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Lewis Monument

 

Dedicated 1899

 

1898

09 21       The bicycle races at Washington park Saturday afternoon furnished amusement for a goodly number of young people, although the attendance was not nearly so large as it should have been, considering Manager Thomas' generosity and public spirit in offering the proceeds as a starter for a soldier monument.  For the most part the races were excellent trials of speed and considerable rivalry was displayed among the participants.    WR

 

11 16       The work of excavating for the foundation of the soldier’s monument which Robert E. Lewis has presented to the city was begun in the city park Monday.  The monument will stand exactly in the center of the park and the base will be twelve by thirteen feet in dimension.  The excavation is to be six feet deep, and as soon as the earth is removed the foundation, built of lime-stone and granite, will be laid.  The monument contractors, J. Archie & Sons, expect to remove here from Waterloo next week and will occupy the old Sleeper plant.   WR

 

1899

05 02       Arrangements have been made for the dedication of the soldiers' monument on the 30th of May.  Mayor Rose of Milwaukee accepted the invitation to deliver the memorial address, and Governor Scofield and staff will be present on the occasion.  Rev. G. C. Weiss will tender the monument to the city, and Mayor Grube will accept the monument on behalf of the city.  Mrs. R. E. Lewis, assisted by four little girls, will perform the ceremony of unveiling.  City and military societies will assist on the occasion.  The music will be furnished by the Sinnissippi and Northwestern College bands.  The local singing societies, with such others as desire to take part, will sing in a grand chorus under the direction of Mr. Sproesser.  The exercises at the cemeteries will take place in the forenoon, the principal ceremonies to be held at Oak Hill Cemetery at 10 o'clock.  The unveiling of the monument will be in the afternoon at 2 o'clock.     WR

 

05 11       The balance of the stone for the soldiers' monument has arrived here and the work of putting the monument in place will begin soon.  J. J. Archie & Sons expect to have the monument in place several days before Memorial Day when the monument will be unveiled.  Fred Gohres will have charge of erecting the stone and work is now going on in the city park prepatory to raising the huge derrick which will be needed for the same.  The poles used will be sixty feet in height and were purchased in the pineries especially for this work.    WR

 

05 16       Work is now rapidly progressing in the direction of erecting the monument in the city square.  The remaining blocks of stone have arrived and the work of placing together the monument will soon begin.  The concrete foundation having already been finished, all that now remains is the erecting of the column.  J. J Archie & Sons, who have the contract, are now setting up the necessary derricks and expect to have everything in readiness a few days before Memorial Day.  Fred Gohres will superintend the job.    WR

 

05 23       It is expected that the soldiers' monument will be in place the middle of this week, and everything in readiness for the unveiling on Memorial Day.  The gigantic derrick utilized in suspending the massive pieces of granite has been performing its work very satisfactorily, under the able superintendence of Fred Gohres.  The monument will stand forty-eight feet high and weigh in the neighborhood of 100 tons.  The official program of the dedication exercises will be issued shortly.    WR

 

05 30          The sun perhaps never rose on a more beautiful day than this, and if the weather only holds as favorable throughout the afternoon as it is at this writing, nothing will be lacking for the greatest and most interesting observance Watertown has ever witnessed.  After weeks of preparation and anxiety on the part of those directly interested, everything is now in readiness for the unveiling and dedication of the monument given to our city by our most worthy and highly esteemed fellow-citizens, Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Lewis.  The monument was entirely in place Sunday and yesterday the finishing touches were put on and the city park made ready to receive the distinguished guests who are here to honor the occasion as well as the vast concourse of people who will be on hand to witness the interesting exercises.  Governor Scofield and staff arrived this morning and are being entertained at the homes of Lieutenant-Governor Stone and General Solliday.  Mayor Rose, of Milwaukee, who is the orator of the day, will arrive at noon. . . .    WR

 

05 30       A dedication ceremony, which was one of the outstanding events of its kind to be held in Watertown in the past century, took place on May 30, 1899.  On that day the Soldier’s Memorial monument was dedicated in City Park, located between South Fourth and South Third Streets.

 

The monument was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Lewis. The monument was formally presented to the city by the Rev. G. C. Weiss, in behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis. Mayor H. G. Grube accepted in behalf of the city. The memorial oration was delivered by Mayor D. S. Rose of Milwaukee. An address was delivered by Governor Edward Scofield. The O. D. Pease Post No. 94 dedicated the monument.

