ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Wisconsin National Bank

of Watertown

104 West Main Street


Successor Bank of Wisconsin



It was back on July 1, 1853 that the Jefferson Bank of Watertown opened at 116 W. Main St.


Then, on April 8, 1858 it was sold to the Bank of Wisconsin and on Feb. 27, 1865, during the closing days of the Civil War, the name was changed to Wisconsin National Bank.


The 116 Main St. location continued to be used until it was moved to the bridge at 104 W. Main St.  Until the bank purchased the building, it was the home of the old Wiggenhorn Bros. Cigar Factory.  It was remodeled and expanded several limes.  One of the expansion programs involved gutting of the old Savoy Theater and turning it into a drive-in from Main Street north under the building.  Then, in 1980, the bank was sold to Valley Bank Corporation.  A few years later the bank purchased the old D&F Kusel Hardware Store from Frank and Sue Witt.


Ultimately the old bank building with its unique cupola design was razed.


It was just a year after the old Jefferson Bank of Watertown was formed that the Bank of Watertown opened for business for the first time.





A new National Bank has recently been organized in this city and is about to go into operation.  The place of business will be at the rooms formerly occupied by the Jefferson County Bank, in Jones’ Block, on the west side of the river.  The officers of this bank are as follows:


President – William M. Dennis

Vice President – Daniel Jones

Cashier-- P. V. Brown

Assistant Cashier – W. P. Brown

Directors – William M. Dennis, Daniel Jones, Charles Jacobi, Henry Mulberger, and P. V. Brown.


These names are an ample assurance for the safe and prudent management of the affairs of this institution and as the securities are based on United States stocks, their bills are as good as the resources and pledges of the Government can make them.  It is hardly necessary to say that the National Bank of Watertown is fully worthy of the confidence of the people and that its business affairs will be carefully and successfully directed.  Its officers are citizens of high character and large experience and well qualified for the positions they hold.    WD



Edward Racek, 19 years of age, served as teller, filling the position three years




"Can you change this William for me ?" said a young man who presented a $50 bill at the counter of the Wisconsin National Bank in this city, recently.  "Yes," said the cashier, "but why do you call it William?"  "Oh, I'm not familiar enough with that kind of thing to call it Bill," was the quick reply.   WD



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The first bank in Watertown was founded in 1852 by Daniel Jones

The Wisconsin National Bank was the third bank to be started in the city.



   View of, along Main St


02 13            Watertown Weltburger, 02 13 1886



   1891 Weltburger drawing                      







Workmen have been engaged during the greater portion of the week remodeling the building occupied by the Wisconsin National Bank.  The windows on Main Street have been taken out; the piers between them taken down, the whole to be replaced by plate glass front.  The remodeling and refurnishing of the interior will be general, and strictly up to date, in style and convenience.    WR








At the annual mating of stockholders of the Wisconsin National Bank held Tuesday, January 19, 1909, the old board of directors were reelected, vis: Fred Miller, H. G. Grube, A. Solliday, Charles A. Feisst, M. Carroll, Henry Mulberger, William F. Voss.  The above named directors met on Thursday, January 14, 1909, and elected the following officers for the ensuing year:


William F. Voss—President

A. Solliday—Vice President

H. Mulberger—Cashier.

A. D. Platz—Asst. Cashier

R. M. Hahn—Teller          WG




The Wisconsin National Bank of this city has just entered into contract with the Diebold Safe and Lock Co. of Canton, Ohio, for the erection of an additional steel lined vault to be completed in about sixty days.


The new vault will be used mainly for the storage and safe keeping of bonds, mortgages and other valuables by the customers of the bank and others, the demand for a place of absolute security, wherein to keep valuables and securities, having become so great that the directors of the bank deemed it necessary to provide such facility to the public.


