317-321 S. Water
In its day, the old mill on South Water Street was the hub of activity for a farming community.
Hundreds of gears turned as grain was pulverized into flour, generated by power from the Rock River.
1853 One of three mills in town:
1] West side of river,
Built 1848 Red Mill, Big Brick Mill, Blanchard Mill
Empire Mill, former Emerald Mill
A to Z Farm Center
c1992 Bought by Empire Globe Corp.
2001 Building destroyed by fire
2] East side of river, Yellow Mill, built 1842. In 1848 upgraded from water power to steam power
3] East side of river, Big Brick Mill, built 1848.
In 1881, in company with Jonas Sleeper, Fred Miller engaged in the manufacture of flour at the Brick mill, the site of the present waterworks plant. The firm was known as F. Miller & Co., which later became the Globe Milling Co., the output of which at one time was 70,000 barrels of flour a year, and sold out his interest in 1885.
The Empire Mill, first known as the Emerald Mill, was built by Fay & Cramer of Milwaukee on the west side of the Rock River in 1848. On the opposite side of the river, built in 1842, was a mill known as the “Old Yellow Mill” and then, in 1848, another called the “Big Brick Mill”. In 1853 there were three flouring mills as they were then called. This was boom time in Watertown.
1848 EMERALD MILL OPENED
Rock River Pilot, 03 29 1848
The splendid new mill, on the west side of the river, belonging to Messrs. E. & J. Cramer of Milwaukee, and B. F. Fay of this village, went into operation on Thursday last. The mill building is 40 by 45 feet, and five stories high. It was drafted by that able and widely known millwright and machinist, Ira Miltimore of Chicago, and is designed for four run of stone [four run of stone is taken to mean four working pair of millstones], two of which are now working successfully, each being driven by one of Rose’s improved re-action wheels.
A wheel of the same description turns a perpendicular shaft, which passes through all the floors, propelling the machinery that works the smutter [note: a smutter or fanning mill removes the smut, mold, fungus and any dirt clinging to the grain], which is in the basement; the screen, blower, meal conveyors, and return conveyors, which are on the second floor, and the bolts, which are on the fourth or bolting floor. The third floor is occupied by the stones, etc.; the fifth as a grain store. The bolt chest is one of the finest in design and finish we have ever seen. It is 21 feet long, 14 wide, and 14 feet high, and contains five bolts. The whole of the complicated, yet simple and beautiful machinery attached to the main shaft is propelled by 98 inches of water. With 350 inches of water to propel the two wheels, each run of stone has ground wheat at the rate of 25 bushels per hour, and it is believed that 30 bushels per hour can readily be ground by each run of stone. Thus this mill without the additional two run of stone, can convert flour from 3 to 400,000 bushels of wheat annually.
The millwright work has been under the immediate supervision of Mr. Thomas Keegan, a mechanic of no ordinary skill and ability. Mr. Fox, an able and experienced miller, formerly of the Niagara mills, Black Rock, directs the flouring operations. He is assisted by his brother, who is also a master of his profession.
Much credit is due to the proprietors of the mill, for their persevering enterprise, and to the mechanics employed in its construction, for the science and skill they have displayed. No expense has been spared in its completion and everything in and about it has that highly finished appearance so desirable in mills or other buildings but so seldom found in a new country. Those who are competent to judge say that it is unquestionably the best mill in Wisconsin. It is a great acquisition to our village and the surrounding country; and we have no doubt that the proprietors will realize their most sanguine expectations in the deserved success of the Emerald Mill.
