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Wisconsin National Register of Historic Places

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Brandt House
410 South Fourth Street, Watertown, Jefferson County
Dates of construction: 1874, 1919
Architect: unknown

During the mid-19th century, the small Yankee village of Watertown, Wisconsin saw the influx of a large and influential group of German immigrants. Many came after 1848, driven to the United States by political strife. Friedrich Brandt and Wilhelmine Bruck were part of this mass immigration and their union produced Edward J. Brandt, one of the most important industrialists in Watertown in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Edward was not just an important businessman, he and his wife, Thekla, were also talented leaders in the vibrant ethnic German music community in Watertown.

Friedrich Brandt built the original Brandt House in 1874, and Edward J. Brandt spent his formative years there. After graduating from a business course at Watertown's local academy, Edward Brandt took a job as a bookkeeper at the Bank of Watertown in 1877. By 1884, he was the bank's Cashier, or manager. While managing the bank in 1893, Brandt invented the Automatic Cashier, a machine that revolutionized cash handling for payrolls and banks. He used the facilities of a former gas and electric light fixture manufacturing plant he had bought into in 1890 to make his new machine. It would be a great success and was the foundation of twentieth century Brandt, Inc., a manufacturer of cash handling equipment and supplies that was an industrial leader in Watertown during the twentieth century. The company, now a subsidiary of the De La Rue Corporation of England, continues to produce cash handling equipment today.

In 1919, Edward and Thekla, and their daughter Eugenia and her husband, Earl Quirk, transformed the Brandt house (where Edward and Thekla had lived for many years with Friedrich and Wilhelmine) into the beautiful duplex it is today, combining the original Italianate style details with Colonial Revival decoration, both inside and out. The Brandt-Quirk family owned the house until 1989. After a period of ownership out of the family, in 2004, the home once again became part of the Brandt family when it was acquired by Edward and Thekla's great-grandson, James Quirk, and his wife Deborah.

The house is a private residence and is not open to the public. Please respect the rights and privacy of the owners.


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