History: Greenwood--Watkins Tours (1940 - 1955)


Surnames: Kessler, Kuester, Moseley, Noah, Rolstad, Watkins, Wessel


----Source: Ellmer Noah photos, History Buffs of Clark Co., WI


1917 Postcard of the Watkins Company in Winona, Minnesota


Watkins Company Tours from Greenwood, Wisconsin


In the 1940's and 1950's, the Watkins Company apparently sponsored sight seeing tours for customers in and around the Greenwood, WI area. Elmer Noah has contributed two photos of groups who participated and we'd like to identify as many of the individuals as we can. We'd also like to know more about the places visited, the duration of the trips and any other details anyone may have. Please contact us if you have information to add.


Winona, Minnesota, ca1943, Birdseye View from Gravin Park




I also have a picture from one of the trips my mother took to the Watkins plant in Winona. It was apparently a big deal and I think your 'elegibility' or being invited depended on how good a customer you were.

I remember my mother being impressed with the whole thing. The company apparently treated them to the bus trip and a tour of the plant. Jean (Wessel) Rolstad


Contact: Janet

Do you think this photo was taken at the entrance to the plant? Do you think every trip was a visit to Winona? I remember the Watkins' salesman coming with a suitcase and it seemed he had to return to fill most of the order. I can't recall if he left any of the order immediately. I'm also not sure how many items they actually sold, but I did find an on-line history which I haven't yet had time to read.  Janet Schwarze




Contact: Nancy Moseley

2. Mary Pastor 3. Marie Kessler 37. Leon Kuester's wife 29. Mrs. Schofield 15. Lavern Toburen

There is more that I can't think of their names will work on it.  Nancy Moseley




Contact: Jean Rolstad

Yes, I do think each trip was a visit to the Watkins plant; and yes, the pictures were all taken in front of the home office. Winona would have been a nice bus ride (I think they took a busload)in those days, otherwise it would have been a number of cars. Remember, we were still in (or just out of) gasoline rationing so there wasn't much frivolous driving then.

I think they treated the people very nicely and perhaps gave them gifts. I think it was talked about amongst the neighbors, making it more interesting for the next one to want to go.

I think most of our spices were Watkins. I don't know if they sold cleaning products then or not. What the dealer could carry in his car was what you got and the rest came in two weeks or whenever he would next be there. I would imagine they carried vanilla and some commonly used spices, plus any new things the company was promoting.

The 'Peddlers', as we called them (not a derogatory term), often scheduled to be at our house for lunch time because they parked and ate their lunch in our tree lined driveway. They always asked politely if they could do that.

I'm sure I could have had more information on this, however I'm not even sure if I kept the picture. I still have a house full of 100 years of history to go through. One gets selective by necessity. Jean Rolstad



History: Greenwood--Watkins Tours (1940 - 1955)

Transcriber: Duane Horn

Hi Stan & Janet,

Some of the folks in photo #1 of Watkins Tour. #4. Margaret Schwarze. # 7. Rose Horn #9. Emma Braun. #11. Bertha Dallman. #12. Clara Liebzeit. #23 Marianna Noah.

In Photo #2 of Watkins Tour. #3. Albert Liebzeit. #4. Rev. Paul Franzmeier. #7. Theo. Braun. #11. Theo Humke. #16. Emma Braun. #21. Marianna Noah. #24. Clara Liebzeit.

Am sending the pictures to some relatives who are members of Immanuel U.C.C. Think they will be able to help. Duane  Horn



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