Rock River Pilot, 05 03 1848
07 29 LOWER DAM REBUILT AFTER FLOOD
The New Dam - Mr. W. H. Blanchard and Enos Salsich are now engaged in building a new dam across Rock River, a few rods below Main Street bridge, in place of the one that was carried away some six weeks ago by the great flood. The new structure will be built in such a way as to make it strong and permanent, and capable of resisting any amount of pressure that will ever be made upon it by any accumulation of water that is likely to flow over it. When completed it will furnish a splendid and reliable water power, sufficient to carry all the machinery that is now located on the river, and as much more as it may be profitable to put in operation. A large number of men are now employed on the work, the object being to get the structure done as soon as possible, so that the mills now standing idle may once more be set in motion. The two grist mills that depend on this power for water are among the largest and best in the state. Both are being thoroughly overhauled and repaired, and will be put into the best running order. When driven to their full speed, they are capable of manufacturing daily large quantities of the best quality of flour, and their brands stand among the first class in all markets where they are seen. They give steady employment to a considerable number of men, and their success is a matter of interest to all. WD
09 01 RED MILL UNDERGOING EXTENSIVE REPAIRS
The Red Mill on the west side of the river, carried on by Messrs. Salsich and the Greens, is now undergoing extensive repairs and receiving a new run of stone. These improvements will add largely to the capacity of this heavy milling establishment to accommodate the large number who daily resort to it with custom work and also greatly increase its facilities for manufacturing bread-stuffs. Mr. Enos Salsich is also doing another good thing in macadamizing that portion of Water Street which runs from West Avenue (today West Main) to the mills. This timely improvement will render the establishments down there easily accessible through every season of the year, and all who may have business to transact can go and come without being buried in mud and mire, no matter what the weather. We are glad to see these changes going on, as they indicate that our business men anticipate busy times ahead. In this expectation we trust they may not be disappointed. Here is a wide and inviting field for profitable manufacturing enterprises and it has only just begun to be occupied. We hope at no distant day to see it more generally appreciated and made available. WD
07 19 ADDITION TO RED MILL
The Red Mill, on the west side of the river, is among the best flouring establishments in this state. Since it has been owned by Mr. Enos Salsich it has been much improved both in machinery and its capacity to do work. He is now making a large addition to the south end of the main building, which will not only be a great convenience but add greatly to the business facilities of the institution. The flour that goes from this mill has always been regarded as fully equal to the best in the market and brings the highest price, which is the best possible proof of its superior quality. WD
07 26 V. D. Green & Co. of the Red Mills purchased winter wheat; Salsich pushing forward addition to mill WD
02 26 RED MILL OWNED BY CUNNINGHAM & CARR
Since Messrs. Cunningham & Carr have taken possession of the Red Mill on the west side of the river they have thoroughly overhauled and repaired the whole establishment, refitted the old machinery, added much that is new, and put all in the best running order. They now manufacture a quality of flour so fine and pure that their brand stands among the first in the state and readily commands the highest price and the quickest sale. They have all the facilities for doing custom work and farmers from the country always find their grists ground and ready at the appointed hour. They do their work promptly and well, carefully avoiding all causes of complaint. They have a large and well-furnished mill and we are glad to learn they are transacting a business both extensive and successful. The more such manufacturing establishments we have in our midst, the better it will be for the community. There ought to be a far greater portion of the splendid wheat annually raised around us sent off in the shape of flour than has heretofore been the case. WD
03 19 A BIG DAY’S WORK AT RED MILL
Messrs. Carr & Cunningham, the proprietors of the Red Mill, on the West side of the river, with one run of stone, turned out from their establishment one hundred and sixty barrels of extra fine flour last Friday in the space of twenty-two hours. We call that a magnificent day’s work and we hope they will do many more such. We wish more of our splendid wheat could be made into flour and sent to the Eastern markets in that shape. The more of our products we manufacture here the better it is for the whole community. Home industry is the source of home prosperity. WD
12 28 THE EMPIRE MILL AND ITS CONTENTS DESTROYED. One of the most serious calamities that ever befell our city occurred on the night of Wednesday last, the 28th of Dec. 1870, by the total destruction by fire of the Empire Flouring Mills, on the west side of the river, owned by George Smith, Esq., together with its contents, including a large amount of flour and wheat.
The fire broke out at about nine o'clock, and appeared to have originated on the 2nd floor, although nothing definite on this point is known. Those first in the building were so stifled and suffocated with smoke that they were unable to do more than take a few books, papers and $400 in money from the safe, and soon the flames burst forth in all their fury.
