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FIRST KINDERGARTEN - WATERTOWN, WI

CLICK FOR ARTICLE DIRECTORY America’s First Kindergarten: Watertown, WI  The Watertown, Wisconsin, Historical Society, owners and operators of the famed Octagon House Museum and America’s First Kindergarten, paid special tribute to the 150th anniversary of the founding of the kindergarten on Sunday, August 27, 2006. The event was held on the grounds of the historical society, located at 919 Charles St., Watertown, WI.  The public was cordially invited to attend the afternoon festivities which included brief speeches from Mrs. Jessica Doyle, wife of the Governor of the State of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Burmeister, Secretary of Education for the State of Wisconsin, John David, Mayor of the City of Watertown, Joel Kleefisch, State Representative, Dr. Doug Keiser, Watertown Unified School District Superintendent, as well as officials from the Watertown Historical Society. The celebration began at 2:00 pm and after the speeches there was refreshments and a chance to inspect the kindergarten museum building. Founded in America by Margarethe Meyer Schurz in 1856 The kindergarten was founded in America by Margarethe Meyer Schurz, wife of the famous German-American statesman Carl Schurz.  Mrs. Schurz was a native of Hamburg, Germany, and as a young woman learned the principles of the kindergarten from its creator, Friedrich Froebel [cross references [ 1 ], [ 2 ].  In the 1850s she came to London, where her sister had founded the first kindergarten there. While in London she met and married Carl Schurz, then a fugitive from a Prussian jail. They came to America shortly thereafter and settled at first on the east coast and then in 1855 they came to Watertown where Carl Schurz had relatives. Once here Carl began an active career in politics, while his wife set up housekeeping. But she longed for something that would give purpose to her life, so she began a small kindergarten class in the Schurz family home, which was at one time located at 749 N. Church St. in 1856. The Schurz home, known as “Karlshuegel” or “Carl’s Hill” burned to the ground in 1912. The class proved to be very successful, but the noise of the children was too much for her husband, so she was forced to move her class to a small frame building located originally on the corner of N. Second and Jones streets in Watertown.  At the time the dwelling was being used as a private home by Carl Schurz’s parents. It was in this little building that the kindergarten took off. The original class numbered only about five students, the Schurz children Agathe and Marianne, two Juessen girls (cousins of the Schurz’s) and the lone boy Franklin Blumenfeld, son of the editor of the local German-language newspaper. Mrs. Schurz ran her school through 1857 when the Schurz family moved to Milwaukee. The kindergarten continued sporadically here, always operated as a private school, through the nineteenth century, finally becoming a part of the public school curriculum after the turn of the last century. Mrs. Schurz died from complications of child birth in 1876 and her remains are believed to have been transferred to her native Hamburg, Germany. Her husband, Carl, rose through the political ranks, first aiding Lincoln in his bid for president in 1860, then becoming a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, later Secretary of the Interior under Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes and ultimately he went to work in the publishing field. He died in New York in 1906. As for the kindergarten building, after the Schurz family left Watertown, the building passed through many hands, becoming a cigar factory, fish store and religious book store.  In the 1920s a local women’s club, the Saturday Club, erected a memorial marker to designate the historical significance of the building. Then in 1956, exactly 100 years after the founding of the kindergarten, the little building was in danger of being razed.  It was through the efforts of Mrs. Rudy Herman and Gladys Mollart of the Watertown Historical Society that the structure was saved and moved to the grounds of the Octagon House, where it now rests. It has been open to the public since 1957. SOURCE: watertownhistory.org

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FIRST KINDERGARTEN - WATERTOWN, WI
CLICK FOR ARTICLE DIRECTORY America’s First Kindergarten: Watertown, WI  The Watertown, Wisconsin, Historical Society, owners and operators of the famed Octagon House Museum and America’s First Kindergarten, paid special tribute to the 150th anniversary of the founding of the kindergarten on Sunday, August 27, 2006. The event was held on the grounds of the historical society, located at 919 Charles St., Watertown, WI.  The public was cordially invited to attend the afternoon festivities which included brief speeches from Mrs. Jessica Doyle, wife of the Governor of the State of Wisconsin, Elizabeth Burmeister, Secretary of Education for the State of Wisconsin, John David, Mayor of the City of Watertown, Joel Kleefisch, State Representative, Dr. Doug Keiser, Watertown Unified School District Superintendent, as well as officials from the Watertown Historical Society. The celebration began at 2:00 pm and after the speeches there was refreshments and a chance to inspect the kindergarten museum building. Founded in America by Margarethe Meyer Schurz in 1856 The kindergarten was founded in America by Margarethe Meyer Schurz, wife of the famous German-American statesman Carl Schurz.  Mrs. Schurz was a native of Hamburg, Germany, and as a young woman learned the principles of the kindergarten from its creator, Friedrich Froebel [cross references [ 1 ], [ 2 ].  In the 1850s she came to London, where her sister had founded the first kindergarten there. While in London she met and married Carl Schurz, then a fugitive from a Prussian jail. They came to America shortly thereafter and settled at first on the east coast and then in 1855 they came to Watertown where Carl Schurz had relatives. Once here Carl began an active career in politics, while his wife set up housekeeping. But she longed for something that would give purpose to her life, so she began a small kindergarten class in the Schurz family home, which was at one time located at 749 N. Church St. in 1856. The Schurz home, known as “Karlshuegel” or “Carl’s Hill” burned to the ground in 1912. The class proved to be very successful, but the noise of the children was too much for her husband, so she was forced to move her class to a small frame building located originally on the corner of N. Second and Jones streets in Watertown.  At the time the dwelling was being used as a private home by Carl Schurz’s parents. It was in this little building that the kindergarten took off. The original class numbered only about five students, the Schurz children Agathe and Marianne, two Juessen girls (cousins of the Schurz’s) and the lone boy Franklin Blumenfeld, son of the editor of the local German-language newspaper. Mrs. Schurz ran her school through 1857 when the Schurz family moved to Milwaukee. The kindergarten continued sporadically here, always operated as a private school, through the nineteenth century, finally becoming a part of the public school curriculum after the turn of the last century. Mrs. Schurz died from complications of child birth in 1876 and her remains are believed to have been transferred to her native Hamburg, Germany. Her husband, Carl, rose through the political ranks, first aiding Lincoln in his bid for president in 1860, then becoming a general in the Union Army during the Civil War, later Secretary of the Interior under Pres. Rutherford B. Hayes and ultimately he went to work in the publishing field. He died in New York in 1906. As for the kindergarten building, after the Schurz family left Watertown, the building passed through many hands, becoming a cigar factory, fish store and religious book store.  In the 1920s a local women’s club, the Saturday Club, erected a memorial marker to designate the historical significance of the building. Then in 1956, exactly 100 years after the founding of the kindergarten, the little building was in danger of being razed.  It was through the efforts of Mrs. Rudy Herman and Gladys Mollart of the Watertown Historical Society that the structure was saved and moved to the grounds of the Octagon House, where it now rests. It has been open to the public since 1957. SOURCE: watertownhistory.org
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