THE GREAT WAUKESHA SPRINGS ERA: 1868 - 1918
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
NOW AVAILABLE!
$26.00 by mail or $19.95 at The Waukesha County Museum Bookstore or from the author.
 email the author for more information at thbolt@milwpc.com
 
 
Chapter One
 
 
ARCADIAN AND ROXO SPRINGS: The Ideal Waukesha Water
    James Kennedy Anderson was involved with many of Waukesha’s springs. He was the son of a Waukesha grocer. The Anderson family came to Waukesha in 1869. James was was born in Canada in 1850. In 1877, he married a wealthy Chicago woman named Rose Shipman whose father was a famous architect.
    Anderson owned a huge home on the grounds of the former Hickory Grove Brewery. The mansion was named Hickory Grove Villa and was located on the corner of Arcadian and Hartwell Avenues. Sometime later, the name of the hill was changed to Arcadian Heights and then Resthaven Hill. The Andersons had six children.
    J. K. worked at Silurian Spring, starting as a salesman, eventually making his way up to higher positions. His brother, William, was also involved with Silurian. In 1885, James started his own company, when the Arcadian Mineral Spring Company was incorporated. Sources give varying dates for the incorporation, including 1883 (Wisconsin Story, Usher, 1913), 1884 (1890-91 Gazeteer, 1907 Memoirs of Waukesha County), and 1885 (Waukesha Freeman 1938 article, city directories). However, the following was found in the Waukesha Freeman of May 22, 1884.
   The Arcadian Mineral Spring, lately opened on the grounds of J. K. Anderson Esq., is to be managed by a company organized under the laws of Illinois. The articles of incorporation were filed May 13, the incorporators named being Messers J. K. Anderson and A. J. Thompson of Waukesha and Messers Geo. M. Graves, J. P. Sherman, and Rockwood M. Hosmer of Chicago.
    The August 4th edition of the same paper reported that a bottling plant would be built.
 Mr. J. K. Anderson, manager of the Arcadia Spring, has purchased, for the Spring Company three lots directly across the street from the spring and intends to erect thereon a bottling house which shall compare favorably with the springhouse and office now being completed. The location of the bottling house being ten feet lower that the spring will do away the necessity of pumping water and thus save much labor when operations are commenced.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There were evidently a few other improvements to the area, and the Freeman also reported that Pratt Street was being “polished up under the joint care of the village and the Spring Company” (Freeman, July 17, 1884).
     The following year, a small, handsomely illustrated booklet was advertised as being available to the public by writing to the Arcadian Mineral Spring Company in Waukesha. The booklet, copyrighted in 1885, contained much information about the spring and the company which was formed to promote the “Ideal Waukesha Water.”
     The officers of the company in 1885 were Henry Phelps, president; A. J. Thompson, vice president; and Anderson, secretary and treasurer. The board of directors included Phelps, Anderson, Thompson, H. S. Dale, Jr., and H. W. Phelps. Phelps received special mention in the Freeman, which stated that he was giving much attention to the business here and was “an exceedingly pleasant gentleman and a thorough going business man.” Other interesting facts were noted in the booklet.
    • The Arcadian Water is drawn from the heart of the spring--about nine feet below the surface--through a solid block-tin pipe directly to the package in which it is shipped; the outlet of the pipe at the bottling house being about 300 feet from the spring and twelve feet below it, so that the water is carried by its own pressure, and does not pass through the pipes and valves of an old pump, as is often the case at mineral springs.
     • The water as it bubbles up from the spring has a temperature of 43 degrees Fahrenheit.
     • The reaction of the water is alkaline.
     • The effect of the water depended on temperature, quantity, time and carbonic-acid gas.
     The Waukesha Freeman ran an editorial in its February 12, 1885 issue which freely described the operation and surroundings of Arcadian. It was quoted verbatim in the advertising booklet, and is used here to provide a description of the new enterprise.
 
 THE ARCADIAN SPRING
     The Arcadian Spring Company of Waukesha has proceeded quietly, with well defined plan, but without expending any of its energies in attempting to attract undue attention in its work of making a striking and remarkable addition to the attractions of Waukesha. The new office and reception building of this company, its beautiful structure over the spring, and its elegant and capacious bottling house, form together a superb group of edifices such as the other springs of Waukesha have not found it in their way to construct. To Col. S. V. Shipman of Chicago, the architect in charge, is due the credit for the attractive and harmonious character of these buildings (Shipman was J. K. Anderson’s father-in-law). The whole property, when the furnishing of the office and reception rooms shall have been completed will represent an actual investment of fully $60,000. To remain silent longer in relation to this matter would be an injustice to Waukesha as well as Arcadian Spring, and we therefore take this opportunity of giving our readers some idea on the liberality of expenditure and completeness of detail, which distinguish this enterprise from all others of like character.
     To begin with, the Arcadian Spring itself was excavated to a depth of twelve feet, and from the bottom upward was massively lined with masonry and cement, this lining being carried backward, when it reached the bank of impervious clay near the top, to a width of three feet all around the spring, and from the center of the clay bed, this lining was carried to the top of the ground. A massive slab of stone was put across so as to form a false bottom about four feet from the top, and a beautiful, blue-veined, Italian marble basin completes the top of the spring. A border of California onyx is carried around the top of this basin and around the tube into which the overflow of this spring is discharged.
     From beneath this marble basin a solid, two inch, pure block-tin pipe conveys the water by the natural force of gravity from the heart of the spring to the bottling house, which is some three hundred feet away, and on considerably lower ground. So thoroughly has this work been done that the lining to the spring, the improvement of the ground in its vicinity, and the carrying of this pipe line to the bottling house, cost quite $2,000.
     In the bottling establishment, this main pipe divides, one branch of it conveying water directly to the barreling department, and another conveying it to a large tank situated in the third story and lined with sheets of pure block-tin, which were rolled from ingots of the unalloyed metal at Chicago. This tank holds 1,600 gallons of water and supplies the Arcadian for bottling purposes and for the manufacture of ginger ale. From this tank in the third story the water is conducted to the bottling machinery in the first story by pipes of pure block-tin, running in every direction, to the various machines connected with the bottling and aerating of these delightful beverages.
     Of the grounds surrounding the spring and its buildings, it is hardly necessary to speak at this time, as their elegant tastefulness has been commented upon at length in these columns and in general conversation of all the citizens of Waukesha.
     Profiting by the experience of years in the spring business, by intelligent observation, and by the record of experience and observation of others, the manager, Mr. J. K. Anderson, with ample means at his disposal, has been able to add to the natural advantages of the Arcadian all the advantages that science can suggest in the way of preserving the purity and medicinal properties of the water.
 In  the company’s office may be seen, framed, the following certificate, which speaks for itself:
 
OFFICE OF BRATBY & HINCHLIFFE
AERATED WATER ENGINEERS AND MFG. CHEMISTS
Manchester December 1, 1885
 We hereby certify that the Lancashire continuous aerating machinery furnished by us to the Arcadian Mineral Spring Co. of Waukesha, Wisconsin, U. S. A., has been thoroughly silver plated on the inside of pipes and cylinders, so that Arcadian water, from the time it enters the conducting pipes of this machinery direct from the spring until it enters the bottle from which it will be sold, will come in contact with no metal except silver.
 In addition to the natural Arcadian water in barrels, ten-gallon tanks, and bottles, sold as it comes from the spring - and the aerated water - the Arcadian Company has engaged in the manufacture of a superb article of ginger ale, which is the happy result of the combination of two excellent formulae, for one of which several thousand dollars have repeatedly been refused.
     This article is prepared under the personal supervision on the vice-president of the company, Mr. A. J. Thompson, in a laboratory provided with every needful appliance and situated at the east end of the second story. The extract of ginger is made at this laboratory from the finest variety of freshly imported ginger root, and to this is skillfully added the juices of tropical fruits, Arcadian Water and sugar loaf.
 
     Seldom can one find such an accurate and complete description of a bottling operation. This showed how expensive and elegant Arcadian actually was. In fact, another Freeman article (August 6, 1888) mentioned that the grounds were beautifully illuminated by electric lights.
    The 1887 season started when the bottling machinery began working on the first of February. It ran continuously until the third week of July when a problem developed. The problem was not with the machinery, but with the bottles. A shipment had been ordered from Germany, but they were delayed, and so the bottling machinery sat idle until they arrived. Anderson continued advertising his new venture, and the October 22, 1877 Waukesha County Democrat reported that he had returned from a trip to the South, where he traveled in the interests of Arcadian Water.