The vault will be fitted with safety deposit boxes, to which access can be had only by the owner of the box, thus insuring privacy and secrecy as to its contents.    WG






01 16       NEW VAULT DOOR

The Wisconsin National Bank of this city last week installed a new door in the front vault of the bank, which in the matter of workmanship and weight of metal, is not exceeded by any other vault door in the city.  The customers of that institution may well be proud of the spirit shown by its officers and directors in using all modern means to safeguard in every possible way the funds and securities of the bank.  The outer door is constructed of solid armor plate and chrome steel plates four inches in thickness and the entire structure, including the inner door and vestibule, has a weight of 11,000 pounds.  The door was built by the Herring-Hall-Marvin Safe Co. of Hamilton, Ohio, and put in place by L. A. Meyer Co. of Milwaukee, Wis.  WG




Last Saturday was an eventful day in the history of the Wisconsin National Bank, that day being its 50th anniversary.  All day long its many friends and patrons called to congratulate its officers and wish the bank many more years of usefulness and prosperity in the city.  Over 500 ladies and men called, the former being presented with pink and white carnations and the gentlemen with Havanas.  Hon. Wm. F. Voss, the president of the bank, was especially in his element receiving the congratulations of the ladies.  The Wisconsin National Bank is one of the oldest and most substantial banking houses of Wisconsin, and has added greatly in building up Watertown and surrounding country, and all our people take an interest in its continued prosperity. 


The Wisconsin National Bank succeeded the Bank of Wisconsin, which was organized in 1850, the Wisconsin National receiving its charter from the national government on February 27, 1865.  It is at present a member of the Federal Reserve Bank system.


The first board of directors of the Wisconsin National was composed of W. M. Dennis, president; Daniel Jones, vice-president; Peter V. Brown, cashier, Henry Mulberger and Charles Jacobi.


Mr. Jones succeeded Mr. Dennis as president, and was himself succeeded by Frederick Miller, who was the predecessor of Wm. F. Voss, the fourth and present president.


The present directors and officers are as follows:


Directors — Fred Miller, A. Solliday, H. G. Grube, C. A. Feisst, M. Carroll, Emil Tanck, Wm. F. Voss.



President — Wm. F. Voss.

Vice President — A. Solliday.

Cashier — R. M. Hahn.

Assistant Cashier — H. G. Grube.            WG



Notice to the Public.  Having been asked by several customers of this bank whether the banks in this city would participate in the so-called Morgan loan of bonds to the Allies, the Wisconsin National Bank of this city deems it proper to inform the public that this bank will not loan its funds or its depositors’ money to Mr. J. P. Morgan or to any of the warring nations of Europe.


This bank believes it safer to loan its funds to our home people and industries.


William F. Voss, President, Wisconsin National Bank.    WG



DEATH OF WILLIAM VOSS, bank president




     To Be Remodeled


The board of directors, of the Wisconsin National Bank of Watertown have purchased from the Wiggenhorn interests in the building at 102 West Main Street and will in the near future remodel it into an up-to-date banking institution.


Having outgrown its present quarters, the board of directors of this well-known institution have for some time past been planning an addition on the present building or the purchase of a site for a new building.  After considerable deliberation it was decided to purchase this large building which can be remodeled into one of the finest bank buildings, in the state.


The bank’s history is an interesting story of faith. It covers a sixty-year period of development and progress.  The growth of the institution runs parallel to the growth of the community it serves.


Organized in 1865 at the office of the bank that preceded it, the Bank of Wisconsin, by W. M. Dennis, Daniel Jones, Charles Jacobi, Henry Mulberger Sr. and Peter V. Brown, it has been an influence for good in this, community and its presence has made itself known through every year that this country has passed through since the bank was: founded in 1865.  The Wisconsin National bank was preceded by the Bank of Wisconsin and the Bank of Wisconsin by the Jefferson County Bank of Watertown.


Always alert to the commercial needs of the community the Wisconsin National bank has given financial assistance to many deserving enterprises.  Through a sound, conservative policy it has established a good name for fair business dealing. The confidence in the great future of this beautiful city is manifested in the purchase of this excellent building.


In purchasing this new building as a home for the future, the directors of the Wisconsin National Bank are expressing in lasting terms their appreciation of the community’s patronage and friendship in the past.  They wish it to stand as a symbol of their faith in the growth and prosperity of Watertown as well as a pledge that the bank will continue to serve those whose fathers and grandfathers it served through the period hack as far as the Civil war.


As a national bank this institution is linked in a great financial system which includes membership in the great Federal Reserve bank and assures connections with the big banking centers of the country including the national treasury.  Thus the patron of the Wisconsin National bank is assured of a financial capacity in the handling of his banking business not surpassed by that of the leading metropolitan institutions.


The aim of the directors of the Wisconsin National Bank is to make an institution large enough for all the requirements of the biggest business of Watertown, yet not so large , that. any individual man, woman or child will feel out of touch with its personnel or policies.  They have planned a service so diverse and complete that in its various, departments it shall meet the needs of everyone, realizing that in this city of opportunity the small depositor today may be the big depositor tomorrow.


