“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Watertown in Carver County, Minnesota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Watertown Pioneer Days

Watertown Pioneer Days Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 2, 2022
1. Watertown Pioneer Days Marker
Civil War
100 Watertown pioneers served in the Union Army during the Civil War. They served in infantry, artillery, and cavalry regiments. By 1865 there was not a man left in the area between the ages of 18 and 45; the town remained at a standstill. A dozen Watertown soldiers died during the war and many were wounded or suffered from disease. After the war, the returning soldiers contributed to the development of the Watertown community through their business and farming endeavors.

Livestock Fairs
Watertown was noted for its livestock fairs. The day was considered a big event; settlers coming from miles around made it a point to come to town. Many were forced to walk in the street as the board walks overflowed. Every hitching post had a team of horses tied to it. The center of the road was one massive corral where two to three hundred cattle were bartered to buyers from the cities. Horse trading was the biggest event of the day, with the high pitched neighs of fiery tempered horses, lowing of cattle, and the squealing of pigs filling the air.

History of the Watertown Mills
Alexander Moore, encouraged
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by Isaac Lewis, brought in a portable sawmill in the fall of 1856 and started sawing lumber so that several houses and a hotel could be built before winter set in. In 1859, Eli F. Lewis and Isaac I. Lewis took possession of the mill and moved it to the east side of the river. They also built and operated a grist mill. Watertown's first industry, milling, continued to be an important part of the operations in the mill reserve area south of downtown. Between 1856 and 1884, the mill was destroyed by fire three times. In 1884, the mill was built in a new location at the south end of Lewis Street (Lewis Ave). The-mill burned again in 1920. The Watertown Co-Op Grain & Fuel Association was built at the same location in 1921.

1965 Flood
The Crow River is prone to flooding. In May 1965 the Crow River reached a record high of approximately 18 feet in Watertown. Many homes and businesses were impacted. An emergency levee was constructed in the downtown area in response to the extensive impact the flood had on this community. Flooding that year forced evacuations in Watertown along the Crow River.

To list all the names of the hard-working, self-sacrificing men, women, and children who walked this way before, would be impossible. Through all manner of hardship, they kept looking forward so their families and ours might live, learn, work, and play in this beautiful place
Marker detail: Watertown Mills image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Watertown Mills
that we too call home. Let us acknowledge their labors of love and honor them with our own efforts by keeping Watertown a safe and growing community.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsIndustry & CommerceSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. A significant historical year for this entry is 1865.
Location. 44° 57.887′ N, 93° 50.746′ W. Marker is in Watertown, Minnesota, in Carver County. Marker is on Lewis Avenue North, 0.1 miles north of Territorial Street West, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located along the riverwalk, north of the traffic roundabout. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Watertown MN 55388, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Lewis Avenue North Historic District (within shouting distance of this marker); People & Places in Our History (within shouting distance of this marker); Early Watertown History (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dakota Rail History in Mayer (approx. 5.9 miles away); In Memory of All American Veterans (approx. 6.3 miles away); St. Bonifacius: A Cold War Battlefront (approx. 6.3 miles away); Nike Missiles: Dedicated to Defense (approx. 6.3 miles away); "Golden Buckle of the Dairy Belt" (approx. 8.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Watertown.
Also see . . .
Marker detail: Livestock Fairs image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Livestock Fairs
Started in 1866
 History of Watertown, Minnesota.
Daniel and Anna Justus were the first white settlers in the area of Watertown Township in the spring of 1856 on the shores of Swede Lake. They did not know about the village of Watertown, which was three miles northwest of the Justus place, until three years later.

Settlers John Buehler, Dr. Benedict Leman, Seraphin Kemf, Anton Sunie, Benjamin Franklin Light, August and Justus Krause, Joe Gast, and John P. Miller with their families entered the township and struck claims for permanent settlement soon after the town was platted.

(Submitted on December 27, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
Marker detail: Watertown 1885 image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Watertown 1885
Looking west across the river.
Marker detail: 1965 Flood image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: 1965 Flood
Looking east across the river.
Watertown Pioneer Days Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 2, 2022
6. Watertown Pioneer Days Marker
(looking east from riverwalk on east side of Lewis Avenue North)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on December 27, 2022, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jul. 12, 2024