     In 1888, the managers of the company hired an orchestra to play concerts at the park. DeBonos Italian Orchestra from Milwaukee was contracted to play concerts from ten to twelve and four to six every day of the week and an additional evening concert on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. This orchestra had played in Waukesha before and was quite popular. In fact, when it was announced that it would be performing, a large group of people came to the park, but the orchestra did not appear. The disappointed crowd learned that there had been a mistake in the newspaper and that there was not a concert scheduled for that day. The remainder of the summer concerts went smoothly.
The Butz Brothers
     The June 30, 1888 Waukesha Journal carried an interview with Walter Butz, who with his brother Alvin, had moved to Waukesha. Walter and Alvin were Iowa wholesale grocery dealers. In 1886 they ordered a small amount of Arcadian Water, Aerated Arcadian, Lemon Nectar, and Ginger Ale. Their total order came to under $100. They distributed those products to their customers and immediately began to receive more orders. They arranged for a train carload of products, and it went quickly too. Within six months they had sold eleven carloads of Arcadian and secured the Arcadian franchise for Iowa.
     Soon after that, they purchased the franchise for six additional western states and guaranteed that they could sell three hundred carloads per year. They gave control of their grocery business to a third brother and came to Waukesha to help run the Arcadian Company. Because of the increase in business, the company was required to double the size of the bottling plant. Thirty-five men were employed in all facets of the operation. Walter said,
     We have engaged an ideal orchestra for the season, and with our neatly kept grounds, clear, refreshing spring and the most cozy and coolest reception building extant, supplied with daily papers and magazines, and all free of charge, we are doing everything in our power to make Waukesha and the Arcadian Spring popular with visitors.
     Because of the great demand, the pump at the plant was often put into use. This sometimes caused the water level in the spring to dip below the surface level, leading to reports that the spring could not supply all the demand. The owners made sure that this misconception was corrected by publishing assurances that even though the water looked to be low, it was never drawn more than six feet from the bottom.
     An obscure incident occurred at the bottling plant in July of 1887, when the Waukesha Daily Republican reported that a boy employed at the bottling works cut his hand severely on a broken bottle. “Dr. Jacob rendered medical aid and the lad is likely to suffer only temporary inconvenience.” Such were the dangers of employment at a bottling establishment.
     A lithograph of Arcadian appeared in an 1888 tourist booklet. It showed the reception house and spring and gave a chemical analysis of the water by Professor Walter S. Haines of Rush Medical College. It also noted that hack fare to the spring from the Fountain Spring House was five cents.
     In July of 1889, Mr. Fred Phelps of Lewiston, Ill., the son of Henry Phelps, joined the company. Foster Phelps was elected to the board of directors.
    The May 3, 1890, Democrat reported that Mr. George Wonder of Rockford, Ill., who was the sole agent for Schlitz beer in that city, visited Waukesha and was so impressed with Arcadian, that he bought an entire carload for his business.
     A piece of stationery from the same time listed the products offered by Arcadian. These included Aerated Water, Ginger Ale and an Anti-Malarial Tonic. This paper also showed the logo - a shield with the words “THE IDEAL ARCADIAN” around a moon and sun.
     According to notes by Olive Douglass in the collections of the Waukesha County Museum, the glasses used to dip water out of Arcadian Spring had the word “ARCADIAN” etched into the side.
 The 1890 Sanborn Fire Insurance map showed that the building was located along the Wisconsin Central Railroad and that the office was located on the first floor on the south east corner. The power was steam; the fuel, coal; the lights, kerosene.The elevator was located in the center on the building.
The Phelps Era
     In 1891, Arcadian Spring was sold to Henry Phelps, who incorporated it as the Waukesha Arcadian Co. with capital of $50,000. Phelps sat on the board of directors of the original company, and so he was familiar with the business. His son Fred was involved with the company, as well as Foster Phelps, his nephew.
     The 54 year old Henry Phelps became president of the company, and the 1890-91 Waukesha County Gazetteer listed him as such. It also showed that Fred Phelps was secretary and J. M. Kerr was manager. Kerr also managed the Hygeia Mineral Spring Co., which soon became involved in a controversy over a pipeline to the 1893 Columbian Exposition. Henry Phelps became interested in Waukesha because his son, Henry W. Phelps, attended Lake Forest College and was a great friend Walter Rankin, a professor at Lake Forest. When Rankin was appointed head of Carroll College in Waukesha, the younger Phelps followed him. Henry Phelps thus first became acquainted with Waukesha’s springs while visiting his son.
    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Henry Phelps was born in Lewistown, Fulton Co., Ill., on July 25, 1837. He married Anna L. Proctor of Rowley, Mass. The couple had two sons, Henry W. and Frederick. Frederick was born on September 4, 1866. Mrs. Phelps died in 1878. Henry was involved with the banking interests of Lewistown, but eventually became a citizen of Waukesha.
     The 1892 city directory listed Henry Phelps and Co. as successors to the Arcadian Mineral Spring Co. and showed that Fred resided at 302 Arcadian Avenue.
 Foster Phelps
     Although only an accountant at Arcadian, Foster Phelps led an interesting life.
     Foster Phelps was the son of George Phelps and Martha Calawader of Lewiston, Ill. Foster graduated from Carroll College in 1885, and while he was a student, lived at the Park Hotel. After his graduation, he managed the hotel.  The 1892 city directory showed that Foster boarded at the Park Hotel, which he eventually purchased about 1895. At that time he completely refurbished it. 1895 was a good year for Phelps. He promoted the construction of the electric railway which ran from Milwaukee to Waukesha Beach.  He married Elizabeth Clendenning Pratt that year. Their son Foster II was born in 1896, and Harl in 1908.
     In August of 1896, Phelps was also elected mayor of Waukesha, and he served until 1897.  He won every ward in the city, beating his Democratic opponent, Col. Enos, by 76 votes. Foster was active in city politics, serving as a village trustee and member of the finance committee. The 1897-98 city directory showed that Foster lived next door to the Park Hotel on Broadway.
     In 1900 he purchased Waukesha Beach, an amusement park located on the shores of Pewaukee Lake, serving as manager and owner. By 1907, Foster Phelps had moved to 311 Grand Avenue and was no longer manager of the Park Hotel. He sold Waukesha Beach to John Toll in 1908.  In 1909, Foster sold the Park Hotel. The following year, 1910, Foster moved his family to Alabama, where he bought a plantation and grew cotton. Being a northerner, he was not welcomed by the locals and his plantation was burned to the ground. He returned to Waukesha for a few years.
     By 1922, Foster had moved to Los Angeles and was involved in real estate. He was widowed when his son, Foster II, was about to graduate from college. He married a widow named May whom he knew from Waukesha. She had two daughters, Frances and Ethel. Frances and Foster II had been classmates at Waukesha High School.
     In 1932, Foster’s testimony was published in the Los Angeles Times. He was a witness in a real estate scam and had been an investor in the American Mortgage Company.
     Foster Phelps, who resided at 916 Las Lomas Dr.  in Pacific Palaisades, California, died at age 90 on March 2, 1958. It was a long way from Waukesha and Arcadian Spring!
Incorporation
     Articles of Incorporation for the Arcadian Mineral Spring Corporation were filed at the Waukesha County Courthouse on July 5, 1893, by Fred Phelps, Foster Phelps and Hiram Adams. There were 500 shares valued at $100 each, for a total of $50,000.    
    Fred Phelps was interested in politics and served as a member of the water commission; and in 1894, he served as president of the village board.
     A new Sanborn Fire Insurance Map was published in 1895, and this one showed no changes to the building, but it did list the company as “Henry Phelps & Co., Arcadian Bottling Works.”  The city directory for the same year listed Fred Phelps as president and Foster as secretary.
     According to the 1897-98 city directory, Fred Phelps took over the president’s chair at Arcadian. Foster continued to serve as secretary of the company, and the vice-president was J. M. Stewart. Fred married Miss Anna M. Lehman of Wooster, Mass., on Nov. 18, 1890. They had three children, Frederick Jr., Kenneth and Helen L.
     In 1899, Henry Phelps and his wife moved to Waukesha permanently.  Fred, meanwhile, became president, treasurer and manager of Arcadian. He resided at 302 Arcadian Avenue, in the reception house adjacent to the spring.
     About this time a small weekly newsletter called Resort Chat was published. Filled with concert schedules, arrivals and departures of guests, gossip and advertising, it presented a picture of Waukesha’s Springs Era at its height. The Arcadian Spring advertised and was featured prominently in these papers. One such advertisement appeared in the September 9, 1899 issue. It showed a picture of the park and of a bottle of Ginger Ale. Besides mentioning the usual things about Arcadian, it also mentioned a new product, Arcadian Whild (sic) Cherry Phosphate, the “Ideal Summer Beverage” with “nothing in it which can in any way be injurious.” Another advertisement was set in the manner of an official court summons, inviting the defendant to appear at the bottling plant for a free sample of Arcadian Ginger Ale.
