ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Busse Pharmacy

204 E Main


Former Racek Building


The building located at 204-206 Main was constructed in 1853.

It was once known as the Theodore Racek Building.

It began as a saloon, but has had a long history as a drug store

1975, 204 E Main, WHS_005_279


1931       BUSSE PHARMACY, INC., was founded by Ralph H. Busse in 1931.  204 E Main



08 02       NEW STORE FRONT

Work was started on a new front for the Busse Pharmacy in Main Street.  It will have a central entrance with two display windows and will extend out to the sidewalk line.





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Busse Pharmacy, a Walgreen System/Agency Drug Store





1955       RALPH H. BUSSE (10 20 1905 – 08 14 1955)

Ralph H. Busse, 49, widely known Watertown business man, operator of the Busse-Walgreen Agency Drugstore at 204 Main Street, died at 6 o'clock last evening at the Wisconsin General Hospital, Madison, following a lingering illness.  Mr. Busse's home here was at 819 Cole Street.


Mr. Busse's condition had grown steadily weaker in recent days and he lapsed into a coma, death coming last evening.


He was born in Reedsville, Wis., a son of Mr. and Mrs. Louis Busse. He attended the schools there and after graduating from high school entered Marquette University from which he graduated. He came to Watertown in 1930 and entered the druggist business, establishing the Busse Pharmacy which he built into one of the leading Main Street business establishments.


He was married in 1931 to Lois Kloehn of Appleton. She survives as does one daughter, Mrs. Ray Merritt, Tucson, Ariz.; a grandson James Merritt, and two brothers, Dr. Louis Busse, Madison, and Wallace Busse, San Francisco.


Mr. Busse was one of the most active of the city's younger business men.


He quickly established himself in Watertown and its community activities arid in recent years there was hardly a civic movement that did not enlist his help and service. He could always be relied upon to play a part in anything that fostered community betterment or community spirit.


Success came early to him, for he had a knowledge of opportunities and applied himself to the task at hand. He was a hard worker, but he could relax and enjoy life and he had many interests.


Mr. Busse was one of the organizers and the first president of the Watertown Community Chest.  He served three years as head of that group and helped spearhead the campaigns. He was a director of the Watertown Savings and Loan Association and was a former trustee of the First Congregational Church.


Mr. Busse was active in the Jefferson County unit of the Cancer Crusade. He held memberships in the American, Wisconsin and Jefferson County Pharmaceutical Associations.


He was a 32nd Degree Mason Scottish and York Rites, of Lodge No. 49, F. and A.M. and other Masonic groups. He belonged to the Watertown Lions Club, Watertown Lodge No. 666, B. P. O. E., Watertown Lodge No. 830, Loyal Order of Moose, Lincoln Lodge No. 20. Knights of Pythias, the Calanthie Club, the Walertown Association of Commerce, the Watertown Curtain Club, the Watertown Historical Society and numerous other groups and organizations. He was also a member of the Watertown Country Club.


Mr. Busse was also a member of the Watertown Board of Police and Fire Commissioners.


There are many ways of measuring a man's true standing in a community. In Mr. Busse's case it was his readiness to serve in any capacity for any good cause or for community improvement. In his business he held the respect of those he employed and they were loyal to him, for they recognized him as a man of kind and generous impulses, a man who was fair in his dealings with others and who could always be called upon when anyone was in need.


Despite his recent illness, Mr. Busse maintained a cheerfulness that amazed those who came in contact with him.


His death removes from the community a most generous and public spirited citizen, a man who knew how to make friends and keep them, a man who was admired and respected for his many fine qualities of leadership and one who was always willing to contribute something to any movement that meant community or civic progress.


The funeral of Mr. Busse will take place Wednesday afternoon, and the Busse Store will be closed all day Wednesday.  The service will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Congregational Church.


Interment will be in Highland Memorial Cemetery, Appleton.            - Schmutzler Funeral Home



To be given to a Watertown resident who interested in attending the School of Pharmacy of the University of Wisconsin




Busse Pharmacy, Inc., operators of the Busse Pharmacy, where a vast remodeling and improvement project has been completed, announced that the grand opening will be held on Nov. 17, 18 and 19, during the Watertown Dollar Days.  The remodeling has included a new and modern front and extensive changes have also been completed in the store's interior, making it one of the outstanding business establishments in the downtown section of the city.  Busse Pharmacy, Inc., was founded by Ralph W. Busse in 1931. The location has been a pharmacy here for nearly 100 years, one of the best known and best remembered of the former operators having been the Eberle Drug Store.   WDT







10 31       Busse Pharmacy, 204 Main Street, and Union Prescription Center, 501 East Main Street [*], will be merged into one store as of Nov. 1, according to Al Shumaker of Busse.  Owners of the new store, to be called Busse-Good Value Pharmacy, are Shumaker and Bill Devine, owner of Union Prescription Centers.  Shumaker, who will operate the new store, said all prescriptions previously filled at Union Prescription Center can be obtained at Busse starting Thursday.  Busse-Good Value Pharmacy will be part of Union Prescription Center, the largest independent buying group in the state of Wisconsin.   WDT


[*] Cross Reference:  1985 Watertown City Directory lists both Union Prescription Center and Union Prescription Center Self-Service Gas at 501 E Main; Warren C. Schelling as pharmacist of one and manager of the other



A newspaper article with a few people

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07 02       Busse Pharmacy has become affiliated with Aurora Health Care, a health care provider based in Milwaukee.  Al Shumaker, president of the company and chief pharmacist, along with the entire staff of Busse, will continue with the firm, and no changes in the operation of the business are planned.   WDT



03 29       Aurora Health Care closed its pharmacy today and sold the business to Walgreens, who will service Aurora’s former customers but not occupy the store.


Cross References:

1957c, 204 E Main, 1950s-70s city assessor form, WHS_006_022a

1957c, 204 E Main, 1950s-70s city assessor image, WHS_006_022b





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History of Watertown, Wisconsin