WATERTOWN: “SECOND CITY” IN WISCONSIN,
PLANK ROAD BONANZA FOR LOCAL TAVERNS
“After the completion of the plank road, Watertown, early a place of promise, became the second city in the State and a bonanza for taverns; their story, however, has been well told in local histories. People and produce from the country to the west and north for many miles PASSED THROUGH WATERTOWN TO MILWAUKEE, and land seekers made it their headquarters. J. B. Van Alstine, for years the popular landlord of the Exchange, declared that he thought business dull in those palmy days unless he had a hundred guests and as many horses to care for. Two of the old taverns are still running [in 1915], the Watertown House, now the Commercial, and the Buena Vista, which was opened in February, 1848, by Capt. Henry Bogel, a veteran of the Mexican War. During the regime of William Wiggenhorn and his son, Eugene, the Buena Vista was the rendezvous of German revolutionist refugees, among them Carl Schurz and Emil Rothe, while on Sundays German services were held in its hall.”
Derived from “The Taverns and Stages of Early Wisconsin” by J. H. A. Lacher, 1915. Contracts for construction of the road were let in October of 1848.
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Common Council Proceedings. All licenses for taverns, saloons, groceries, and for the sale of strong, spirituous, ardent or intoxicating drinks or liquors, and all other licenses, except for exhibition, shall be issued for one year and shall expire on the first Monday of May in each year; except in special cases, the Common Council may issue the same for a fractional portion of a year, to expire on the same day. WD
A BONANZA FOR TAVERNS
After the completion of the plank road, Watertown, early a place of promise, became the second city in the state and a bonanza for taverns; their story, however, has been well told in local histories. People and produce from the country to the west and north for many miles passed through Watertown to Milwaukee and land seekers made it their headquarters. J .B. Van Alstine, for years the popular landlord of the Exchange, declared that he thought business dull in those palmy days unless he had a hundred guests and as many horses to care for. Two of the old taverns are still running, the Watertown House, now the Commercial and the Buena Vista, which was opened in February, 1848, by Capt. Henry Bogel, a veteran of the Mexican War. During the regime of William Wiggenhorn and his son, Eugene, the Buena Vista was the rendezvous of German revolutionist refugees among them, Carl Schurz and Emil Bothe, while on Sundays German services were held in its hall
08 01 BARTENDERS A BIT ROWDY
Considerable Disorder, Several Scuffles
Yesterday, the Bartenders Local No. 694, Watertown, held their annual outing at the Sauerkraut club.
By 5 o’clock in the morning the commissary department was beginning to assemble, and at 6 promptly the flag went up on the pole of the dining hall. A few minutes later Art Gehrke with his assistants were in sight atop of the refreshment wagon. Gracefully alighting from the wagon Art Glaser dove onto the wash boiler full of fried chicken and attempted to hide one of the fowls for his own personal use, but was discovered in the attempt by Henry McGowan, who lectured severely on honesty being the best policy, and was later ducked in the river in token of appreciation.
There was considerable disorder on the start, and several scuffles, but the arrival of Jack Evans, special officer of the day, put a stop to all foolishness. Evans, clad in a uniform made in New York specially to fit his shape, was a terror to evil doers, and if a fierce glance failed to do the business, the officer would pull his six-shooter and club and charge. This usually fixed em.
The arrival of the orchestra was the signal for music, and Pat Diekoff mounted the roof of the ice house and sang an appropriate song to the fish in the river. As no one disputed the fact that “many brave hearts were asleep in the deep,” he was allowed to finish. Henry Lange also warbled a few as he operated on the accordion. Later on, most of the crowd took a hand at the music, and for a time it was thought that the water of the Rock river might start running the other way. T
The noon-time dinner was something to be long remembered, and full justice was done to the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and all the rest of the splendid eats.
About 2 p.m. arrived there on the scene Denninger the photographer, who with marvelous dexterity lined up the bunch and had them look at the little birds while he immortalized them on the film. As the day wore on, games were in order and some champion horse-shoe pitchers were developed, and some records broken.
A number of prominent citizens dropped in during the day, among them being Mayor Mulherger who had his picture “took” with the rest.
07 10 HOURS
Whether Watertown taverns are to be permitted to remain in operation until 1 a.m. the year around became an issue here last night and the subject has been made one special order of business in connection with the next regular meeting of the city council on July 21. A petition for the 1 a.m. closing was filed by the city's tavern group of the Tavern League of Jefferson County which is now seeking to have cities and townships in the county to change their present ordinances so taverns may remain open until 1 a.m., a policy that is now possible under the recently enacted state law by the Wisconsin Legislature. WDT
07 10 FRAUDULENT I.D. DETECTION
Three Watertown locations will be featured in a film aimed at teaching the state’s bartenders and police officers how to detect fraudulent I.D. cards. A film crew from a Madison advertising agency set up shop at the city park and recreation department, Jewel’s tavern and the Press Box Sports Bar Monday. The taverns were selected to depict average Wisconsin bars, said a spokesman from the state Department of Transportation. The DOT contracted with Knupp & Watson Advertising Agency to create a film to demonstrate how to detect fake, altered or borrowed I.D.s. The film will be distributed free to people who sell alcohol and will be used in bartender and police officer training programs.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin