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Historical / architectural resources survey, Village of Thiensville, Ozaukee County

Chapter 3: notable persons,   pp. 7-14

Page 8

Historical and Architectural Resources Survey
Village of Thiensville                                                     Page 8
Otto Bublitz (1876-1958):
Otto was the eldest of seven children born to John and Juliana (Bruss) Bublitz. Otto reportedly left
the family farm at the age of seventeen and went to work at Thiermann's Store (formerly
Zimmermann's) at 146 Green Bay Road (Photo Code 77/20). In addition to helping keep the store,
Otto cared for the Thiermann's stock. With board, he earned $96.00/year for his duties. After
attending Milwaukee Business College, Otto came back to Thiensville and in 1896 went into the
grocery business with his father at 121-123 S. Main Street (Photo Code 76/13), which was known
as John Bublitz & Son. In 1900, Otto married Helen (Ella) Kieker and together they had two
children, Roy and Mabel. After Helen died, he married Ida Fishback. In 1907, Otto purchased the
Queen Anne style residence at 116-122S. Main Street (Photo Code 75/11) from August & Minnie
Maas, the house of which remained in the Bublitz family until 1989. Otto was one of the three men
that were instrumental in the 1910 establishment of the Thiensville State Bank at 136 Green Bay
Road (Photo Code 77/2 1) and he was on the board of directors for forty-six years. Also in 1910, he
was one of five men to petition for the incorporation of the Village of Thiensville and he was the
census enumerator that year. In 1913, Otto built the commercial structure at 106-108 S. Main Street
(Photo Code 75/14) as an investment property; he retained ownership of the building until circa
1955. In 1916, Otto sold his interest in the firm of Bublitz Bros., General Merchants, to his brother
Oscar. Otto then worked as a car salesman during World War II and later as a machine operator at
the Nieman Canning Company. He was also involved in real estate and was one of the investors of
the Thiensville Realty Company. The business purchased the Ellenbecker, Alten and Kopp farms
(from Mequon Road north to approximately Buntrock Avenue) and either sold off the empty parcels
or built homes themselves and then subsequently sold the land. At one point, Otto also served as the
Supervisor of the Village Board, as well as the treasurer of the School Board.5
Walter Bublitz (1889 -1943):
Born in 1889, Walter was the youngest of seven children born to John and Juliana (Bruss) Bublitz.
He attended grade school in Thiensville and high school in Cedarburg. After attending Marquette's
School of Engineering, and becoming a licensed electrical engineer, Walter worked for the Filter
Manufacturing plant in Milwaukee. While laid off from the job, he learned the barber trade. He then
bought into the furniture and undertaking business which was run by L.F. Bartelt & Walter Kirmsse
and operated out of his brother Otto's investment property at 106-108 S. Main Street (Photo Code
75/14). He then learned the furniture business and became a licensed embalmer and funeral director.
In 1920, Walter erected the Craftsman-influenced home at 127S. Main Street (Photo Code 76/12);
however, he and his wife Josephine (Steffen) and daughter Ruth lived there for just three years and
then moved into the living quarters above the funeral home. In January 1928, Barteltjoined Schmidt
in the funeral business in Milwaukee and the firm name was changed to Walter A. Bublitz Inc. In
5Mohr, ed., History of Thiensville, 4-5, 72, 82; Bublitz family, genealogical and biographical information.

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