The alarm being sounded the Engine and Hook and Ladder Companies were promptly on hand, ready to render all the assistance in their power.
It was not many minutes before the fire had gained such an advantage that all attempts at saving the building seemed futile, and the efforts of the firemen and bystanders were next directed to the preservation of the surrounding property.
Immediately on the north side, and within 40 feet of the mill is situated the Woolen Factory, owned by Mr. Daniel Jones, and containing valuable machinery and stock, and adjoining this building is the Sash and Door Manufactory of Mr. G. B. Lewis. As a precautionary measure against fire, Mr. Smith had surrounded his mill, which was a frame building, with brick walls, and the saving of the Woolen Factory is mainly due to this fore thought on the part of Mr. Smith for all endeavors to save this building would have been unavailing had not the north wall of the mill stood as a barricade between the intense heat and angry flames and the Woolen Factory.
Nevertheless it was only through the most heroic efforts of the firemen and others that fire was confined to its original limits and thus a most disastrous conflagration prevented. The rising flames from the burning mill lighted up the heavens in such a manner as to be seen by persons living a distance of 25 miles, creating a sight at once grand and awful, and the excitement throughout the city became intense, hundreds of our citizens coming out to witness the terrible ravages of fire.
While the flames were at the height of their fury, there occurred an appalling accident, which carried dismay and consternation to all hearts. Mr. Nathaniel Blanchard, while on the roof off his own mill, on the opposite side of the river, endeavoring to protect it from flying cinders, lost his foot-hold and fell a distance of about forty feet, striking on the ice, breaking both legs and arms, and otherwise injuring him so fatally, that he survived only twelve hours.
In the meantime the flames made rapid progress and the devouring element held full sway over the doomed building. The brick wall, however, still stood the severe strain and test, and the question as to the safety and destruction of the Woolen Mill, hung, as it were, in the balance, and could only be determined by the manner in which the wall nearest the building would fall. At length the period arrived which was to decide the fate of some $20,000 worth of property, down came the immense wall, which had stood as a sentinel, with an immense crash. A loud shout rang from the vast throng when it was seen that the wall fell favorably, the Woolen Mill was saved and the further destruction of property saved.
The night was still and cold, with scarcely a breath of air stirring--a most favorable circumstance for the safety of the adjoining property, for had a high wind been blowing the amount of property burned would have been immense.
Mr. Lewis prepared for the worst by removing the stock from his Door and Sash Manufactory, meeting with some loss by its removal. D. Jones & Co. moved most of their removal stock from the Woolen Factory, but luckily did not attempt to take from the building any machinery. Their loss is but slight considering the great jeopardy their property was placed in.
Together with the mill and machinery there were destroyed between 9,000 and 6,000 bushels of wheat, and 45 barrels of flour, making a total loss of about $50,000, covered by an insurance of $21,500, distributed as follows: $6,000 on mill; $10,500 on machinery; $5,000 on stock.
This loss falls with great severity on Mr. Smith, and would crush and dishearten most men. It is barely six months since his fine residence and all his valuable contents were totally destroyed by the fire fiend which has just layed low his flouring mill. The loss of his extensive mill cannot be viewed in any other light than that of a great public calamity, the effects of which are felt by our entire community. Wttn Rep, 01 04 1871
1877 Globe Mill Telephone No. 1 / First Phone Installed in Watertown
In 1877 the first telephone in service in Watertown was installed in the office of the Globe Milling Co. by the late John B. May, prominent photographer of Watertown, who conducted his business on the site of the present Masonic temple and he resided in the home now occupied by Owen T. Hughes,  Washington Street. Mr. May put in telephone service in Watertown at his own expense, and operated it for nine years, and in 1884 he disposed of it to the Wisconsin Telephone Co. WG, 12 29 1932. The Globe Mill Co.'s phone number, No. 1, was still maintained as late as 1957, in a City Directory ad
1880c EMPIRE MILL
03 16 ANOTHER STORY ADDED TO EMPIRE MILL
Next week the Globe Milling Company will begin to build another story on their Empire Mill, west side. New machinery will be placed in the two upper stories and centrifugal and rounding bolting reels will be added. With this new machinery they will be able to turn out even better flour than the celebrated brands they are now manufacturing, and the capacity of this mill will be increased to 300 barrels a day. WG
UPGRADE OF PLANT COMPLETED
12 26 MOVING EMPIRE MILL SMOKE STACK
Edward May has a force of men engaged in removing the smoke stack on the Empire Mill from the present to a new location, so as to connect with an extra boiler which has lately been put in the mill. It is quite an engineering feat, but Ed. seems to be equal to it. WR
01 09 EMPIRE MILL FIRE
A fire was discovered at noon yesterday in the Empire Mill of the Globe Milling company, and for a time it was feared the company would suffer a loss like that sustained last August in the destruction of the Globe mill. But the alarm was hastily given and the firemen were at work without delay, subduing the flames before any headway had been gained. Several streams of water were at work, both on the outside and inside of the mill, and the chances were altogether against the fire spreading. The flames were located in the bran room, connected with which is a conveyor from the elevator. One of the buckets of this conveyor had in some manner got out of running order, thereby stopping the movement of the belting, and the continued revolving of the drive pulley – which was directly at the head of the conveyor, where the grain was discharged to the bran room produced a friction on the belting which in time burned the latter. The communication of the flames to the bran followed, the fact being discovered by William Wurtzler and others of the mill hands just as they were about to leave for dinner.
Owing to alterations being made in the flouring department, the mill was running only its feed department. No material loss was occasioned by the fire, the principal damage being done by the large amount of water poured into the building. This affected the machinery and other contents considerably. It is thought the loss will be at least $1,500. The property is amply insured. It was a narrow escape from a most serious conflagration, and everybody is thankful that if was no worse. The company will be delayed some by the cleaning-up process. WR
01 16 The loss occasioned by the blaze at the Empire mill last Tuesday was not nearly as large as first reported. It was adjusted by the insurance company at about $200. WR
03 15 HARD WHEAT PATENT FLOUR
Now is the time to buy your flour. The Globe Milling Co. will sell you a 49-pound sack of strictly hard wheat Patent flour for 90c., delivered to any part of the city. WG
VIEW FROM MAIN ST BRIDGE
05 25 QUOTATION FOR LARGE ORDER OF RYE FLOUR
Some large orders for breadstuffs are being placed in these times of war at high prices. The Globe Milling company has given quotations to a Pittsburgh firm on a 6,000-barrel lot of rye flour, the magnitude of which may be realized when it is known that the company’s plant would require five weeks to mill the order. WR
05 16 IMPROVEMENT AND ENLARGEMENT OF MILL CAPACITY
The Globe Milling Company has now received all the machinery which is necessary for the improvement and enlargement of its mill capacity. The work of setting up will proceed as soon as the water power ceases. The flour and feed warehouse which is being built will soon be ready for occupancy if the weather continues favorable. WR
02 13 NEW STEAM PLANT
The Globe Milling Co., manufacturers of the celebrated White Daisy and other well-known brands of flour, have awarded the Twin City Iron Works of Minneapolis the contract for a new steam plant. The specifications called for the 14x24x36 tandem compound condensing Corliss engine. The engine is to be completed about May 15 and when installed this concern will not only possess the finest steam plant in this locality, but will have as economical a power plant as there is in the state. It will be the first compound condensing engine in the city. The sharp competition in the milling industry compels all mills to adopt the most economical methods, which was the incentive for the company to go to this extensive outlay. WR
09 11 GLOBE MILL IN FULL OPERATION
The improvements, under construction at the Globe Mill in Water Street for some time, have been completed and the mill is now in full operation, turning out its famous "White Daisy" and other brands of flour and other products manufactured by it. New machinery of the very latest kind for milling purposes has been added, and the mill is now one of the very best equipped in Wisconsin. At present the mill is being operated entirely by steam, but when the remodeling of its water power plant has been completed, water power will also be utilized. The Globe Milling Co.'s, product is very popular in Watertown and vicinity, and the local trade is quite extensive. Some of the largest jobbers and bakeries in the eastern and central states are also supplied with the product of this mill, New York City especially taking a large quantity of the flour manufactured. Over $250,000 in wages has been paid out by this company in Watertown since its incorporation 18 years ago, hence it will by seen that it is an industry that certainly deserves encouragement here, for it is one of our most important commercial interests. WG
Fire destroyed the Lewis Water St building in June of 1909.