The bank is on the honor list of national banks, having a surplus equal to its capital stock.  The present officers and directors are as follows:  Colonel Albert Solliday, president; Emil Tank, vice president; Frank P. McAdams, cashier; Herbert F. Schatz, assistant cashier; Fred J. Kaercher, assistant cashier.  Directors, Colonel Albert Solliday, Emil Tanck, Frank P. McAdams, Charles A. Skinner, Edwin H. Faber, Fred G. Keck and Carl Keppler.



-- --           SKINNER & THAUER, Lawyers & Notaries Public

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Office over Wisconsin National Bank, 102-104 West Main

C. A. Skinner, Otto Gerbitz, Nicholas Thauer, Wallace Thauer, Miss Schlueter.



08 25       DEATH OF EMIL TANCK, vice-president

Vice-president of the Wisconsin National Bank at the time of his death.



      Agnes Loukota




The Wisconsin National Bank [102 W. Main] has become the first bank here to abolish the old-type bullet-proof glass barriers and fixtures and has replaced them with new, modern banking fixtures.  The work, underway for several weeks, has been completed and the bank today extended an invitation to the general public to drop in and see the new fixtures.  Bank officials will be happy to welcome all visitors and take them on a tour of the bank.  The fixtures were installed by the Taylor-Palmer Co., Milwaukee, manufacturers of bank fixtures and equipment.


The new fixtures permit freer contact with bank employees and eliminate the old barriers which the other fixtures set up between banker and patron.


The fixtures have been equipped with the latest in indirect lighting.


The old fixtures were installed at the local bank in 1931 when many banks were converting to what was then held to be a new and revolutionary system of bank protection.


The new fixtures provide ample protection, since the bank is equipped with the "latest and most complete alarm system.


The bank staff consists of the following: A. F. Solliday, chairman of the board; F. J. Kaercher, president; Walter G. Thrams, cashier; Arthur Turke and Inez Wahl, tellers; Kathleen Killian, Cynthia Engelke and Ruth Boelter, bookkeepers.



      Memorial Day 1951




At the annual meeting of stockholders, held last evening at the Wisconsin National Bank, the following directors were re-elected:  Wm. Bailey, HJ. Burmaster, F. J. Kaercher, J. W. Keck, Paul Klink, J. M. Meyer, A. F. Solliday.  The officers for the coming year are: A. F. Solliday, chairman of the board; F. J. Kaercher, president; H. J. Burmaster, vice president; W. G. Thrams, cashier; A. L. Turke, assistant cashier.  All the officers were re-elected, with the exception of Arthur L. Turke.  Mr. Turke has been with the bank since June 1950, after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, Commerce Department, in 1950.     WDT







Arthur L. Turke, cashier of the Wisconsin National Bank, yesterday afternoon was elected to the bank’s board of directors to complete the term of John A. (Jack) Meehan of 906 Harvey Avenue, who, with his wife, is moving to Florida.  Mr. Turke, who resides at 239 Spaulding Street, joined the bank’s staff in 1950 shortly after completing his studies at the University of Wisconsin.  He was elected assistant cashier in 1952 and moved up to the position of cashier when that office was vacated by Walter Thrams who was elected president of the bank following the death of Fred J. Kaercher in 1956.   WDT




W. G. Thrams last night was re-elected president of the Wisconsin National Bank following the annual stockholders meeting at which all directors were re-elected.  Directors are H. J. Burmaster, Karl Fischer, Theodore F. Guse, Paul Klink, W. G. Thrams, A. L. Turke and Dr. F. H. Zimmermann.  The directors then met and elected officers.  In addition to Mr. Thrams, others elected are Mr. Burmaster, vice president; Mr. Turke, cashier; Orval Vogt, assistant cashier.   WDT




Plans of the Wisconsin National Bank to create a drive-in banking facility for its customers by utilizing the Savoy Theatre building, directly west of the bank building in West Main Street, were further outlined to members of the common council last night during the council’s committee meeting.  Last night Walter G. Thrams, president of the bank, told council members that the plan calls for a tunnel, or direct passageway through the theatre, from the West Main Street to the rear alleyway.   WDT



