ebook  History of Watertown, Wisconsin


Memorial Park


1940s, Hartig Brewery in background        WHS_PC266

Far left:  Veteran's Honor Roll





The city property adjoining N. First and Cady Streets contains a flowing well which has been preserved but in such a manner that it would require the talents of an acrobat to secure a drink of water even though there was a cup to drink from.




     Committee Will Buy Properties for New Park

Memorial Park proposed for “brewery lot.”  Current location of City Hall, Police & Fire depts.


Watertown’s Memorial Park was under discussion at the city council meeting.  The memorial park proposition will soon become a reality.  The Memorial Park has been under discussion for some time and the city has already purchased the tract of land on Rock River between Cady and Jones streets known as the "brewery lot."


Properties on the east end of the block, which includes the tract owned by the city, and the property on the southeast corner of the tract, however, are still owned by individuals.  It has been proposed to purchase these properties and include the entire block in the memorial park area.  This matter was taken up by the council last evening and there seemed little opposition to such a purchase. 


Members of the park board appeared before the council and spoke in favor of the establishment of a memorial park to include the whole block between Rock River and North Second Street from Cady to Jones streets.


Those who appeared were Owain T. Hughes, Mrs. Eli E. Fischer and G. M. Gahlman.  A number of aldermen also strongly endorsed the idea and the building and grounds committee and the city attorney were instructed to go ahead with the proposition and purchase the additional property.


The prices for the property include $6,500 for two houses and lots on which the houses are located.  These are owned by Mrs. Mae Davler.  The sum of $2,500 is asked for two lots owned by Mrs. Sophie Delmel and $7,500 is asked by Reinhold Neumann for the house and lot owned by him.


Ex-Mayor Wertheimer also appeared before the council and stated that if the park plan be put into a reality that a bandstand be erected on the premises.  He spoke strongly in favor of the proposition but stated that he was not there to dictate the council's notion, but rather to present his viewpoint and that the council should be allowed to do as it saw fit.


It was pointed out that much of the money spent in buying the properties would be gotten back by selling the houses and moving them to other lots.  A fund of approximately $9,000 is also being held for the use of the park board in converting the land into a park.  This is the accumulated interest from a fund which was created by the late Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Lewis.    WDTimes



The Memorial park plot was turned over to the board of park commissioners by the city council at its meeting last night.  The board was also instructed to sell the properties which are stationed on the lots recently acquired by the city.     WDT




The artistic gateway to the new memorial park was given a 100 percent acceptance by the architects, Clas, Shepherd & Clas, of Milwaukee.


Members of the firm looked over the work and gave their acceptance to workmanship.  Jack Brennan, a local contractor, had the work in charge and despite weather conditions completed the job to the entire satisfaction of the architects.  The approximate cost of the work is about $4000.


It was constructed out of the park funds available under the Fannie P. Lewis estate and it is unique and out of the ordinary design for a park entrance.  It faces North First Street and is the full width of that thoroughfare.  In width it is 66 feet with a depth of 13 feet.  The floor is of tile and cement in panels.  The arch is of French design of red brick and stone, surmounted by huge angular blocks of Bedford stone and rises to a height of 17 feet 6 inches.  A balustrade of stone reaches out to the wing posts on each side while a huge stone urn adorns the center.


The gateway can best be appreciated when the conditions of summer allow a clear view with a park background.  It is something new in artistry in Watertown and will be a fine adornment to the memorial park which will be beautified during the present year according to plans now under way.


The park site now comprises one whole square facing North First Street, the river, North Second Street and Cady Street.  A band stand is to be erected and the landscape gardening work will begin in the spring.


A portion of the land was owned by the city and the rest was acquired by the city on purchase.







The placing of a merry-go-round on Madison Street reminds old timers, and some who are not real old timers, of the days when it was almost as usual an event to have a merry-go-round visit the city to provide the public with entertainment.  Years ago the merry-go-round was usually located on "the old brewery lot" which is now Memorial Park.  On several occasions a contraption known as an "ocean wave" was located there.  Those Were the Days!



MOWDER-HILL STATUE.  Fountain Statue: “Phillis” the bird girl


Donated to the city in 1930 by Mrs. Carry Mowder Hill in memory of the Mowder and Hill families and installed in Memorial Park.  View is to the north and the building in the background was the tasting room of the Hartig Brewery.  Statue moved to Octagon Museum grounds in 1970. 




         Memorial Park Will Be Closed For Repairs  /  Public Is Warned


Memorial Park will be closed to the public for a period of several weeks beginning Monday it was announced by Ewald Brumm, City Superintendent of Parks.


The closing of the park is a necessity at this time to protect the public while the work of repairing the damage done by cave-ins last summer is underway.  Several places in the park caved in above several old underground tunnels which were formerly part of a brewery located on the site.  Much of this has been filled in but due to washouts future cave-ins may result with the arrival of spring weather and it is due to this fact that the Board of Park Commissioners has decided to close the park to the public while the repairs are underway..