04 29 MULBERGER STRIKES AT TRADITIONAL DOINGS OF SHARP HORSE TRADERS
The Milwaukee Journal of April 20th, printed a good picture of Senator Mulberger and a writeup, under the heading of “Mulberger Strikes at Traditional Doings of Sharp Horse Traders,” as follows:
“Senator Charles Mulberger, Watertown, who represents the Democratic Thirty-third district, was born, reared, educated and elected in his home town. He has the reputation of being a good business man, who is much interested in city government. So he was placed on the Committee on Corporations where he would have opportunity to exercise his special training.
“Mulberger tends strictly to business, but he does it without making many speeches or introducing many bills. One of the bills he has introduced, however, may cause all the David Harums and other hoss-traders to organize a lobby, because it includes livestock in the category of things which it is forbidden to fraudulently advertise.
Mulberger graduated from the Watertown high school and the university law school and has been manager of the Globe Milling Co. for eighteen years. He was alderman four years, and president of the fire and police commission the same period.” WG
In front of building is the first motorized vehicle used by the firm for deliveries. Prior to 1922 the deliveries were made by horse and wagon.
Print from which above image was derived.
Do you see that little hut on the top of the mill? My Dad got that when they tore down the top of the mill. He used it for our shed . . . . Boy I remember it like it was yesterday – Wayne G Loeffler, 2014 contribution.
1930 Watertown City Directory
07 04 FLOAT IN CENTENNIAL PARADE
-- -- ED KASTEN, feed grinder
GLOBE MILL BOWLING TEAM
William Hoeft, Arch Grinde, Robert Oestreich
Albert Schlueter, Arnold Reuschel, Walter Geise
06 21 PURCHASE OF HUBBLETON FEED MILL
Announcement has been made by S. C. Northrop, president of the Globe Milling Company, of the purchase of the feed mill of the Auer-Braun Lumber Company at Hubbleton. The Globe Milling Company will take possession July 1 and will operate the business as the “Hubbleton Feed Mill.” The Auer-Braun Lumber Company will continue operation of its lumber and coal divisions as in the past. The Hubbleton feed mill will continue to grind feed and serve the needs of the farmers of the community and will handle a complete line of poultry, dairy and hog feeds as well as fertilizers and seeds.
07 24 Ray Kaercher, vice president of the Globe Milling Company, has been selected to direct the Red Feather Drive in Watertown in October. Mr. Kaercher is now lining up division leaders and laying plans for the coming drive. In the 1956 drive Mr. Kaercher served as associate drive chairman working with industry and payroll deduction. WDT
07 02 ROCK RIVER DIVERSION PROPOSED
City officials and representatives of the Globe Milling Co., and the Jaeger Milling Co., are going to make a study of what effect a proposed Rock River water diversion will have on the city and the milling concerns. The proposed diversion is to be the subject of a hearing at the City Hall on July 28 by the State Public Service Commission of Wisconsin. Curt Kanow, Ixonia farmer, has filed a petition with the commission for permission to divert up to 1,000 gallons per minute each year from May to Oct. 1 to irrigate 60 acres of land on his farm. WDT
06 15 The Durant Manufacturing Co., through its Milwaukee office, announced today that it has found its most satisfied customer right here in Watertown where Durant operates a plant. The customer is the Globe Milling Co. In 1879, W. N. Durant conceived the idea of a mechanical counting device to tally bags of flour at the Milwaukee Rolling Mills. Thirty-seven years before that, in 1842, one of Watertown’s very first industries was established. Recently representatives of these two companies, now only blocks apart in Watertown, had reason to join together to look back through some of those years. Durant manufactures counting and controlling instruments and Globe is a producer of rye flour. The occasion was brought about by the discovery that several early model Durant counters were still being used at the Globe Milling Co. Mill. WDT
07 26 S. C. Northrop, 506 South Fifth Street, board chairman of the Globe Milling Co., Watertown, was honored for his 47 years of service with the firm at a dinner held Wednesday night at the Green Bowl. Officers and directors of the company, plus managers of the five company branches attended with their wives. Mr. Northrop was presented with a valuable set of stereo recordings. President Ray H. Kaercher presided and lauded Mr. Northrop for his many years of leadership with the company. Mr. Northrop went to a consulting basis as of June 1 this year to be succeeded by Mr. Kaercher. Mr. Northrop has been a civic leader locally, being active in Rotary, the American Legion, and served on the school board for 12 years with two years as president. He has also been an alderman here. WDT
02 05 A fire at Globe Milling Company on Feb. 5, 1969.