Work was started this morning on the Wisconsin National Bank project in West Main Street whereby the bank will add to its services a drive-in banking facility, utilizing the former Savoy Theatre building directly west of the bank.  First step in the project is the removal of the theatre marquee.  The Beaver Wrecking and Salvage Co. of Beaver Dam had a crew of men on the job today.   WDT




The Wisconsin National Bank in Watertown is ready to open its new facility — TV Auto Banking.  The new department will be in operation for the public starting Monday, but tomorrow, June 11 the bank will hold a sort of “Open House” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and invites the public to drop in, inspect the drive-in facility and register for prizes which will be presented.  Saturday’s event is being arranged to open the new facility and will be a forerunner to the regular TV Auto Banking service which begins Monday morning.  The new facility occupies the former Savoy Theatre building directly west of the bank building which the bank acquired last year.   WDT



Arthur L. Turke, cashier of the Wisconsin National Bank in Watertown will graduate Friday, Aug. 26, from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin.  The school requires two weeks attendance each year for three years; in addition students are required to do extension work involving problems in all phases of banking.  The present high standards of banking service in communities throughout the country are enhanced by the completion of the required studies at this specialized banking school.  Some 1,300 bankers are enrolled this year from 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Central America and Sweden.  The faculty of 110 instructors are among the most competent men in their professions.  Mr. Turke began his banking career with the Wisconsin National Bank in 1950 following his graduation from the University of Wisconsin, in June of that year.   WDT




Walter Thrams, who has been in the banking business in Watertown for 48 years, and who has been president of the Wisconsin National Bank for over 11 years, retires on January 15.  Actually, and technically, he retired at the end of the year.  But he is continuing on until the middle of the month.  He was associated with the old Farmers & Citizens Bank for 25 years as a teller.  He joined this bank on January 15, 1920.  On Feb. 1, 1945, he became a member of the staff of the Wisconsin National Bank.  He was named assistant cashier.  In 1952 he became cashier and on October 17, 1956, following the death of October 12 of Fred Kaercher, bank president, he became president of the bank.    WDT



Arthur Turke, last night was elected president of the Wisconsin National Bank, succeeding Walter Thrams, who has retired from the bank.  Turke continues to hold the position of cashier.  Turke has been associated with the bank since 1950.  Turke is a native of Watertown, and is a graduate of the Watertown High School and the University of Wisconsin, where, in June of 1950, he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree.  He also attended Northwestern College here.  He is a Navy veteran, having been in the Navy Air Corps.  While in the Navy he attended St. Ambrose College at Davenport, Iowa, and Colorado College at Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Following his graduation from the university, he joined the staff of the Wisconsin National Bank as teller and bookkeeper.   WDT




Arthur Turke, president of the Wisconsin National Bank in Watertown, announced that the board of directors of the bank have voted to expand its banking facilities on West Main Street.


Included in the expansion and remodeling are additional auto banking facilities which are necessary due to the increased use of the TV auto-banking at the bank.


The addition of a mezzanine level adjacent to the lobby will provide new bookkeeping and office space, which is also needed to efficiently handle the increased volume of business.  New teller stations including the most recent government recommendations on safety of depositors' funds will be added.  This remodeling will give the entire interior of the bank a new look while providing a more efficient banking area.


"While it is anticipated that the whole Watertown area will grow rapidly in the next decade, it is evident that Watertown's downtown area in particular will continue the substantial progress it has recently made to better serve the entire shopping area, Turke said. "This was an important factor in the decision to remodel and expand at their present West Main Street location."


Maas Bros., general contractors, will begin construction immediately; and it is expected that construction will be completed before 1970.




         Remodeled and expanded facilities

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The Wisconsin National Bank announced plans for the remodeling and expansion of the bank's facilities at its 104 West Main Street location.


Plans call for the relocation of the banks's present auto drive-in facilities as well as expanded offices for loans and other banking business, according to Arthur Turke, president.


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Five new LeFebure Tel-Air drive-in systems will be constructed with four units operating initially, and the fifth added when needed.  The units will be side by side with an overhead canopy to protect from the weather.


More than 20 cars can be handled in the drive-in area at any one time thereby relieving the customer of the inconvenience of waiting in line on a city street.


Turke stated the LeFebure units are the newest available in the industry.  The customer will be in visual contact with the teller and will talk with the teller by way of a private two-way sound system.  The transaction will be sent back and forth in high speed pneumatic tube carrier units which will complete the business quickly.


Access to the units will be from North Water Street.  A new alley has been added next to the present exit alley allowing for two-way traffic.  The razing of the former Brandt building has made way for a new parking lot which will accomodate over 30 cars and will be used for customer and employee parking.


Work is expected to get underway shortly after Oct. 1 and the bank has made arrangements to obtain the use of a temporary drive-in facility which will be located at the rear of the present parking lot.


Turke said, "There will be some inconvenience during the installation of the new drive-in units but we will do our best to serve the customers as efficiently as possible."


Along with the new drive-in units, an additional walk-up window will be located at the rear of the present drive-in for customer use from the bank's parking lot. This walk-up window will contain a "deal drawer" which will allow business customers to obtain their change without having to come into the lobby.


Two parking spaces for business customers immediately behind the present bank building will allow for access to the walk-up window.  A rear entrance to the bank lobby will be located next to the walk-up window.


When the drive-ins are relocated, the bank will begin expansion of its interior facilities.  The new addition will be located west of the present facility where the drive-ins presently operate.


Fronting on Main Street will be two offices for loan officers.  Next to the loan offices will be a loan counter and work area where payments and other transactions will be handled.  The loan area will be connected to the present lobby.


Vice President Jon Hauser will be in charge of the loan area.  Hauser said, "With the increased office space and work areas, and more of our file information at our fingertips, we will be able to serve our loan customers better than ever."


Public rest rooms and an office for the bank's auditor will be positioned in the middle section of the new area.  Located at the rear of the present drive- in area will be a large room for bookkeeping including a large record storage vault.  The new bookkeeping area will be about twice as large as the present room.


Removal of the inside TV auto drive-in units will make for a quieter lobby well as provide additional teller work areas.


With the relocation of the loan windows from the present teller line, a total of six teller windows can be utilized to maximize customer service.  "We have had tremendous growth in recent years, and as a result this doubling of our floor space has become. necessary," Turke said.


Turke reported that Tom Taylor of Taylor-Palmer and Associates of Milwaukee will serve as architect for the project as he has for the last two remodeling projects at the bank. The initial project was in 1966 when the bank purchased the Savoy Theatre building and installed the first drive-in unit.  In 1969, the bank added a second unit and extensively remodeled the lobby.


Bids have been let and accepted by all contractors involved in the project.


They are: General contractor-H. F. Mallow and Sons Company.  Electrical-Hady Electric.  Heating and air conditioning-Ninmann Heating and Cooling, Inc.  Bank fixtures-Staab Manufacturing.  Carpeting Charles Fischer and Sons.  Drive-in equipment and security system-LeFebure Company.


Work on the lobby and the old drive-in areas is expected to start shortly after Oct. 1 with completion of the entire project scheduled in late spring of 1979.


Turke said, "We are proud to announce the preservation and remodeling of one of Watertown's historical buildings.  We look forward to serving Watertown and the surrounding area in our newly remodeled facility for many years to come."







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WTTN-AM and WTTN-FM moved its broadcasting studios and offices to 100 Main Street in 1979 after 29 years on the third floor of the former Wisconsin National Bank building [Main, W, 102-106], now known as the Valley Bank building [?], 104 West Main Street.   WDT



Death of Arthur Turke, 1927-2009.  Was employed for 29 years, as a teller, bookkeeper, director, cashier and president.




Cross References:

In October, 1845, Daniel Jones came to Watertown and opened a store; in 1852 he opened a banking and exchange office in connection with his store and organized the Jefferson County Bank in 1853, which he continued until 1865, when the Wisconsin National Bank was organized by Mr. Jones in company with the late Wm. M. Dennis, Peter V. Brown, Henry Mulberger and Charles Jacobi.  Mr. Dennis was president of the bank for many years, and after his death Mr. Jones was elected president of the bank and remained its president until his advanced years caused him to retire from active business


Dr. Edward Johnson, at the time of his death he was a stockholder in the Wisconsin National Bank and for a number of years was one of its directors.


Herman Grube served for a time as cashier and director of the Wisconsin National Bank.


In later years the Savoy Theater building (106 W Main) was added to the offices of the Wisconsin National Bank


Edwin Faber, Sr. was a member of the board of directors of the Wisconsin National Bank.


Herman Wertheimer, stockholder in the Wisconsin National Bank




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin