each member had prepared an essay, only a portion of them could be assigned places on the program.    WR


07 04       RECEPTION FOR CLASS OF 1899

After the graduating exercises Friday evening Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Whiting tendered a reception to the high school class of '99, their teachers and those who assisted in the musical portion of the program, at their home on Washington Street.  Light refreshments were served and a pleasant hour passed in social intercourse.    WR



One of the most successful reunions of the Watertown High School Alumni association was the eleventh annual, held Saturday evening at the Concordia Opera house.  Nearly 150 members were present and a delightful evening was passed in the enjoyment of the excellent program and in the recounting of old school day happenings . . . The program included the two-act farce, "A Box of Monkey's," the banquet, during which several toasts were responded to, and dancing.  Music was provided by the Blaesius string quartette during the entire evening.  WR



06 26       COMMENCEMENT

The class of 1900 was graduated from the Watertown high school last Thursday evening, the exercises taking place in Turner Opera house before a large and appreciative audience.  To the strains of an inspiring march played by the Amateur Musical club, the class, numbering nineteen, with the sterner sex, for once, predominating, filed onto the stage and seated themselves in a semi-circle, their teachers and the board of education occupying the places in the rear.  The stage was banked with palms and other potted plants, and the class colors—gold and blue—were effectively embodied in a pretty floral design, which depended (sic) from the flies.  A large American flag, tastily draped, hung in the background.  WR



The tickets and circular of instructions for the lecture course at the high school this winter has now been mailed to the public of Watertown, and we hope that each recipient will read the instructions carefully.  Prof. Pyre is a great favorite wherever he has lectured.  He has a pleasing manner and knows how to make his lectures very entertaining.  The course promises to be one of the finest and most instructing ever given in this city.  Prof. Pyre being a finished elocutionist recites poetry beautifully and will and enliven his lectures by copious recitations from the famous American authors.  The price of admission for the entire course of six lectures will be only 75 cents.    WG



-- --           “DO YOU REMEMBER?”

          Commemorative framed picture, 5”x7.5”

“Do you remember, long, long, ago, stand me in the corner, long, long ago”

Professor Theodore Bernhard and early High School on East Main St.




            deems school athletics and debates detrimental




At the meeting of city school superintendents and supervising principals, held in connection with the state teachers’ convention in Milwaukee last week, A. J. Whiting, assistant principal of the Watertown high school, took a decided stand against the custom of holding interscholastic debates and athletic meets, which has grown so popular among high schools in recent years.


Mr. Whiting’s ideas were clearly brought out in a paper which he read before the meeting, the same causing a very lively discussion and forming the most spirited and interesting feature of the day’s program.  The prevailing feeling among the superintendents and principals was apparently strongly opposed to Mr. Whiting’s stand.


The speaker started out with the statement that interscholastic contests will remain in vogue “until something else comes equally well adapted to satisfy ambitious teachers and restless pupils,” and he regretted that such restlessness was apparently gaining a foothold.


Public sentiment, he said, was so favorable to such contests, that the opponent is apt to call forth criticism; though in spite of this fact it would be his aim to show that they were detrimental to the cause of education, and were unwise and unprofitable.


In regard to intellectual contests - debates and declamations—Mr. Whiting maintained that the selection of contestants gave rise to disappointments and jealousies; they likewise had the effect of filling the fortunate victors with an undue sense of false pride and conceit; while the contest itself stirs the partisans to a pitch of excitement which he considered far from beneficial.


In reference to the scene at the contest Mr. Whiting said “the hideous bawling and senseless yelling of the irrepressible and irresponsible mob make life a burden to the sensitive and the refined who believe that education should add dignity and grace to the genus homo, instead of making him more like a rampant, roaring, bellowing beast of the jungle.”


The dangers of faculty coaching and a tendency to devote too much time to preparation were touched upon also. 


The speaker’s objections to the intellectual contests be likewise applied, to the athletic.  He believed in athletic training, he said, but opposed interscholastic contests.  The latter, he maintained, “consume time, energy, interest and money wholly disproportionate to their importance; interfere with proper mental and moral training; directly minister to many vices and apparently tend toward a moral decadence similar to that which characterized ancient Rome.”


The betting feature was used as an argument against the game.  Mr. Whiting said in conclusion: “Put before your minds the most violent forms of interscholastic contests you have witnessed, with the attendant betting and dissipation, and with the determination evident, sometimes even expressed, to win or kill.  Tell me whether we who condemn the degrading scenes of the cockpit and the brutal spectacle of the prize fight, are not countenancing and encouraging something which differs from these only in degree, not in kind?”     The Watertown Republican, 02 Jan 1901



The exercises of the graduating class of the High School took place at Turner Opera House on Thursday evening June 20th, 1901.  The house was filled to its full capacity, principally by representatives of all the best elements of the community, who attended for the sake of hearing and enjoying the program which had been prepared for the occasion.  As usual, however, the senseless persons who are the bane of every public gathering were on hand to disgrace themselves and annoy all the others by their persistent laughing and talking.  It is to be borne in mind that all the speakers on the program had been trained to speak clearly and distinctly and every one of them would have been perfectly heard but for the noise and confusion produced by these senseless and selfish public nuisances.  How long Watertown audiences will submit to being harassed by these pestiferous persons remains to be seen.  We suggest that the mayor issue a proclamation of warning to these incorrigibles and that he detail a special police force with full powers to forcibly eject such persons, and that these officers be stationed in various parts of the house at every public gathering and directed to use their authority without fear or favor, to the end that decent people may enjoy their civic rights in public places.   WG



Watertown High School Alumni Association


[same date]  The commencement season in Watertown closed on Friday evening, June 28, with the thirteenth annual reunion of the Watertown High School Alumni Association.  As usual the meeting took place at Concordia Opera House, where about one hundred and twenty-five graduates, with a few invited friends from out of town, met to renew their acquaintance and to enjoy the good things prepared by the committee of arrangements.


The lower hall had been tastefully arranged and decorated as a reception room, where Dr. N. A. Barber, Miss Anna Habhegger and Miss Else Wiggenhorn received the guests.  At nine o’clock the banquet was announced.  This was served in the upper hall, which was also decorated in red and white, the class colors of the class of 1901.  Girls of the high school class of 1902 acted as waiters.





Chicken Croquettes

Creamed Potatoes

Green Peas


Bread and Butter.

Fruit Salad

Cheese Wafers

Ice Cream

Assorted Cake

Salted Nuts


Peppermint Wafers


The banquet over, Miss Kittie Williams of the class of 1891, as toastmistress, announced that our unlucky anniversary had arrived, and that the first piece of sad luck was the absence of Mrs. Kading, who was first upon the list of post-prandial speakers with the subject “Woman’s Possibilities.”  As Mrs. Kading is practicing law in Watertown, much interest centered in her subject and all regretted her enforced absence.


The other toasts were as follows: “Ideals” responded to by Miss Emma Shakshaskv, 1896; “The Ladies,” responded to by Lewis Parks, 1900, “Our Unlucky Anniversary” responded to by Miss May Kelly; “Reminiscenses” responded to by Prof. M. H. Jackson.


All the responses were replete with “sayings wise and otherwise,” and were received with hearty applause.  Prof. Jackson in particular, struck a responsive chord in many hearts, due to his former pleasant connection with the schools of Watertown.


One number on the program was the song “May Morning,” which was delightfully rendered by Miss Lula Bertram of the class of 1897, who also “responded” to an enthusiastic encore.


Following the toasts a short business meeting was held, after which the association listened to a two-act comedy entitled “Mr. Bob,” presented by the following casts of local talent, the picture of each participant appearing below:


Philip Rovson . . . . . John W. Schempf


Robert Brown, Clerk of Benson & Benson . . . . Daniel Throne


Jenkins, Miss Rebecca’s Butler . . . . Jno. Chapman


Rebecca Luke, Spinster . . . Elizabeth Throne


Katherine Rogers, her Niece  . . . . . Blanche Webb


Marion Bryant, Katherine’s Friend . . . . Gertrude Malloy


Patty, Miss Rebecca’s Maid . . . . . Mrs. W. J. Lee


The play was replete with humor and ludicrous incidents and was given with marked dramatic ability and excellent effect.


Thus ended one of the most successful and enjoyable reunions of the society.  Notwithstanding the oppressive hot weather, all felt that a most pleasant and profitable evening had been spent.  There was indeed a single note of regret heard among the older members — regret that so many of the olden time were absent. 