The memorial arch in Memorial park which has been undermined by the sagging of ground below it due to an old tunnel is being dismantled and is to be rebuilt at a later date, the board of park commissioners announced today.


The arch was built with money from the Fannie P. Lewis park fund and its ultimate replacement will be carried out with funds from the same source as soon as opportunity presents itself, according to the plans. The fund has been one of the major factors in the development of the park and the city has benefitted through it to the extent of many thousands of dollars.


The arch will be dismantled with the exception of the part bearing the inscription tablet, the railings and the actual foundation. The stone parts will be carefully numbered and labeled and stored in a place of safe keeping so that they may be used again when the arch is rebuilt.


Sagging of the ground under the arch has made it a place of danger to the public and to remove this danger the board decided to have the arch taken down.  Later, when the ground has completely settled, the damage will be repaired and the arch rebuilt.


Tunnels under Memorial park date back to the time of the old [Fuermann] brewery which occupied the site.  Much of this was filled in with waste material, such as tin cans, ashes, etc.  The moisture has now caused the tin cans to break and rust to pieces.  This has gradually helped to undermine the region and the heavy arch has begun to sag to a point where it was considered a menace.


Cross reference note:  1962:  The memorial arch in Memorial park which, since the park dedication in 1927, has contained the memorial inscription to Watertown’s war dead, was removed in 1962 to make way for construction of the new city hall (municipal building).



                        Police photo taken in Memorial Park, Hartig Brewery in background




       Move made necessary by sinking foundation


Watertown's memorial arch, erected and dedicated to the men who fought in the World War, is to be erected on a new spot in Memorial Park, it was announced by Board of Park Commissioner officials following several months of planning for such a step.  The arch, in its present location at the N. First Street entrance to the park, has been undermined by the steady sinking of the ground under it.  Originally this was one of the cellars under the old [Fuermann] brewery plant which is now the site of the park.  The gradual sinking of the arch has covered many years and recently the condition became so bad that the arch has been seriously threatened.


Some years ago the overhead arch was removed and placed in storage until such a time as it would be rebuilt. 


The arch will be located at the corner of N. Second and Jones streets, north of the Oshkosh Fish Company building, the original American kindergarten site. . . .








More people here are familiar with the old beer cellars that are located under Memorial Park, which was once the site of the Fuermann brewery.  After the brewery was destroyed and remained only a ruin and an eyesore the old cellars came into partial view and boys playing on the lot used them for hideouts.  When the city acquired the property and the development of the park began one of the first tasks was to fill in the old passages.  A part of the park area caused trouble for years.  A lot of old refuse, tin cans, etc. had been used to fill in a portion of the place and over the years a section of it began to cave in.  This caused a great deal of trouble for city and park board officials and the great memorial arch, which originally stood at the southwest entrance of the park, had to be repaired and replaced, as the settling ground caused it to crack and break.  After repairs had been made several times and a portion of the original arch had been removed entirely the entire memorial arch structure was torn down and rebuilt at the southeast entrance of the park where it now stands.  That section of the park had never been used for cellars and consequently provided a better location for such a heavy structure as the arch.





Plan to Dismantle City’s Honor Roll


City Officials and Veterans Groups to Discuss New Records


Watertown Daily Times, 12 18 1946


Plans for the dismantling of the present World War II honor roll in Memorial Park and working out a system for a permanent record of men and women who served in the war are to be taken up at a meeting of a city council committee and representatives of the Pitterle-Beaudoin post of the American Legion, the Beaudoin-Draeger-Koehler post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Watertown garrison of the Army and Navy union to be held in the near future.


The present honor roll is to be torn down completely under the plan.  But what other means will be used to make the records permanent are still to be worked out.


The honor roll has served its purpose and has now reached the point where it is deteriorating and must be done away with if it is not to stand as an eyesore to the community; the city council was told last night.  Some veterans have already protested the present state of the roll.




Later:  Honor Roll Veteran's wall, along sidewalk by High School on E Main St




Members of the upper grades in St. Henry’s Catholic School will use Memorial Park, one block from the school, for their noon recreational period, permission having been obtained for that purpose.  The plan was to go into effect today.


A traffic officer will patrol North Second and Cady streets when the children enter the park and when they leave.  Because of this supervision, it will be necessary for the children to go and return in a group at the appointed time.  The children were to receive definite instructions regarding this arrangement to make the order effective.


Children in the lower grades of the school will be restricted to use of the school grounds, now greatly reduced in area because of the larger space occupied by the new school which was opened last week.



                    FAIR DAY IN MEMORIAL PARK AREA

  Image Portfolio   1950s portfolio of Images       Fair Day held on N Second St., Memorial Park area.




After flying over the city to announce his arrival, Santa Claus will land at the Watertown Airport next Friday afternoon at 2:20 o’clock, make a quick trip to the recreation building and join the parade which is scheduled to get underway without delay soon after.  The Candy Stick Palace where Santa will make his headquarters will be placed in Memorial Park.  First plans were to locate it in Madison Street on the Bank of Watertown parking lot but it was decided Memorial Park will offer better facilities and that is where it will go up next week.


The parade next Friday will start from the recreation building at 2:30 p.m. and will go through Main Street and wind up at Memorial Park.  The Watertown Municipal Band will join the parade as will the Watertown High School band and 1961 homecoming queen, Karen Ahlhorn and her court.


The Candy Stick Palace will be open every night on which Watertown stores are open, from 6:30 to 8:30 o’clock as well as every Saturday afternoon from 2:30 to 5 o’clock, and Santa will be there at such times to greet children, give each one a favor and camera service will be available for those who wish to have their picture taken with Santa Claus.


Choral groups have been contacted for providing concerts at the Memorial Park band shell near which Santa’s Candy Stick Palace will be located during the holiday season.  Santa’s arrival will feature the start of the Christmas shopping season in Watertown and starting that night the city’s new street decorations will be lighted up for the first time.      WDT




By a vote of 12 to 2 and with no debate whatever, the common council last night approved Memorial Park as a site for Watertown’s proposed new city hall, which is to include both fire and police department headquarters.  Last night’s approval had been foreshadowed on Monday when the aldermen held their committee meeting and at which only two aldermen — Erich E. Nuernberg and Kenneth Wilkes — indicated they would oppose the plan.  They cast the only two negative votes on the resolution last night, a resolution which was introduced by Alderman William Wiegand, the council’s president.   WDT



Alderman Kenneth Wilkes, second ward, remains the only holdout in the common council on the proposal calling for a new city hall, including both police and fire department facilities, in Memorial Park.  On a roll call vote at last night’s meeting of the council to engage the services of William Horne, Madison architect, in preparing the plans and specifications for the proposed building, Wilkes cast the dissenting lone vote which was 12 to 1, with Alderman Floyd Shaefer absent.  The plans for the new building are expected to be ready for submission at the March 6 meeting of the council.  In addition to giving the go ahead signal to the architect, the council approved a resolution calling for soil borings in the Memorial Park area to determine construction factors.   WDT




The memorial arch in Memorial Park which, since the park dedication in 1927, has contained the memorial inscription to Watertown’s war dead, has been removed to make way for the new use for the park — the site of Watertown’s new $817,000 city hall, a project which is just getting underway and which is due to be completed by the summer of 1964.  The late Henry Richard Little, Chicago Tribune columnist who wrote the words used on the inscription, was the principal speaker at the time the park was dedicated.   WDT




The common council by unanimous vote last night gave the go ahead signal for a project which has been kicked around here for several years, including not only by the present council but during the previous one.  It approved contracts and financing for a new city hall which will be located in Memorial Park.  The meeting last night had been set for the specific purpose of taking final action on the proposal and as expected, the council decided to approve the project, since practically all arguments for and against it had long ago been exhausted.   WDT



04 08       CITY’S HONOR ROLL

The request from the Watertown Veterans Council that the city’s honor roll be placed somewhere in the new Watertown Municipal Building or city hall now nearing completion in Memorial Park is being considered and will in all probability be carried out.  The veteran’s council has also requested that the name of the present City Park, between South Third and South Fourth Streets, be changed to Veterans Memorial Park and this is also to receive serious study in the next few weeks.   WDT




Mayor Robert P. White and aldermen were told last night by the Watertown Veterans Council, which constitutes the city’s three largest service organizations, that they are tired of “getting the runaround” on setting up an Honor Roll listing the names of Watertown men who served in both World Wars and the Korean Conflict.  John Kube, serving as the principal spokesman for the Veterans’ Council, told the meeting last night that since March 1952, when the Honor Roll matter was first brought up there has been nothing but delay and no progressive action.  Mr. Kube cited dates and years in which meetings have been held to see the plan through and said, “We have got the runaround to date.  We got the runaround during Mayor Byron F. Wackett’s administration; we got the runaround during the tenures of City Managers Dean Van Ness and Claire C. Congdon and we have so far gotten the runaround from Mayor White — it’s time you got this thing moving so we suitably honor our men who served their country, as was originally intended when we brought this matter up the first time and through successive requests since 1952.”   WDT



Plans for Watertown’s honor roll, worked out by the Watertown Veterans Council and a common council committee, were relayed to the council last night.  A monument, suitably inscribed, will be erected on the outside of the municipal building while a machine, with rotating shelves on which will be placed the names of men who served in World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict will be located in the lobby of the building.  Lighted and manipulated by pressing a button, the shelves will move to the desired position to reveal the names.  Those will be listed alphabetically by the three wars.  The old Memorial Arch plaque, which was located in the former Memorial Park, will be placed in Veterans Memorial Park, formerly City Park.   WDT








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History of Watertown, Wisconsin