 

A long parade: preceded the park ceremony.  The procession was headed by Col. A. Solliday and aides, Messrs. Emil Seibel, Charles Mulberger, Gustavus Buchheit, Louis A. C. Charboneau and Oscar Wertheimer.

 

The parade was made up in three divisions. Mayor G. P. Traeumer commanded the first division, which included the Northwestern University Military Band, the Northwestern University Military Company, Deutscher Krieger Verein, Governor Scofield, A. E. Needham, who was president of the day, the Rev. G. C. Weiss, W. D. Sproesser, Herman Wertheimer, H. C. Mayer, C. H. Jacobi, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Lewis, Mayor Rose and Mayor Grube.

 

The second division was commanded by Comrade Felix Leschinger and included the Sinnissippi Band, Fire Department, Watertown High School Students Drum Corps, Concordia Musical Society, Watertown Liederkranz, Turner Society, Merchants Association and war veterans.

 

Dr. A. H. Hartwig commanded the Third division.  It included the Independent Band, Common Council, Northwestern University faculty, Sacred Heart College faculty, the Board of Education, Board of Public Works, Board of Water Commissioners and citizens in carriages.

 

An article which appeared in the Feb. 22, 1933, issue of the Times contains comments from a Watertown resident who attended the ceremony.  He writes as follows:

 

"The program at the park, after a lapse of nearly 34 years, is remembered by many who can accurately recall many scenes of that day. The presentation of the monument to the city in behalf of the donors, Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Lewis, was made by the Rev. G. E. Weiss, the pastor of the Congregational Church in a short but fitting address.

 

"The aged couple, modest and retiring in manner, but serene and happy in the thought of having performed a civic duty to their fellow citizens, was a picture not easily forgotten.

 

“Mayor H. G. Grube, in a very apt address, accepted the monument in behalf of the city. Mayor David S. Rose of Milwaukee was the orator of the day.  Rose was a picturesque figure.  Tall, striking, handsome, he employed none of the poses or gestures of the average spellbinder, but stood before his audience, immobile as a statue.  His was an address of surpassing eloquence.  His soft, melodious voice, carried to the outer fringes of a large gathering and he held his audience spellbound.  It was a notable fact that boys and girls in their early teens, who as a rule have little interest in a public address, followed his discourse with rapt attention.  It was my good fortune to have heard some of the silver-tongued orators of the past, such as W. Bourke Cockran, Henry Watterson, W. J. Bryan and others, but the matchless beauty of thought and diction of the mayor's address that memorable May day in 1899 will linger in my mind forever."

 

1904

Robert Emmet Lewis, one of Watertown's most esteemed citizens, died at his home in Washington Street on December 8, 1904, at the close of an illness that confined him to his home for nearly a year. The cause of his death was brain trouble.

 

Mr. Lewis was born December 23, 1825, at Morrow, Saratoga County, New York; January 30, 1850, he was married at Glens Falls, New York, to Miss Fannie Parker, of Parkinsville, Vermont; in 1853 he came west and located in Oshkosh, from where he engaged in the sash and door business.

 

In 1861 he came to Watertown and in company with his brother, the late George B. Lewis, bought a sash and door factory located on the present site of the G. B. Lewis factory in Water Street; in 1869 he sold his interest to his brother and removed to Iowa; in 1892 he returned to Watertown and has since made this city his home.

 

In May 30, 1898, he donated to the city the elegant soldiers' monument that ornaments our city park, and a few years, previous to that erected the fine drinking fountain in West Main Street in memory of his son Clifton Lewis, who died in 1894.

 

1908

Watertown Weekly Leader 06 06 1908

 

Memorial Day, May 30, 1908.  On this occasion, there was a departure from the ordinary observance of the day and highly appropriate and should be continued, and that was the marching of the band and cadet company from the Northwestern University to the city park and placing garlands upon the monument erected by Robert E. Lewis to the memory of the soldiers and sailors who enlisted in the service of their country from the city of Watertown.  And in this connection, it might not be amiss to call attention to the fact, that the names of Watertown's heroic dead ought to be engraved upon the monument.  There are a sufficient number of patriotic men in this city who would contribute the funds to defray the expense if someone would take the initiative.

 

 

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