At a meeting of the Board Education held last Wednesday evening, Miss Marie Killian was transferred from 5th grade, No. 4 to the position of high school teacher, at a salary of $40 a month, leaving a vacancy in the 5th grade in that building, which will be filled at the next meeting of the School Board.   WG



The fall term of the public schools, except school No. 3, will open on Tuesday, September 3.  Examinations will be held as follows: For admission to seventh and eighth grades, Thursday, Augusts 29.  For admission to high school, Friday, August 30.  For removal of conditions of high school students, Saturday, August 31.  All these examinations will be held in room 2 of the high school building and will begin each day at 9 a. m.  Applicants for admission to the high school are requested to bring with them and submit any certificates of standings which they may have.  Such certificates will help to ascertain fitness, but no one will be admitted without at least some examination.



Superintendent of Schools.   WG



(same date) Four school buildings will hereafter be used in this city for public school purposes.  School No. 1, in the 2d ward, school No. 2 in the 4h ward, school No. 3 in the 6th ward, and school No. 4 in 1st ward.


School No. 1 will hereafter be used for 8th grade and high school classes exclusively.



Miss Ellen Sullivan, who was elected by the board of education a few weeks ago to the position of teacher of biology, physiology and physical geography at the high school, has received an offer from the board of education of Cleveland, O., for the position of teacher of biology in the Cleveland high school.  Miss Sullivan has decided not to accept the offer, and will retain her position in this city.  Miss Sullivan is a graduate of Cornell and received one of the two highest scholarship prizes awarded by the university. — [Fond du Lac items in Milwaukee Evening Wisconsin of Sept. 16, 1901.]


Miss Sullivan’s home is in the town of Clyman, and she is well known in Watertown.  At one time this summer it was thought she would apply for a position in our high school, but it appears the wages offered was not inducement enough for her.    WG


10 11       NIGHT SCHOOL

At a meeting of the Board of Education held last Tuesday evening it was decided to hold a public night school, to which all boys and girls of this city over 15 years of age are admitted free.  School will be held two nights a week for five months, beginning Monday evening, October 21,1901.  Messers. Viebahn, Whiting and Muenich will be the instructors.  This will be one of the best night schools ever held in the city and all young men and ladies who possibly can should take advantage of it    WG


10 18       NIGHT SCHOOL, more on

The night school which will open next Monday evening at the high school will give an excellent opportunity for young people over 15 years of age to improve their education.  The principal branches to be taught are bookkeeping, arithmetic and English.  The students will be so classified that all may be given the work and the instructions for which they are prepared.  The school is, however, not intended for children who ought to attend a day school.  A night school that is held but two times a week can do little or nothing for children that have not yet mastered the first rudiments of reading, spelling and arithmetic.  If it is warranted by the attendance, the school will be continued for five months.  There will be two sessions a week, probably on Mondays and Thursdays.  All who attend the school will be expected to do some work at home in preparing tasks and lessons assigned.  No one should attend this school who is not willing to study and to attend punctually and regularly.


Judging from the character of the students already enrolled the prospects for a successful night school is most excellent.  The school is for girls as well as for boys.    WG




The teachers and prospective teachers of Dodge and Jefferson counties will be given an opportunity to attend a summer school to be held in this city at the High school building July 7th, to August 1st.  There has long been a desire on the part of many teachers of these two counties to have a summer school located at some central point such as Watertown, and to have the work of instruction such as will best prepare them for the county teachers’ examinations.  This school is organized to meet these demands.  The course of study will include all the old as well as new branches required for the three grades of teacher certificates.  No attempt will be made to give systematic professional training, as that will be the function of the summer institutes to follow.  The school will also afford high school students an excellent opportunity for academic review of common and high school branches.  Students intending to write for certificates in Jefferson County will be given an opportunity to do so on the last day of the session.


-- --           CLASS OF 1902

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A monkey belonging to Seibel Bros, pony and dog show created quite a little amusement for pupils at the high school building and residents adjacent to the training quarters in North Eighth Street Thursday morning.  “Casey” with its mate escaped from a barn basement where they are kept but the latter was rescued before it reached the street.  “Casey” however made good his escape and took up quarters in one of the trees in the school house yard nearby.  He refused all tempting offers to come down and evidently enjoyed his protected position until a number of boys with the aid of a long ladder drove him from his perch.  He nimbly jumped from branch to branch and from tree to tree until he was finally cornered when he leaped to the ground, a distance of twenty feet and was driven to the training quarters where he was captured. In the meantime, a large crowd was present to watch the proceedings, which “Casey” evidently enjoyed.  The animal is 36 inches high when on his haunches and is yet comparatively in his wild condition.  It required 75 minutes time and assistance of half a dozen persons to secure him.



06 28       COMMENCEMENT

A very large audience greeted the class of 1904 of the high school at its graduating exercises held at Turner Opera House on the evening of the 23rd instant.  Every seat in the house, including the galleries, had been reserved and assigned upon application to friends of the graduates, students of the upper classes of the public schools and citizens generally.  Some who had not been able to obtain seats found standing room in the aisles and doorways.  As usual the stage had been tastefully decorated by the junior class, aided by the teachers, the decorations consisting of palms, wild ferns and masses of ox-eye daisies, together with liberal quantities of gold and white bunting hung in festoons below the foot-lights and above the platform.


Unfortunately, just as the exercises were about to begin, the electric lights were extinguished, delaying the opening for half an hour.  Finally a few gas jets were lighted, a few lamps brought in, and at 8:45 Supt. C. F. Viebahn announced that owing to the delay there would be a change in the program.  He stated that the instrumental duets would be deferred until more lights could be obtained, and that his own address would be omitted, and the exercises would open with a history of the class of 1904 by Josephine Voss.  This exercise proved to be an enjoyable “give-away,” combining history with prophesy in a humorous vein, the individuals being dealt with better understood and appreciated by the class than by the general public.  Miss Voss’ number was a decided success.




At a regular meeting of the board of education a matter of considerable importance was disposed of.  It was the adoption of a report favorable to the establishment of a night school in the high school building for the benefit of the young men and young ladies of the city who are unable to attend the day schools by reason of the fact that they are employed in the factories or otherwise engaged in earning a livelihood.  Chairman Voss said they [the committee on teachers and instruction] was not overly sanguine as the experiment had been tried here in the past without success.  They were willing however to risk the venture, realizing that there were more young ladies and young gentlemen in the city than there were then.  The report stated that the members of the committee had taken the matter up with the superintendent of schools and three of the assistants of the high school and they had concluded to recommend the holding and maintaining of such an evening school.  They recommended that it be held in the high school building for a term of four months, commencing Thursday, Nov. 15, 1906, instructions to be given twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays.  It was further recommended that the male teachers of the high school be employed at a compensatory salary . . .



The night school opened at the high school building last evening under quite favorable circumstances.  The attendance, however, was not as large as was expected, at least by some of the members of the board of education which authorized the opening of the school at its last meeting.  One of the members of the board last evening when informed by a Leader representative that the enrollment was twenty-nine, expressed surprise and said he thought it would be at least fifty.  . . . Superintendent Roseman also thought there would be a larger enrollment ... He is of the opinion that the attendance will increase, especially when it becomes known and the fact of the benefits becomes appreciated. It should not, however take coaxing or persuasion to increase the number of students. There are many young men seen nightly loafing on the street corners and young ladies gadding the streets who would do well to take advantage of this opportunity . . .



The public night school has closed for the holiday season.  The new feature in the public educational institution of our city will reopen on Thursday evening, Jan. 3rd.  The night school has proven a great success and many of the young people of the city who are engaged in earning a livelihood in factories, stores and offices are taking advantage of this excellent means of adding to their store of knowledge.  Superintendent Roseman and the teachers in charge are well pleased with the success of the school thus far.  Even some of the members of the board of education who were opposed, in a way, to the school, now realize that no mistake was made in launching this new department . . . Those who have attended thus far have expressed their intention of returning at the reopening and it is more than probably that several new students will be enrolled.  This is a rare opportunity and there should be many more in a position to reap the benefits.



        Graduation Class



----            THESPIANS



06 18       Commencement   WL


06 27       HIGH SCHOOL PLAY

To use the phraseology of the theatrical people, the seniors of the Watertown High School held the boards at the Turner Opera House last evening, presenting their class play, "All On Account of the Professor."  The young people not only "held the boards", but they held the rapt attention of their audience which fairly packed the hall.  The young folks acquitted themselves in a very credible manner and that their work was appreciated was amply evidenced in the generous applause which came with frequency.


It was no doubt the means of giving permanency to high school class plays in Watertown and it is safe to predict that hereafter it will be an annual event to which each senior class will look forward to with great expectancy, as will also be the case with friends and patrons of this local institution of learning.  Each member of the cast carried out their respective parts without a hitch and in a manner that reflected great credit upon the senior class of 1908.   WL


09 11       Re-shingling portion of the High School; L. Wright manual training teacher; Eighth grade transferred to School No. 4.


11 13       Playgrounds proposed for vacant lots; later site for High School   WG



01 22       Webster Debating Society officers elected   WG


01 22       Manual training and drawing, new dept   WG


07 02       Commencement exercises, 42 grads   WG


07 02       Last Monday evening there was a large attendance at the 21st annual reunion of the Watertown High School Alumni Association . . .    WG


08 20       Ratio maintained pupils and assistants   WG


08 27       Mechanical drawing sets   WG






01 21       Mrs. Gordon E. Bacon entertained teachers and her Latin class   WG


01 22       Manual training and drawing, new dept   WG


01 29       Junior Prom for Seniors    WG


03 11       Boys' and girls’ declamatory contests   WG


03 11       Inter-class basketball games at the Turner   WG


03 25       Thieves enter High School   WG


04 22       Prof. B. E. McCormick, first assistant principal, resignation   WG


04 29       Class honors for the year   WG


06 10       Senior class play    WG


06 17       Debate on immigration laws    WG


06 24       Commencement   WG


06 24       Condition of High School    WG


07 01       Twenty-second annual reunion of High School   WG




06 21       “TAKEN JUNE 21, 1910, AT 5:00 AM / JUNIORS + FRESHMEN”

          Juniors would be class of 1911



1910 approx, postcard


1910, later Armory, postcard



1911, later Armory, [PC_136]




The High School debate at the High School building last Friday night was a very interesting affair, the question under debate being State Ownership of Water Power in Wisconsin.  The Watertown team, composed of Peter Brooks, Philip Quentmeyer and George Lewandowski had the affirmative side of the question and the Beaver Dam team had the negative.  Wm. F. Voss of this city presided at the meeting and I. O. Hubbard, principal of the Fond du Lac High school, David Bogue, attorney of Portage, and A. M. Jones, principal of the Lake Mills school, officiated as judges.  The judges decided two in favor of Beaver Dam and one in favor of Watertown.   WG



Mr. James Moore, President of Board of Education, Watertown, Wisconsin

Dear Sir:

I am in receipt of the report of Inspectors Terry and Borden of their visit to your High School on March 7th.


The report as a whole is very favorable, especially considering the number of pupils per teacher, and the inspectors give the school a good ranking among the high schools of the state.


The discipline and general attitude were excellent and the recitations were well conducted by the teachers, though in some cases there did not seem to have been a rigid enough insistence upon thorough preparation by the students of the assigned lessons.  Apparently, if there is any special problem in the school it is that of securing harder study on the part of the considerable number of the pupils.  With the excellent management and the strong force of teachers which the school has at present this more rigid insistence upon the proper amount of work by the pupils should not be difficult.


This and various other matters relating to school work were fully discussed in a faculty meeting held after school.


The equipment and janitor service are satisfactory.


The inspectors note a large increase in the enrollment since the last visit.  It has now reached what should be considered the extreme limit for the number of teachers.  With an average of over 30 pupils per teacher it is self-evident that the teachers must be overburdened with work and that it is impossible to meet the needs of individual pupils or of the school as a whole in a thoroughly efficient degree.


The building, too, as you are no doubt fully aware, is too small for so large a school.


I sincerely hope that you will seriously consider both of these questions and that you can see your way clear to increase the number of teachers this year if possible — if not, than certainly next year — and also that provision can be made for adequate accommodations in the near future.


The growth of your school is very gratifying and indicates an excellent sentiment toward education in your community, but it should be remembered that it also brings added responsibility in the matter of providing increased facilities if a high standard of work is to be maintained.


Assuring you of my interest in the success of your school, I remain,


Very truly yours

C. P. Carey, State Superintendent   WG


       Class of 1911, 50 year reunion, 1961.   Watertown Historical Society Collection




High School crowding; public school enrollment; Webster School

The enrollment this year [school year ending June 23, 1911] shows an increase of 1 pupil over that of 1910.  The total enrollment this year is 1231, and last year it was 1230.  This shows that the school population in our city is not increasing very rapidly.  Our records show that a greater number of school children left the city during the past year than entered.


The enrollment in the high school reached 311 this year, which is 91 more than the seating capacity of the assembly room.  This congested condition was handled by having those who lived within three blocks of the building report for recitation only, and by assigning the balance of the overflow seats in the library, laboratory, and two recitation rooms on the first floor . . .


In my opinion, the heating and ventilating scheme to be installed in Webster School is one of the very best, and I have every reason to believe that it will work perfectly. 


The boys’ closet and urinal in Webster School ought to be placed against the west wall and fitted up in a sanitary manner.  In order to make this room sanitary the sewerage system will have to be readjusted and while doing this the additional cost to move the closets and modernize them would not be great . . .


The high school work progressed quite satisfactorily, regardless of the crowded condition.  During the first part of the year a little annoyance occurred on account of one of the lady assistants being a little weak in discipline.  The teacher was a conscientious hard worker, but she was not a match for events as they developed in the growing minds of the children.  In addition she found the work very heavy and at Christmas time asked for a leave of absence . . . On account of the crowded conditions the best results cannot be expected.  Many of the pupils were compelled to sit at home and report only for classes . . . It is difficult to regulate the home time with that of the school clock and pupils come in at different times, and having no vacant room in which to assemble, are compelled to stand around the halls until the classes pass.  To obviate this condition more room ought to be provided . . .   WG




A debating team from Columbus will come to Watertown to meet a team from the Watertown High School in debate on Friday evening.  The question for debate is “Resolved, that trial by jury in the United States should be abolished.”  Both teams have been working on the question for several months.   


The Watertown team, which is composed of Wallace Thauer, Alvin Brendemuehl and Peter Brooks, will debate the affirmative of the question.  The debate will be held in the high school at 7:30 o'clock.  Hon. William F. Voss will preside.


On the same evening another team consisting of Alya Soldner, Jack Coughlin and George Lewandowski will debate the negative question with Beaver Dam High School at Beaver Dam.  In order to defray the expenses of the teams a small admission fee of 10 cents will be charged.   WG


05 09       EDITOR DAILY TIMES MIGHT TAKE OWN ADVICE Before "Rushing Into Print"

Editor Gazette:—The Daily Times of Saturday evening calls an unsigned article in The Gazette against members of the police force "cowardly," that it “cast odium upon the whole department."  If this is so, then how much more cowardly was that unsigned article in favor of a mashing ordinance, which appeared in a recent issue of The Times, in which special mention was made of High School students.  Did not that throw odium upon the entire school?  According to The Times own reasoning then, that was an insult to the entire student body, and not only that, but to every parent who has a child in High School.  If any complaints are to be made against High School students, why don't they take it to the school board?  That body is a regularly-constituted one, and complaints should be made to it.  All its members are respectable men, and it has always contained men of good reputation.  The Times says "Of late it seems to be the fad to discredit everybody connected with the conduct of city affairs, and the police of course come in for their share."  On the contrary, it seems to be the fad for some of those connected with the city administration to insult everyone with any claim to respectability, and the police can expect nothing else than to be discredited if they follow the lead of some of their superiors.

A Minor.   WG  




     Class of 1912.     Watertown Historical Society Collection


-- --           50th REUNION OF CLASS OF 1912, Watertown High School  

A group of people posing for a photo

Description automatically generated         1962



1912:  Largest Class in History of High School

06 27

Thursday evening, June 20, 1912, a large audience was present to enjoy the exercises of the Watertown High School at Turner Opera House.  The weather was ideal and it added greatly to the pleasure of the evening.  The program was a decidedly good one, and the different addresses of the graduates on the program were well spoken and reflected great credit on the school, the teachers and the graduates.


Prof. A. B. Hall of the State University was the orator of the occasion and took for his subject "The Playground of Life," the drift of his argument being that all should cultivate a live and let live spirit in order to bring about a better condition in life for all.


The diplomas were presented to the class by the Hon. Wm. F. Voss, chairman of the committee on teachers and instruction of the board of education.  Mr. Voss reminded the graduates that their education was finished so far as the Watertown High School was concerned, but said it never really would be complete.  He spoke of the many changes for the good of the school that had taken place in the past 15 years— new courses and instructors were added, such as manual training, domestic science, music and commercial.  He closed his remarks by wishing the graduates, on behalf of the Board of Education, success and happiness through life.


Following is the program in full, the list of graduates and the addresses delivered . . .


The list of graduates follows . . .   WG


Watertown High School Alumni Association

and Banquet a Great Success.

06 27 1912

One of the most successful reunions and banquets of the Watertown High School Alumni Association in its history took place last Friday evening at Turner Opera House, followed by a ball.  The attendance was larger than it has been for many years.  The fore part of the program consisted of renewing old friendships and of social chat, followed by the banquet for which the following menu was served . . .


Miss Wilder made an excellent toast-mistress and J. E. McAdams' address to the class of 1912 was a decidedly able and interesting one. 


On behalf of the Alumni he heartily and truly welcomed the class into the society; that the learning and also the great talent which the members of the class have shown will be a big aid in forming an association which will be stronger and better than ever. 


“To those members of the class who were not going to college do not forget your books, a well informed person gets the most enjoyment out of life, education is better than great wealth.  The father who has given his children an education has done his duty. Today people are realizing more than ever the value of an education; ten years ago only about twenty students graduated from the local high school; this year fifty-four.


“Be grateful to your parents and teachers, have no petty jealousies, be charitable and humane, and have faith in yourselves.  Girls of the class, do not be butterflies or bees, but be a happy medium.


“I welcome you on behalf of the Alumni into this society, and may health and happiness attend you throughout your lives.”


Miss Regina Hoefler responded, saying that the class felt honored to be taken into the Alumni; that the class of 1912 was made up of 34 girls and 20 boys who had shown much talent and had excelled in many ways, and would no doubt be a credit to the society, that the annual alumni banquet afforded a means for the class to reunite and renew friendships, that the members of the class should be true to their class, to the Alumni and to themselves.   WG


11 14       "THE GRAND OLD FLAG"

The Watertown High School will present the greatest war drama ever written, "The Grand Old Flag," at Turner Opera House on the evening of November 21, with two hundred home people on the stage under the direction of Col. F. L. Hunt, author of the play.  He is coming from Chicago with all his scenery and costumes, the same that were used in this great play at McVickers Theater for eleven weeks, under the auspices of the U.S. Grant Grand Army Post, an organization with twelve hundred members that attended the performance in uniform and made one of the most attractive and enthusiastic audiences that ever attended a war production in America. For weeks the audience continued to be very large and the patrons were sailors, soldiers and patriotic citizens with the boxes filled with the elite of society and even the governor and his staff came up from Springfield to enjoy the play.  This great production will be presented by the Watertown High School with home talent.  In addition to the four acts of the great drama there will be five beautiful tableaux, a chorus of one hundred and fifty voices, several soloists, a male quartette and plantation jubilee singers. The prices will be 25, 35 and 50 cents.   WG


11 21       "THE GRAND OLD FLAG"

The students of the Watertown High School are working afternoon and evening on the big chorus and the big plantation jubilee and the four acts of the great war drama, "The Grand Old Flag," to be given at Turner Opera House, Thursday evening, Nov. 21.  The papers of Oshkosh and Appleton, where the play was just presented, printed articles over a column long in praise of the success it was in these towns – and it will be the same in Watertown.  The papers say that Col. Hunt, the gentleman who is here from Chicago, is worth the price of admission for his German part.  They also say the beautiful tableaux at the end of each act are worth the money; also the big war song chorus at the end of the fourth act is worth more than the price of admission.   WG




Last Friday evening the Watertown High School class of 1905 held a reunion and banquet at the Commercial Hotel.  The table decorations were in the class colors, black and gold, and a Christmas tree was placed in the center of the table.  Miss Marie Killian officiated as toastmistress.  She began teaching in the Watertown High School the year the class of 1905 entered the High School.  Miss Maude Beisner responded to the toast:



"I am wishing for you today,

And wishes are prayers, they say,

What wealth of joy, if this be true,

Will surely come, dear friends, to you."


Each member of the class present responded to a toast.  It was decided to make the event an annual affair.  Present were: Misses Marie Killian, Kathryn Becker, Anna Kress, Gertrude Kramer, Maude Beisner, Irene Jones, Laura O'Brien, Helen Deimel, Eugenie Abele, Anna Goecke, Hilda Gnewuch, Mrs. A. Keel; Messrs. Arthur Radtke, Ashippun; Walter Simon, Memphis, Tenn.   WG



       Name “ORBIT” chosen instead of “VIBRATOR


Following abstracted from 1913 edition of the Orbit, the first yearbook of the Watertown High:


Feb. 25 – Seniors decide to publish annual.

Feb. 26 – Names suggested for annual.

Feb. 27 – “Orbit,” “Vibrator” and “Quibbler” voted on.

Feb. 28 – Sympathetic vibrations passing from pupils who need not take February’s Latin exam, to those who must.

Mar. 1 – Immortalization of Dan Brooks who suggested the name “Orbit.”  [note: Dan Brooks was a sophomore in 1913]


Elsewhere in this first edition the following is found:  ORBIT –  A short word formed by selecting five letters out of VIBRATOR.


So now we know. In choosing “Orbit” over “Vibrator” these young Goslings unknowingly coined a designation that could be used over the years, avoiding puns on a possible second meaning (double entendre).


Go Goslings!



1913 Letter from Jack to Jill


1913, New High School note

1913, Spring weather note

    From 1913 High School Orbit  (first Orbit published)



Watertown, Wis., April 7, 1913

Dear Jill:


Your good letter found me in a most receptive mood when it came yesterday. I am glad that you are so much enjoying the apparently perpetual sunshine of California.


I cannot help contrasting the beautiful weather you describe with that which we are now experiencing. We have our rubbers on our feet, are holding our skirts in one hand, and our umbrellas in the other, after the fashion appropriate to Wisconsin people at this season of the year. The backbone of old Winter has passed, but we are not yet out of range of the last expiring whisks of his long caudal appendage. An operation upon him similar to the one you and I performed on our old cat would do him good, don't you think so?


Do you remember how people used to tease us when we went up the hill to get a pail of water? Well that kind of an excursion would not be necessary now, for we could use rain water, or melted sleet, or extract of hail stones, just as we chose to select, for we are having all of these in monotonous rotation.


You will wonder with me whether the people who named this good old place Watertown were trying to be truthful, or just sarcastic. Our old high school has not yet been washed away. If you were here today we would jump over the puddles together and visit the dear old place. They are going to have a new high school as soon as the weather clears up so that the carpenters can get to work at it.


The seniors are going to get out an annual this year unless the weatherman frustrates their plan. I shall not fail to send you one.


Happiness here is at present confined to the Watertown geese, and their aquatic associates, the ducks and frogs.


This tirade against the weather is not intended to discourage you from coming back home next year. I much hope you will do so.


Sincerely yours, Jack.


P. S. The paleness of this ink is due to the fact that it rained in the ink bottle.



10 09       On Saturday, Oct. 11, the local high school football team will play the Jefferson team.  The two high schools have been rivals for years, and last year Jefferson's team was the only one to defeat Watertown.  The chances for Watertown to win are good this year and your presence will help to put vim into the team.  Go to the game at Washington Park at 2:30 p.m.


10 16       An enthusiastic crowd came out to the football game between the Watertown and Jefferson high school teams at Washington Park last Saturday.  The outcome of the game may be credited in part to the support the team received.  The two teams were well matched in weight, but Jefferson's team was plainly outclassed, the Watertown boys securing the lead early and holding it throughout, the final score being 43 to 7 in favor of Watertown.  The feeling between the visitors and the home team – and the attitude of the crowd – were all that could be desired.   Jefferson has been an old rival of Watertown in football and has a plucky team, good losers as well as good winners.      WG



02 05       JUNIOR PROM

The Junior prom of the Watertown High School held at Masonic Temple Friday evening was one of the most successful in the history of the school.  Orange and black, the class colors, were used in decorating, and the greenery used at the Knight Templars ball a few evenings previous were intact, which added much to the attractiveness of the ball room.  The grand march was led by Daniel Brooks, president of the junior class, and Miss Marian Anderson, a member of the high school faculty.  Refreshments were served by members of the sophomore class.  Beside the Juniors and Seniors present were the high school faculty, Hon. William F. Voss, M. F. Blumenfeld, John G. Conway, A. A. Frattinger, H. W. Werner, members of the school board, and Mrs. J. G. Conway and Mrs. H. W. Werner.  The committees having charge of the prom were made up as follows:


Music — Robert Brumm, Doris Meyer, Helen Belrose.


Refreshments — Margaret Mueller, Helen Maede, Rose Murphy, Mary Wieman, Edna Hertel.


Amusements — Margaret Mueller, Ruth Archie, Ben Krueger, Viola Volkman, Reginald Humphrey.


Decorating — Melvin Norbert, Reginald Humphrey, Mabel King, Lucile Liebermann, Ewald Hub, Joseph Lange, Herbert Rodeck, Paul Conway, Edna Ullrich, Gertrude Nickels.


Invitations — Dan Brooks, Elsie Schurr, Lester Williams, Marcella Sette.


Program — Elsie Schwendke, Selma Neitzel, Ruth Johnson, Marcella Holstine, Dorothy Hoeffner.


Reception — Dan Brooks, Paul Conway, Reginald Humphrey, Herbert Rodeck, Edna Ullrich, Mabel King, Lucile Liebermann.    WG



William F. Voss, president of the Board of Education, W. H. Woodard, A. H. Frattinger, M. F. Blumenfeld and Simon Molzahn, members of the Watertown Board of Education, and Supt. T. J. Berto visited Ft. Atkinson last Thursday to inspect the new high school in that city, with a view of using the information in the erection of the new high school in Watertown..   WG



At an adjourned meeting of the Board of Education last evening the Board arranged to engage Parkinson & Dockendorf of La Crosse, architects, to draw plans and specifications for a new high school.  The Board also decided the Eighth Street city property, with the Meckes property just north of it, as the proper site for the school.   WG



Commencement week will open with the production of the Senior class play on Monday, June 15.  The graduation exercises will be held at Turner Opera House on Wednesday, the 17th, with the alumni reception and banquet on the following evening.


Prof. Albert Johnson of the University extension division of the University of Minnesota will deliver the address, his subject being “The Quest.”  Prof. Johnson was until the last year connected with the University of Wisconsin in a similar capacity.  His excellence as a commencement day orator is unquestioned, and the board of education has been fortunate indeed to have his services.


Wallace Thauer, Ray Meyer and Louis Bandelin have been selected as the honor students who will have a part in the commencement exercises.  The first named will act as valedictorian, the second as salutatorian and the third will make the presentation of the class memorial.  It is now expected that the graduating class will number thirty-three.


The right to produce a popular school play, “The Varsity Coach,” has been secured, and the members of the senior class who will take part in the play are already hard at work under the direction of Miss Edna Chadwick.


The eighth grade graduation exercises will be held at Turner opera house Tuesday evening, and the alumni reception and banquet will be held on Thursday evening, but arrangements for this; the closing feature of the week, are as yet incomplete.   WG



The teachers and over 300 pupils of the Watertown High School enjoyed a Halloween entertainment at the High School building last Friday evening.  A program was carried out by the different classes that kept all in excellent humor from 8 until after 11 o’clock.  It was by all odds the most successful entertainment ever given by the pupils of the high school, and the various amusements, through of a ludicrous character, were elevating and edifying, and several of the stunts pulled off showed that the pupils of the Watertown High School are possessed of much originality and have a liking for good, wholesome amusement.



To the Mayor and Common Council.

The undersigned special committee to whom was referred the matter of examining the plans, etc., in connection with the new high school proposition, beg leave to report that we have had several meetings with a special committee of the board of education and as a result of such several meetings it was deemed advisable that before proceeding further with the matter in question, that an architect be employed for the purpose of ascertaining whether the present high school building cannot be remodeled and enlarged and if so whether it would be advisable to do so.


The undersigned further report that the board of education desires authority to expend not to exceed three hundred ($300) dollars of the five thousand ($5000) dollars heretofore appropriated for the use of the board of education in obtaining plans and specifications for a new high school building and the undersigned committee recommends that a resolution be passed authorizing the board of education to do so.


Respectfully submitted,

Wm. A. Beurhaus,

Wm. Wedemeyer,

F. C. Werner,

John Kessler,

Geo. A. Richards,

Special Committee.


The report was adopted.   WG




The Gazette is pleased to note that at a meeting of the Business Men’s Association of Watertown held last Tuesday evening a resolution was passed favoring the erection of a new high school building of a size sufficient to accommodate not only the pupils of high school age in this city, but also the young people of the farming district around Watertown who may desire a high school education.  Start the good work along as speedily as possible.  This commendable move of the Board of Education, started about two years ago, we thought had been buried; at least it has been a sleeping.  We hope the good work will now be taken hold of with a vim and be completed within a year or two.  Watertown needs a new high school building and a good large campus surrounding it, and needs them badly.   WG



[same date]  The Watertown High School teams were unfortunate last week in losing both debates, being defeated by the Columbus team at Columbus, taking the negative side of the question, in the debate between Watertown, Beaver Dam and Columbus, and at the local high school by the Columbus high school team, taking the affirmative side.  The question under debate was “Resolved, That Our Immigration Laws Should Debar All Immigrants Over 10 Years of Age Who are Unable to Read and Write; Provided That the Law Should not Apply to Dependents When Qualified Immigrants or Residents of the United States.”  At the Watertown High School the Watertown team consisted of Gilbert Schmutzler, Herbert Rodeck and Ed Bandelin.  The Beaver Dam team consisted of Franklin Kuehl, Irwin Lathrop and Walter Neiman.  The judges were Supt. A. L. Halverson, Oconomowoc; Principal L. G. Curtis, Waterloo, and Principal Oscar Bauer, Juneau.


The Watertown team at Columbus was made up of Paul Conway, Elmer Lemmerhirt and Dan Brooks.  They were accompanied there by W. J. Trautman, principal of the High school.   WG






      Old high school building to be used


The National Guard Company now forming in Watertown will use the old high school building for an armory and drilling station.  The use of the building was given them at a special meeting of the board of education held Friday evening.  The city council had already given its permission.     Watertown News, 06 11 1917





Nothing can be done until Dodge and Jefferson Counties committees decide


Chairman Harte of the council committee, to which was referred the conversion of the old high school building into an armory for a cavalry unit, stated that he had nothing to report as the committees of the two counties who are considering it as a training school for teachers had not met. 


Mr. Harte. said that the [cavalry] boys were doing the right thing in going on with the organization of the unit as he saw no chance for a training school . . . must not also lose the chance for a cavalry troop.


Alderman Raue inquired if the building had not been condemned as a school, which elicited the information that it had been condemned as a high school on account of insufficient ventilation.


Alderman Lutovsky, who represents the ward in which the building is located, said that he believed those in the neighborhood would prefer a training school, but that he had grave doubts about it being accepted as such by the two counties.


Mayor Mulberger stated that he was very much in favor of the cavalry troop, and although at the present time the disposition of the building was out of the hands of the council, he was glad that the members had gone on record affirmatively.


His honor further stated that a military organization such as the calvary unit would be one of the best things for the boys of the town and something for this city to be proud of.



      Must be re-roofed at once in order to keep it from going to ruin

            Arrangement to be made for use as Armory


Formal acceptance of the old high school building by the board of education was made at the council meeting last evening.


When the matter came up Mayor Wertheimer took occasion to say that the people of this city desired and expected that the same should be remodeled for use as an armory for Troop G.  [chapter on National Guard]


Referring to some questions that had been raised as to technical compliance with the law, the mayor said that the will of the people could be accomplished in a manner fully legal and that Watertown should go forward in this matter and have at least as good an armory as some of the smaller cities that have already established military units.


At the conclusion of his remarks, the ladies and gentlemen who were in attendance at the meeting, which by the way was unusually large for Watertown, applauded the utterance by hearty hand claps.


Aldermen Gruetzmacher, Krueger and Block made suggestions as to safe guarding the interests of the city in the property in all events.


Capt. Sproesser of Troop G was present and, upon invitation of the mayor, stated that he was of the opinion that the city should put the building in shape for occupancy by putting on a new roof and installing a new heating plant.  The cavalry organization is to keep the same in repair and police the grounds, which meant the keeping down of weeds, shoveling of snow, and general up keep of grounds and building.  The contract is to be between the city and Troop G.


Ald. Harte, chairman of the committee on public buildings, informed the council that he had made a thorough examination of the building and that preservation of the building demands that it be fixed at once -- regardless of whether or not it is to be used as an armory.  The water comes in all over when it rains, water and steam pipes are busted, and all the walls have become effected.  “It will be ruined in a few years and should be roofed and fixed up before winter sets in” said the alderman from the Twelfth.


This seemed to be the prevailing opinion of the council, and on motion of Ald. Gruetzmacher the whole subject was referred to a joint committee composed of the committee on public buildings, finance and judiciary.  A definite report is expected at the next meeting.                WDTimes  




        Sidewalk in front of High School




Members of the city council, following their meeting Tuesday night, got a glimpse into the future possibilities of a community building, not an entire new building, but an adequately constructed building which would result if the present old high school building in Main Street were converted into a community building.


The council looked over the floor plans of such a structure which were prepared by an architect free of charge and who claims that the old high school building could be properly converted into a community house, suited to serve the needs of Watertown for years to come.  That such a building is needed has been pointed out by alderman from time to time.


According to one alderman, the former high school building can be converted into a community house for something like $37,000.  It was pointed out that Jefferson is now at work on plans for the construction of a community house, that Waterloo has a new one and that other cities in all sections are providing them.


The high school building, or armory as it is also known, is practically idle and will remain so unless something is done, the council was told.  It will not be used for a junior high school.  That idea has been abandoned since the board of education has made plans for the addition of a junior high school to the present high school building.  The new junior high school addition is to cost approximately $130,000 the council was told last night.


The armory building provides a fine site for a community house, aldermen believe, and it is possible that the near future will see some steps in the direction of providing such a building for Watertown.


Various Watertown organizations are now at work on plans for a get-together meeting for the purpose of combining forces to work toward the converting of the armory into a community building.


Although details of the meeting to be held have not yet been made public a movement is already under way to secure some action on the project and within a short time it is expected that plans will be made public.




The Sgt. F. L. Pitterle Post of the American Legion and its auxiliary, having secured the assistance of the city council, plan to improve the armory building and grounds surrounding so that it will provide a better setting for the activities of the various organizations which use the armory for meeting and social purposes.


The city council recently authorized the committee on public buildings to direct the necessary improvements at the armory which will provide suitable quarters for the American Legion auxiliary and the local unit of the Woman's Relief Corps, and to install plumbing in the basement.


The Sgt. F. L. Pitterle Post already has quarters in the building.


The auxiliary and the Woman's Relief Corps, however, have been seeking their own quarters in the armory to allow all organizations to hold meetings without conflicting with the rest of the organizations in the building.  The council has given its consent to the plan and the work is being left in charge of the committee on public buildings.


The officers of the American Legion, appearing before the council last week, told the aldermen that if the council would cooperate by having necessary rooms placed in condition, the legion would do its share toward improving the grounds by planting flowers and shrubs and placing benches for tourists and others who make it a point to stop there. 


The past summer saw many tourists stopping at the armory grounds for luncheon and rest, the council was told, and by making the place and surroundings more inviting it will attract more tourists and visitors as a stopping place while enroute through the city for other points.  The legion plans to take up the work of beautifying the grounds early next year so as to have the grounds in shape when the tourist season is underway. 


Toilet facilities at the armory at present are not in keeping with modern progress, Dr. F. C. Haney, city health commissioner, told the council and he requested some change in the type of equipment there. This is also to be provided, under the council's plan, and it will serve to give Watertown an additional restroom and comfort station.


Many citizens have expressed themselves in favor of the legion's plan and point out that it will serve a public need as well as providing suitable quarters for various local organizations and will also help to improve the grounds surrounding the armory by making it a suitable place for tourists to refresh themselves while on their journey.




            Chapter on National Guard  




The site of the old Armory Building, now the Recreation Building, in Main Street between North Seventh and North Eighth Street, has been proposed as the most logical location for a new City Hall for Watertown.  The recommendation has been proposed by the architects, Durrant and Bergquist of Boscobel, Wis., and Dubuque, Ia., who some months ago were delegated by the City Council to study the matter of a solution to the present overcrowded and largely outmoded City Hall




Two sites are under consideration and available for the construction of Watertown's long-discussed and proposed new city hall—when and if the city council at last goes ahead and decides to build.  That was announced last night following the regular meeting of the council when City Manager C. C. Congdon presented to the councilmen the first “layout” for the building.  As yet the council has not authorized a new city hall and it is still in the planning stage.  The information presented by the manager merely reflects the various department spaces and facilities that have thus far been proposed for the new building.  The two sites which have been made available are the old armory location in Main Street, now utilized as the city recreational building, and the old Webster School site in Western Avenue.  Plans for a new city hall, which have been discussed for years, reached a point more than a year ago when two miniature models of such a structure were prepared and studied by the council.




      City Plan Commission Ignored


The proposal for the construction of a new fire station on the grounds of the recreation building ran into a new snag last night.


The city council, at its regular meeting, voted down, 4 to 3, a resolution to engage architects to prepare plans for a new fire station and police department quarters.  Some councilmen wanted to proceed only with a fire station at this time.


The final vote was:

Yes: Shephard, Moser and Kehl.

No: Franz, McFarland, Shaefer and Hinterberg.


The issue, as a result of last night's vote, is not dead and has been placed on the next committee agenda at which time the councilmen hope to clarify their views and bring in a new resolution.


During last night's debate on the issue, Councilman Floyd Shaefer suggested that councilmen give consideration to the City Plan Commission.  He said the commissioners are too often ignored and that it is an insult to competent men who spend hours on a matter to have their views shunted aside without giving them proper consideration.  The commission has opposed the recreation building site.


Council President Edward Hinterberg said he wanted more time to study different phases of the fire station plan, such as location, etc., and that he was not ready to vote on the matter, even to the extent of engaging an architect.


Councilman Fred W. Kehl said he believes the time has come for a definite decision for a new police station, since any money spent on improving the present quarters to meet the objections of state agencies which have condemned the present jail, would be a waste of the taxpayers' money. 


He said he feels that the police are more in need of a new station than is the fire department in need of a new station at this time.  He strongly urged that consideration be given to a one building project.



Three members who served on a committee named by Attorney Charles E. Kading, while he was serving as acting city manager here, to study city hall expansion needs today issued a statement opposing the proposed construction of a new police and fire station at the corner of North Eighth and Madison streets and suggested that maybe “it is time to hold another referendum” on the matter.  The three are Arthur Kuenzi, a registered professional engineer who was president of the old Otto Biefeld Co., now the Otto Biefeld Corp.; Albert W. Maas, general contractor and head of the Maas Bros. Construction Company and a former city councilman; and O. E. Carlson, for many years a building materials supplier here.   WDT




The condition of the recreation building, with its dirty and unkempt walls and the condition of the floors and many other things about it have reached such a point that one councilman who dropped in yesterday afternoon to look it over said today he was shocked by what he found.  George Shephard plans to have the matter put on the next council committee agenda for discussion to see what can be done to make some elementary improvements about the condition of the building.   WDT



          Forced to close due to deterioration

All recreational activities to the old Douglas School.  Former High School and Armory



The City Council last night added hundreds of more words to the long standing and running argument over plans for a new fire and police station and when it was over it had approved, by a vote of 3 to 2, to take the next step for the construction of such a building but, which in the end, won't even get off the ground, according to present indications - at least not during the present administration.  The 3 to 2 vote was on a resolution to authorize sample soil borings on the site of the proposed building - the block which now houses the recreation building.  But even now the actual construction has two strikes against it.  Councilman George Shephard and Councilman Raymond F. Franz who have previously declared they will not support the $400,000 bond issue to finance it last night repeated their statements “for the official record.”   WDT



The city council did the expected last night.  It voted to close the recreation building and transfer all activities to the old Douglas School as soon as the board of education turns the school over to the city, expected to be around July 1.  By so doing the council went on record not to spend any public sums for repairing the recreation building or arising its safety standards.  The vote on the measure was 13 to 1 — with Alderman Erich Nuernberg of the sixth ward casting the only “no” vote.  He had sought to delay any action by having the resolution tabled until such time as the old Douglas School has been turned over to the city.   WDT




If plans to dispose of the Watertown Recreation Building and the site which makes up the block on which it is located are carried out and present ideas regarding its future facility are fulfilled Watertown may get what city officials consider a much-needed community establishment — a motel, dining area, meeting rooms and cocktail lounge.  The cocktail lounge would be needed in such a facility to help pay operational costs, it has been pointed out.  At last night’s meeting of the common council the aldermen voted unanimously to refer to the City Planning Commission a resolution taking the first step toward such a project.  The resolution is being sponsored by Council President William Wiegand.   WDT



