ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Gamm Corner Drug Store


Charles A Gamm


103 E Main


Charles Gamm Home, 413 N Washington, Queen Anne house, cream brick


Charles Gamm


Gamm Drug on corner, 103 E Main, 1907








Charles Gamm with his only child, Irvin W. O. Gamm, and his wife; c 1896.  Irvin was born in 1895



Charles Gamm and his wife [Dora?].  Outside their home in Watertown.



Herman Zimmermann family.

(standing) Hattie Kant, Amanda Krubsack, ?, Rosie Baganz, Laura Schumacher and Edna Gamm. 

(seated) Dr. Felix Zimmermann, Mrs. Herman Zimmermann, Herman Zimmermann and (Pastor) Martin Zimmermann






05 10       When the post office building has been remodeled, the room now occupied by the post office will be occupied in part by C. A. Gamm as a drug store, the room in the immediate rear, by Joseph Robinson as a barbershop and the Western Union Telegraph office will remain where it is at the present time.  The location is one of the best in the city, being in the business center, in close proximity to Masonic Temple into which the post office is to be moved, two banks and on a prominent corner by which passes many people during each day in the year . . . The gentlemen, who are to occupy rooms in the building, were fortunate in securing the same at a moderate rental.




Many Lives Placed in Jeopardy by Explosion and Fire in Watertown Building


An explosion in Gamm's drug store in Main Street on Friday night at about 8 o'clock wrecked the interior of the store and placed many people in jeopardy.  The explosion blew out the plate glass front and shattered nearly all the windows in the building.  Above the store is located the Wisconsin Telephone Exchange, and the flames and smoke that followed spread so rapidly that the operators barely escaped with their lives.  The floors of the building were torn up and Dell Ruedig, a clerk, who was in the basement at the time, barely escaped through a side entrance.  He was pulled out by citizens.  The proprietor, Charles A. Gamm, was in the rear of the store and therefore was not hurt.  A few minutes before the explosion the store was filled with people.


Ruedig was badly burned about his face and had two fingers broken.  He was able to leave the hospital on Sunday and will be all right in a few days.  Mr. Gamm was badly shocked and for a time was bordering on nervous prostration.  The force of the explosion was heard all over the city and thousands of people viewed the wreck until nearly 12 o'clock that night and all day the following day.


Mr. Gamm had one of the finest drug stores in the interior of the state, and the stock and fixtures are a total loss.  He also owns the building in which the explosion occurred, and this too was greatly damaged.  His loss is estimated at from $7,000 to $10,000, covered by insurance.  The cause of the explosion is a mystery.  There was a gasoline tank under the sidewalk to the side of the building, but this was found undisturbed next morning, but it is supposed the tank leaked and that the gas created thereby entered the cellar and in some manner became ignited.  Some are inclined to the belief that the soda water fountain tanks caused the explosion and others think chemicals in the store may have exploded.   WG



Wisconsin Telephone News:  "Our Madison correspondent sends an account of the prompt and efficient action of Miss Marie Mentink, chief clerk at the Watertown Exchange, when the Exchange was damaged by fire a short time ago.


The fire occurred at night from an explosion in the [Gamm] drug store on the first floor of the building and when Miss Mentink was not on duty.  She, however, came to the building and learning that the operating force had been compelled to leave the switchboard without having time to report the fire to the district manager at Madison, she procured from one of the firemen a rubber coat and helmet and climbed the stairs to the operating room, through the fumes and smoke, where by the aid of the lantern of a fireman who accompanied her, she succeeded in getting through a call advising the district office of the fire.


“As mentioned in an earlier issue of the News, the whole Watertown force did everything possible to protect the property and interests of the company at the time of the fire, which is thoroughly appreciated at the general office, and it is a pleasure to make special mention of the efficient efforts of Miss Mentink, who has been a trusted employee of the company for a number of years.


“There is no doubt, many individuals in the organization would act as promptly in cases of emergency as did Miss Mentink, but here's hoping that these individuals will not be located through the burning of any more Exchanges."   WG


12 30       Otto Hahlmann, formerly employed in C. A. Gamm’s drug store, this city, died on Dec. 16 at his home in Marquette County.   WG



-- --           IRVIN GAMM


Northwestern College Band in 1913.  Irvin Gamm is standing fourth from the right in the second row from back.



Gamm's Drug Store 1914, 103 E Main, Interior, Cat, WHS_004_NT_056

Gamm's Drug Store 1914, 103 E Main, Interior, SE corner First and Main, WHS_004_NT_052

Gamm's Drug Store 1914, 103 E Main, Soda Fountain, WHS_004_NT_053






                    PEOPLE FLOCK TO HIS QUARTERS


The first week of the Toneal man’s visit to Watertown indicates that he is enjoying the same remarkable success here as elsewhere.  The crowds that gather daily at the Gamm Drug Store have been steadily increasing since the day of his arrival.


When interviewed Mr. Daly said “I claim 90 per cent of all ill health is due to stomach trouble.  It is the curse of the 20th century.  Practically all the chronic ill health of this generation is due to abnormal stomach conditions.  Therefore, I believe the human stomach of the present highly civilized race had become degenerated in early days, when the human race was close to nature, and men and women worked all day out of doors digging a frugal existence from the soil, the tired, droopy, half-sick people that are now so common did not exist.


To be sure, there was sickness, but it was of a virulent character and only temporary.  There was none of the “half sick all of the time” condition with which so many are afflicted.


“In the horse, the cow, the dog, when let alone and not turned into a parlor pet, in the wild animals you see no chronic debility, no nerve exhaustion.  It is because their stomachs are in sound condition.  They are not shut in all day with little exercise, and they do not stuff themselves with food when their body has not had enough work to justify it.


The civilized races have been doing this for years, the human stomach has gradually become weaker and look at the result —most of the people are half sick.  I have talked with thousands during the last year, and few, indeed, know what was the matter with them.  One said nervousness, another kidney trouble; another liver complaint; some said constipation, or heart trouble or lung trouble.


Many had treated, as they called it, for all these diseases.  At various times a very common complaint is all run down, or tired all the time, or no appetite.


“I know all this chronic ill health is caused primarily by stomach trouble and nothing else.  Also know that my new medical discovery I came here to introduce will put the stomach in good condition in four to six weeks’ time.  I further know that mighty few people can be sick with a digestive apparatus in perfect shape.


I will be glad to explain my theory and treatments to all who call daily at the Gamm Drug Store.  Hours from 10 to 12 a. m.; 2 to 4 p. m.


Thursday and Friday night will be free nights at the Daly show and an entire change of program will be given.  A splendid program is arranged for Saturday and Sunday night.


The Toneal remedy is for sale at Gamm’s Drug Store.     The Watertown News, 09 May 1917







Charles A. Gamm today tendered his resignation as a member of the Police and Fire Commission.  He gave as a reason that he expects to be absent from the city considerably owing to poor health.  His term expires in 1922.  His successor will be appointed by Mayor Mulberger and under the rule will be a republican in politics.  Confirmation by the council is necessary.  Mr. Gamm was appointed a member of the commission when it was first organized, by Mayor H. G. Grube, and has served continuously since.



08 18       PAUL BEHLKE, former Watertown druggist, died

                He served his apprenticeship in the Gamm drugstore and after working in several other cities returned to Watertown and purchased the Gamm building where he operated a widely known drug business for many years.



Cross References:

Gamm Drug Store postcard, new St. John’s Church

Gamm, Charles, Home 413 N Washington, Queen Anne house, cream brick

Gamm's Drug Store 1898, 103 E Main, signage, WHS_004_NT045




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History of Watertown, Wisconsin