An opportunity to service The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Co. (T.M.E.R.&L.) was the reason that this building was built. It was originally used as a depot for the interurban railway that ran southwest between Milwaukee and Burlington. It was part of a much larger railway network that allowed for convenient transportation between the many villages and towns located from Sheboygan – on the North, Watertown – on the West, and Kenosha – on the South, to the center of Milwaukee.
A lot of political and commercial “maneuvering” was engaged in to get the railway to run in this direction. When it finally opened, July 2, 1909, a parade was held two weeks earlier to commemorate the event.
A series of Weekly passes have been found and are on display at The Rail Stop Saloon. A $1.00 Weekly Pass is equivalent to $15.31 in 2018 dollars.
Keys and a coat button were found buried on the property during renovation.
The origins and subsequent operation of the T.M.E.R.&L. are well chronicled in a book by Charles H. Damaske; Along the Right-of-Way to Burlington, 1994. Most of the articles were gleaned from the Waterford Post, Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel and assembled with pictures to take you back in time.
Early history of the Fred Winters building is well chronicled in the Waterford Post Publication: Stories of Waterford and It’s Busy Life, 1923. Click HERE to read it.
After the close of the T.M.E.R.& L., the building was converted into a tavern and living quarters on the second floor. The first tavern was Pritty’s Tavern, operated by Mel and Hiram Pritty. The years of operation are unknown. Note the telephone number of BRK104.
Shreihart’s Bar, operated by John and Helen, became the second tavern to occupy this site. Its years of operation are unknown as well.
The third tavern business was Koch’s Korner, operated by Charlie and Cookie Koch, ran until the early 1990s when it was converted into a residential property. It remained residential until Debbie Heinowski bought it and converted it back to it’s historic state as much as possible. It re-opened as The Rail Stop Saloon October 1, 2013. The Rail Stop serves a light food menu in addition to a full bar.
Stop by to visit, have a cold beverage, or just to look at the historic memorabilia on display.
Researchers: Debbie Heinowski, Bob Gariepy, Sr., Angionette Hansen
NOTE: Should the reader have further documentation to enhance the content of this web page, please contact the Lead Researcher through Absolutely Waterford. We are particularly interested in pictures or historic artifacts that may be shared. Credit will be given.
Waterford Library History Room: Charles H. Damaske; Along the Right-of-Way, 1994.
Waterford Post Publication: Stories of Waterford and It’s Busy Life, 1923.
Waterford Library Digital Collection