The recreation building in Main Street, scheduled to be closed and abandoned as a public safety measure, may yet receive a reprieve and continue to be used at least through the coming winter months. That was one of the possible decisions that came out of last night’s common council committee meeting. With a new city hall in prospect, plans call for a large basement which can be utilized by the recreation department but until such a plan is actually carried out and the new quarters are available, the recreation department will either have to continue functioning in the present building or steps will have to be taken to rent the Turner Hall on a basis of fitting in the recreation schedule when the Turner Hall is available.   WDT



Although the city of Watertown's advertisements calling for proposals on the city recreation building, which is up for sale, have appeared in newspapers in Watertown, Milwaukee and Madison only and have not yet been published in trade journals, the office of Mayor Robert P. White has already had "nibbles" from five sources, including one in Chicago.  The recreation building and site are being offered for sale, since the city proposes to close the building and transfer present usages to other localities, although this has not yet met with complete success and efforts to find alternate operating locations are continuing.   WDT



05 11       Another step in the probable construction of a 30 to 40 unit motel, cocktail lounge and convention and gathering center, on the site of the present recreation building, first announced some two years ago as a possibility, was reported last night to members of the common council by Mayor Robert P. White during the regular meeting of the council.  The mayor announced that an option on the property has been issued.  The site, which includes a solid block, lies between North Seventh and Eighth Streets along Main Street.  The mayor said that since the property was put up for sale by the city his office has had many inquiries, some from as far away as Texas, representing interested parties considering a motel and allied establishment.   WDT



05 08       Mayor Robert P. White’s recent statement to the Daily Times that interest in acquiring the city recreation building site in Main Street is still “very much alive” was followed up last night with his announcement that a new “offer” to purchase the site has developed.  The mayor said that Merion Realty Co., Inc., a subsidiary investment group of a large Milwaukee business organization, has expressed interest in the site and that this has now reached the point where the concern was represented at a recent meeting of the City Planning Commission to discuss possibilities informally.   WDT


05 16       Acceptance of the offer made by the Marion Realty Co., Milwaukee, to purchase the old recreation building site in Main Street, between North Seventh and North Eighth Streets, for the purpose of constructing a motel and allied facilities, is being recommended by the City Planning Commission, it was announced today. The commission’s recommendation, which was supported by unanimous vote, will be presented to the common council at its regular meeting next Tuesday night.


05 20       By a vote of 12 to 2 the common council last night accepted the offer made recently by the Marion Realty Co., Milwaukee, to purchase from the city the property known as the recreation building site.  Such a step had been recommended by the City Planning Commission.  In the resolution, the city set the sum of $35,000 as the price to be paid for the complete one square block property in Main Street.  The council also set a 90 day time limit for the conclusion of the sale.   WDT



Plans for a motel, several retail stores and convention facilities, including a bar and other services on the site of the present recreation building at Main and the area between North Seventh and North Eighth Streets, may move a step closer to realization next week. The Marian Realty Co., representing outside interests which propose to construct the new complex in downtown Watertown has announced it wishes to exercise its option on the property.   WDT


10 30       LUTOVSKY FARM

A conference on how best to speed up consideration of acquiring the Charles Lutovsky farm as a site for the proposed new junior high school was held at the municipal building this morning. It was attended by city officials and representatives of the board of education and others. One of the portions of land under consideration is the Charles Lutovsky farm and also property in the vicinity which is owned by Dr. E. Allen Miller and also a piece of land owned by the Oak Hill Cemetery Association.   WDT



The common council at its meeting last night took three important — but not unexpected — steps.  It voted to sell the old city hall to the most suitable bidder and to advance plans for the sale of the old recreation building site in Main Street.  The council also approved a resolution calling to proceed with negotiations for the purchase of the Charles Lutovsky farm as part of the site for the proposed new junior high school at a price not to exceed $65,000.  WDT



01 31       The Marian Realty Co. of Milwaukee last night was granted a new extension on its option to purchase the recreation building site and construct a motel and convention complex on the block costing no less than $250,000.  The price is to be $35,000 for the entire downtown block.  The extension expires May 3 of this year.  In the event the realty company does not exercise its option the council agreed to consider negotiating a similar option with the group known as Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl, also of Milwaukee, owners of the Charles Lutovsky farm which the city is to acquire as part of the site for a new junior high school.   WDT


02 13       There now are two out of town groups seeking the old recreation building site in Main Street for commercial development purposes.  This came to light last night during the common council’s committee meeting after it was disclosed that the Marian Realty Co. of Milwaukee had decided not to exercise its option on the property.  The two groups are Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl of Milwaukee who have agreed to sell to the city 34 acres of the former Charles Lutovsky farm as part of a new school site, and a Madison group which had first shown an interest in the site some two years ago.   WDT


02 28       Representatives of Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl, Milwaukee, were in the city last evening in connection with plans for utilizing the site of the old recreation building in Main Street on which the group holds a 90-day option.  Architects have been at work on plans for a 29-unit motel, restaurant and cocktail facilities, along with meeting and convention facilities, which the Milwaukee concern proposes to erect on the site, subject to approval by the City Planning Commission.   WDT



Work on demolishing the old recreation building in Main Street continues.  It is to pave the way for a motel and related facilities.  Owners of the property are Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl of Milwaukee.  The original part of the old building began as School No. 1 and the rear wall had a stone inscribed “1863.”


When the major portions of the building, fronting on Main Street, were constructed is a matter of question.  The building was a high school until the World War I period and then became an armory and later the recreation building.  As a high school it replaced the old Webster School in Western Avenue which had served as a high school before becoming an elementary school.  It is no more, having been leveled for a playground and replaced with a modem Webster School at 634 South Twelfth Street.   WDT


11 04       MOTEL PLANNED

The motel to be constructed at the corner of North Eighth and Main Streets, on the site of the former recreation building, will be up and ready for occupancy by next summer, one of the three developers involved in the project told the Daily Times.  James J. Knodl, one of the three men involved in the project, said the facility would be up by next summer.  The razing of the old rec building which years ago served as a high school, has been underway for many weeks.  Under the terms of the purchase contract with the city, construction of the motel must get underway 61 days after the building is razed.   WDT



01 25       PLANS FOR MOTEL

Plans for the financing of the motel and related facilities on the site of the old recreation building here have been advanced and it was announced that a Menomonee Falls dentist, Dr. Guido E. Quartullo has entered into the operation as an investor with the Milwaukee group which purchased the property at Main and North Eight Streets from the city — Berndt, Perkins and Knoll of Milwaukee.  Under terms of the agreement with the city the construction must begin within 41 days after the property is cleared and that was Wednesday of this week.   WDT


02 05       PLANS FOR SITE

Plans for the future of Watertown’s old recreation building site in Main Street, between North Seventh and North Eighth Streets, which Behrndt, Perkins and Knodl of Milwaukee, a group of developers secured from the city last year, were discussed at a meeting held here yesterday afternoon following an earlier announcement last week that Dr. G. E. Quartullo of Menomonee Falls had bought into the operation.   WDT


03 05       NEW OWNERS

The new owners of the city’s former recreation site, in Main Street, have requested that they be permitted to meet with the common council next week to discuss with the city their future plans for the site.  The new owners are Dr. G. G. Quartullo and Delore Schultz, both of Menomonee Falls.  When the entire block area was sold by the city to Berndt, Perkins and Knodl of Milwaukee, for $35,000, it was stipulated that the site was to be used for a 32-unit motel, include a commercial area and a section that would offer convention facilities and a meeting place for large gatherings, as well as provide a steak room, a bar, etc.  A minimum construction of $250,000 was also stipulated.   WDT



Hanging city officials in effigy via dummy which was strung up from a tree in the old recreation building block area yesterday apparently was the last straw for the city and a cleanup of the place was begun.  The Daily Times received a telephone call about the incident this morning from someone who had witnessed it.  Aldermen urged that the city clean up the place and bill the owners if they did not move to clean up “the unsightly conditions and mess” on the site which fronts on Main Street.  Signs painted on the block-long retaining wall, which drew heavy fire from aldermen, also have been obliterated.  WDT



Vandals have again attacked the surface of the retaining wall which fronts Main Street on the site of the old recreation building, only hours after city crews “cleaned up” the site and resurfaced the wall to obliterate the slogans and saying which had defaced the wall and which was an eyesore for many months.  The cleanup was carried out yesterday.  Later someone had painted a letter “P” on the wall, authorities said.  Police said they had at least a lead on one suspect and had the names of several others they were going to question.   WDT



David Fries, city attorney, last night reported to the common council that an entirely new start on a motel project may be in the making, that the old recreation site in Main Street is now owned by Dr. G. G. Quartulla, Menomonee Falls dentist, and that prospects for new construction appear vague but likely.  The city attorney’s verbal report was made in reply to questions which had been raised at the previous council meeting.  The initial plans for a motel commercial area, convention facilities, have been “thrown out” and a new beginning is about to be made, according to the latest information made available to the city attorney.   WDT




The latest information in connection with the proposed motel, to be constructed on the site of the former recreation building, at Eighth and East Main Streets, was presented to Mayor Robert P. White on Wednesday by Dr. G. E. Quartullo, Menomonee Falls, a dentist, who now owns the property.  Quartullo advised the mayor that efforts now are well underway to secure a tenant for the commercial portion of the property, which will consist of approximately 10,000 square feet of floor space.  Dr. Quartullo and a Menomonee Falls contractor, Delore Schultz, acquired the property from three developers, James J. Knodl and Richard H. Berndt of Milwaukee and Forrest W. Perkins of Muskego.  The three had acquired property from the city for $35,000, this low figure having been established in order for the city to be helpful in bringing about the construction of a downtown motel.   WDT



City Attorney David J. Fries today issued a statement on the status of the old recreation site which had been asked to provide for the common council by Alderman Armund Turke, president of the council.  In his statement, the city attorney points out that there is a mortgage in the face amount of $90,000 to the Bank of Watertown, and “that it cannot by ascertained, however, from the public records, whether the amount owed to the Bank of Watertown is in this full amount or not.”  The city attorney, in summarizing the legal aspects, gives it as his opinion that the city of Watertown at its option may regain title to the property on payment of $35,000, together with possibly such sum as the owners can establish constitute reasonable costs and that any balance on the mortgage would, in the city attorney’s opinion, not constitute reasonable costs.   WDT



O. Harvey Krause, city assessor of Watertown, differs sharply with the policy of the present city administration relative to some real estate transactions carried out in the past few years and especially with the transactions involving the old recreation site on Main Street, between North Seventh and North Eighth Streets, according to a statement he issued at his office this morning.  “The progress or lack of progress in developing the old recreation building site recently prompted Mayor Robert P. White to publish a record of the steps taken in the sale of this property,” Mr. Krause says in his statement.   WDT


03 06       KEEPING “A WARY EYE”

Members of the common council at their committee meeting last night agreed informally to keep “a wary eye” on the “immediate future” of the old recreation site at Main and North Eighth Streets in order to keep informed on prospects for the construction of a motel complex on the property.  Alderman Armund Turke, the council president, said he feels that if there is no evidence of construction or assurance of construction this summer, or near the close of the year that the council consider a move to regain the property from its owners.  At the same time Alderman G. G. Waller told the council he feels the aldermen should be kept better informed on developments through regular “progress reports.”   WDT



The next step in the city of Watertown’s decision to seek to regain the old recreation building site in Main street will be taken in Jefferson County Circuit Court, but as yet no date has been set for a hearing.  The city sold the block square area to Milwaukee promoters for a motel complex for $35,000 during the previous city administration.  The property was later sold by the Milwaukee group to Delore Schultz and Dr. G. G. Quartulle of Menominee Falls, Wis.  WDT



The city of Watertown is all set to go to trial in connection with the steps that have been taken to retrieve the recreation site located at the corner of Eighth and Main Streets.  The property was sold to three Milwaukee developers for $35,000, with the stipulation that they erect a motel costing at least $250,000.  The three, instead of proceeding with the erection of a motel, sold the property to a contractor and dentist from Menomonee Falls.  Since the sale, the dentist, Dr. G. E. Quartullo, has bought out his associate.  WDT




A meeting was set up by the common council last night for April 15 to afford Dr. G. E. Quartulle of Menomonee Falls, owner of the old recreation site, his attorney and representative of Red Owl an opportunity to appear and present the council with a plan which could lead to the occupancy of the site by Red Owl.  It was pointed out that the law firm of the late Malcolm Whyte, Milwaukee, a native of Watertown, engaged by the council as consultants in the city’s attempt to regain ownership of the block-square property would in no way affect that attempt, a matter now pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court.   WDT


04 02       RED OWL PLAN

A meeting was set up by the common council last night for April 15 to afford Dr. G. E. Quartulle of Menomonee Falls, owner of the old recreation site, his attorney and a representative of Red Owl an opportunity to appear and present the council with a plan which could lead to the occupancy of the site by Red Owl.  It was pointed out that the law firm of the late Malcolm Whyte, Milwaukee, a native of Watertown, engaged by the council as consultants in the city's attempt to regain ownership of the block-square property would in no way affect that attempt, a matter now pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court.


06 13       RED OWL “FINAL OFFER”

A meeting was set up by the common council last night for April 15 to afford Dr. G. E. Quartulle of Menomonee Falls, owner of the old recreation site, his attorney and a representative of Red Owl an opportunity to appear and present the council with a plan which could lead to the occupancy of the site by Red Owl.  It was pointed out that the law firm of the late Malcolm Whyte, Milwaukee, a native of Watertown, engaged by the council as consultants in the city's attempt to regain ownership of the block-square property would in no way affect that attempt, a matter now pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court.



Dr. G. E. Quartullo, Menomonee Falls dentist who is the owner of the old recreation site property in Main Street which the city sold for $35,000, has asked $75,000 to sell it back to the city and last night had his offer rejected.  Rejection came at an executive session of Watertown aldermen who met with Mayor A. E. Bentzin prior to the council’s regular committee meeting last night.  As a result, the case now is headed for settlement in Jefferson County Circuit Court.



There was a flare up between attorneys Wednesday afternoon during the fifth day of the circuit court trial in the city’s effort to retrieve the so-called recreational site at Eighth and Main Streets here.  Yesterday’s court session was held in the circuit court chamber at Jefferson, with Judge Henry Gergen, Jr. of Beaver Dam presiding.  The clash occurred when Attorney Thomas Hayes of Milwaukee, representing Dr. G. E. Quartullo, accused Attorney Edward Cleveland of the Milwaukee law firm of Whyte, Hirschboeck, Minahan, Harding & Harland, which is representing Watertown, of not having turned over to him some of the documents introduced Wednesday afternoon.




An effort by Dr. Quido E. Quartillo, Menomonee Falls dentist, to obtain more money than had been awarded to him for the Eighth and Main Street recreation property has failed.  At the conclusion of the circuit court case in which a determination was to be made by Judge Henry Gergin, Jr., as to the sum which the dentist was to be paid for the property, Gergin set the figure at $65,926.  The city had received $35,000 for the property and sold it at this very low price, in order to assist in the construction of a motel and related facilities on the site.     WDT



The final chapter in the Watertown “rec” case was written yesterday afternoon when the City of Watertown issued a check in the amount of $65,926 to cover its cost of recovering the recreation site at Eighth and Main streets.


The check was issued to Guido E. Quartullo and Helen M. Quartullo and the Bank of Watertown, which holds a mortgage on the property.  It was mailed to the law firm of Whyte, Hirschboeck, Minihan, Harding and Harland at Milwaukee, counsel for the city.  The property had been initially sold by the city to three developers, James J. Knodl and Richard Berndt of Milwaukee and Forrest W. Perkins of Muskego.


The sale price was $35,000.  It was sold with the understanding that a motel and related facilities costing at least $250,000 be erected on the site.  It was stipulated that the city was to retrieve the property with payment of reasonable costs if the project did not materialize.



The citizen’s advisory committee on the disposition of the city owned property on Eighth and Main Streets recommended to the city council Tuesday evening in a written report that the city use the land for the purpose of constructing an indoor-outdoor swimming pool.  The committee was formed on June 16 by Mayor Kenneth Wilkes for the purpose of recommending to the council what should be done with the Rec site since the city had regained possession of the land.  The Rec property was sold by the city to three developers for $35,000, with the stipulation that a motel and related facilities costing at least $250,000 be erected on the site.  They, in turn, sold the land, and the new owners also were unable to put together a motel project.  The city re-acquired the land through a court action.




   Image Portfolio 



Cross reference:

Honor Roll, Veteran's wall, along sidewalk




Table of Contents 

History of Watertown, Wisconsin