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919 Charles St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

National or State Registers Record

919 Charles St.

National or State Register of Historic Places
919 Charles St. | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:First Kindergarten
Reference Number:72000055
Location (Address):919 Charles St.
First Kindergarten
919 Charles Street, Watertown, Jefferson County

In 1856 Margarethe Schurz started a kindergarten in the Schurz's Watertown home for her young daughter and four of her daughter's cousins. When more children wanted to join, Mrs. Schurz opened a school in this small building. This was the first kindergarten in America.

While living in Germany, sixteen year old Margarethe had been influenced by a series of lectures by the noted educator Friedrich Froebel. Froebel's course was on the "the new education," of which kindergarten was the first step. She later assisted her sister, Madame Ronge, in running a kindergarten in London. After moving to Wisconsin in 1856, Margarethe Schurz applied these ideas to her school.

Until the mid-twentieth century this building stood in the commercial area of Watertown. Faced with demolition in 1956, the Watertown Historical Society moved the building to the grounds of the Richards Octagon, where it is operated as a museum. After its move the building was restored to its original appearance, with clapboard siding and plain board trim.

The property is open seasonally.

Period of Significance:1850-1874
Area of Significance:Education
Applicable Criteria:Person
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Education: School
Architectural Style:No Style Listed
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
National Register Listing Date:02/23/1972
State Register Listing Date:01/01/1989
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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