July CITY'S OLDEST BUSINESS UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP
A to Z FARM CENTER, INC
The A to Z Farm Center, Inc., has acquired the Globe Milling Company, 318 South Water Street, and is now operating the business.
President and general manager is Herbert Johnson of Cambridge. Attorney Donald Rumpf, also of Cambridge, is the secretary-treasurer.
Globe Milling Company is the oldest business in Watertown. It is now in its 125th year.
President of Globe Milling Company was Edward G. Broenniman, Chicago. Allen Rieselbach of Milwaukee had been secretary-treasurer. Gordon Madsen was executive vice president; and Joseph Wimmer was a vice president in charge of flour production.
An important operation of the mill is the manufacturer of flour from barley malt. The firm will continue to buy corn and oats from local farmers, and sell the processed product at retail.
Grind and mix will continue to be offered, and there will be pick-up and delivery in feed along with fertilizers, seed, animal health products and farm supplies. Purina feeds will continue to be sold. To this Wayne feeds have been added.
Until a fire at Globe Milling Company on Feb. 5, 1969, rye flour was milled. Since the fire, this phase of the operation has been discontinued.
The purchase included the acquisition of mills at Helenville, Hubbleton and Hustisford, which had been owned by Globe Milling Company. The Farmington-Rome mills owned by Globe Milling Company, have been closed.
For many years S. C. Northrop was president and in charge of the mill. Following his retirement, the late Ray Kaercher was the manager. Following his death, Gordon Madsen managed the mill. Kenneth L. Burns preceded Northrop in operating the mill. Madsen has been employed by the new firm in an accounting capacity. Wimmer continues in charge of flour production.
Mill was severely damaged by heavy winds in 1998 and what remained of the structure was destroyed by a fire in 2001.
07 09 GLOBE MILL RETAINING WALL
In its day, the old mill on South Water Street was the hub of activity for a farming community. Hundreds of gears turned as grain was pulverized into flour, generated by power from the Rock River. The fate of the historic landmark was sealed late last year when 70 mph winds whipped through the area, taking with them an entire wall of brick along the east side of the mill facing the river. What was a central supporting wall of the mill is now a massive pile on the shore. Owner Larry Mistele, who renovated a former lumber mill to create The Market across the street, said the loss of the wall made the building unsafe. Heavy equipment was on site this morning to tear down the old mill. WDT
05 03 130-YEAR-OLD MILL BUILDING BURNS
2003 ROC building, 321 S Water. The ROC was in the Water Street building from Dec 2003 to Oct, 2009.
2007 RIVER MILL RESIDENCES
12 19 Approval of conceptual plans for the redevelopment of the former Empire Globe property as River Mill Residences. Total project will encompass the area along the west bank of the Rock River just north of the Mill Race Terrace Apartment building and will go north and include the upper and lower city parking lots on the east side of Water Street from the east end of Emmet Street north to include much of the city parking lots. WDT
Ira O. Howe was a miller, 1881
Nicholas Bickner employee
Sanford’s barrels are generally used by our millers
History of Watertown, Wisconsin