MISS WATERTOWN RECOLLECTIONS
Last week we carried a mention about Evelyn Loretta Woelffer Snyder, who 80 years ago was named Miss Watertown and competed in the Miss Wisconsin pageant which was held at Lake Ripley in Cambridge. That was the only time the pageant was held in Jefferson County.
In the story we mentioned her children but neglected to include a son, Joseph, who died some years ago. We also left one mention of her middle name with the incorrect spelling. The correct spelling is Loretta.
We had some interesting responses to the article, some of which talked about the pageant’s history in Watertown. It was originally a project of the Watertown Jaycees which was a vibrant community group at the time. Later, when the pageant could no longer be sustained by the Jaycees, it was taken over by a small group of individuals, led by Jim and Lori Peterson who continued it for a while. State pageant officials required four contestants in a single pageant to have the winner eligible to compete in the state contest. Watertown never seemed to be short of contestants but it was the management side that ultimately ended the long run of the pageant locally.
One reader sent us a listing of all the Miss Watertown winners and we thought it might be worth publishing with this week’s column.
That listing includes:
1933 — Evelyn Loretta Woelffer
1968 — Joan Marie Guyer
1969 — Jane Adele Pirkel
1970 — Debra Lynn Knief
1971 — Denise Lynn Klecker
1972 — Jean Ann Clausen
1973 — Mary Catherine Timmerman
1974 — Mary Catherine Timmerman
1975 — Sara Faith Knief
1976 — Mary Elizabeth Noon
1977 — Judith Marie Becker
1979 — Nancy Jeanne Byrne
1980 — Linda Marie Brummel
1981 — Laurie Ann Kramer
1982 — Renee Michelle Robillard
1983 — Marci Lea Fontaine
1984 — Kristin Zgonc
1986 — Kristen Schwegel
1987 — Dawn Marie Laabs
1988 — Jill Van Hoosen (*)
1988 — Ann Elizabeth Smith (assumed city title and competed at Miss Wisconsin)
1989 — Brenda Laurel Koenig
1990 — Donna Marie Smith
1991 — Rachel Lynn Quest
* — Resigned title
The year reflects the year they competed in the Miss Wisconsin pageant and not necessarily the year they won the local title.
We’re not sure if there were Miss Watertown contests from 1934 through 1967, although it certainly is possible, but we do recall Joan Guyer was the first one of the revived program.
These names are sure to bring back a lot of memories. The pageants were one of the highlights of life in our community and were well attended and well received in the community.
NO POPULATION GROWTH
In recent days the Wisconsin Department of Administration issued new population estimates for all municipalities in Wisconsin, and the newest numbers show Watertown has had virtually no growth since the 2010 census.
The severe recession’s effect on the vibrancy of Watertown’s economy is clear with the estimate that shows our community’s population has grown by only four people since the census. Yes, just four.
Until the recession hit, Watertown was building over 100 new homes a year and with those homes come more people, but in the last three to four years new single-family housing has come almost to a standstill and that reflects on the economy in so many different ways. The whole construction industry is down dramatically and until it gets going the city’s economy won’t dramatically improve.
But, for the record, the Department of Administration is estimating Watertown’s population as of Jan. 1 this year at 23,865. That’s only four higher than the official census number of 23,861 in 2010.
Also interesting is the estimate for the Jefferson County portion of the city was up by 26 people to 15,428 while the population of the Dodge County side is down by 22 people.
Here’s a few other statistics for 2013. First on the Dodge County side. A total of 9,319 vehicles are registered and that’s down by 422. The number of people filing income taxes is 5,865 and that’s down by 311. The institutional population has dropped from 230 to 215. On the Jefferson County side we have 14,717 vehicles registered, a drop of 781. The number of income tax filers is 9,751, an increase of 94. The institutional population stood at 74, down 41.
The state also estimated Watertown has 17,860 people of voting age. If that’s accurate, it would mean the community has about 6,000 people under the age of 21 or about 25 percent of the overall population is under the age of 21.
As we said before, housing sales are starting to pick up and when that happens new construction usually isn’t far behind. When new construction gets going, a lot of related businesses will see some positive results as well.