     In 1901, J. M. Stewart was replaced by A. S. Lehman as vice-president of Arcadian.
     The 1901 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showed that a night watchman had been added and that the heat was provided by steam and stoves. The lights had been converted to gas.
     The 1907 Memoirs of Waukesha County mentioned that the capacity of the plant was 1 1/2 carloads of product per day. Henry Phelps, manager of the plant, kept the twenty employees busy. Arcadian products were shipped to all parts of the United States, England and Canada. An advertisement placed in the Cosmopolitan magazine of that year stated that on August 1st, the company introduced a new label.     This was a die cut label and featured the beautiful water goddess Diana, drinking water from a clam shell.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    On November 22, 1907, the Waukesha Arcadian Co. was officially registered with the United States Patent Office, and the serial number 31, 302 was published January 28, 1908.
     The 1909 city directory showed that Fred’s wife, A. L. Phelps, had become vice-president of the company. This continued in 1911, 1913, 1915, and 1917.
     The 1911 Sanborn showed that electric lights were added to the plant. The plant itself remained remarkably the same throughout the years. The only improvements seemed to be on the interior of the building.
     In 1917, Henry Phelps celebrated his 82nd birthday. Guests for the family dinner were Mr. and Mrs. Fred Phelps, Kenneth and Helen Phelp, of Waukesha, Mr. and Mrs. Willis Phelps, Miss Elizabeth and Raymond Phelps of Yonkers, New York. The dinner was preceded by numerous teas and receptions given by the prominent citizens of the city. Perhaps the dinner was more than a celebration of the elder Phelps’ birthday. The following year the spring was sold.
The Waukesha Roxo Company
     In 1918, The Waukesha Arcadian Company was sold to Albert Trostel of Milwaukee, who also owned the Waukesha Roxo Company. Roxo began in 1907. It was incorporated on January 14th of that year by A. E. Haldeman, W. G. Watkins, and C. M. Vielguth for $25,000. The 1907 city directory gave the owner as Axel Kehlet and the location as 401 Lincoln Avenue.
     The following month, contracts were let to begin the construction of the bottling plant. The plant was located at the north end of Silurian Spring Park, next to the Soo Line Railroad tracks. The cement block building was heated with coal stoves, and coal provided the steam for the boilers. The construction was by Advance Construction of Waukesha. No photographs are known to exist.
     The spring for bottling Roxo products was not located on the grounds, but several blocks away on the corner of Hartwell Avenue and Fulton Street. This spring was on the property of Henry Dreyer, a salesman. A photograph of Dreyer’s home was published in several tourist booklets, and in one printed for the Moor Mud Baths, the word ROXO was clearly and crudely scratched onto the picture. This spring was previously known as Sotarian.
     Pipes were already laid along Hartwell Avenue, north to Arcadian, and then west to the railroad tracks and the bottling plant. According to the February 24, 1907 Freeman, the pipes led to a “former bottling house in the vicinity.” This was most likely the short lived Crystal Rock Spring Company.
   In July of 1907, more capital was infused into the company, as it was taken over by the Trostel family. The articles of incorporation were amended on July 26 to show Trostel as president and Frank Golz as secretary. The capital was increased to $100,000. Trostel was a very wealthy Milwaukee businessman. His father became rich through the hide tanning industry. Roxo was just one of many businesses in which Albert Jr. invested.
     The 1909-10 city directory gave the following officers for Roxo: Albert Trostel, president; Charles Heller, vice-president; James Hays, secretary; Art Uhlein, treasurer. The State Gazetteer for the same years listed George Marvin as manager, and Henry Palmer as manager in 1911-1912. The location of the company was given as the west side of Hartwell, north of Broadway.
     The 1915-16 listed Frank Fiedler as vice-president and eliminated Heller and Hays as officers. In 1918, the Arcadian Company was bought by the Roxo Company.
Separate Companies
     For several years, the two plants were operated as separate companies. They were listed in city directories as the Waukesha Roxo and Waukesha Arcadian Companies. The superintendent of both plants was Phil Leininger, a man who had also been superintendent of the Crystal Rock Spring Company (the bottling house which Roxo apparently replaced). The Fred Phelps family moved from the area and was no longer listed, although his father, Henry, continued to live at the same address.
     This becomes a bit confusing, as there were two bottling plants and two springs being used. This situation continued into the 1920s. Sometime during the 1920s, the address for Arcadian Spring was listed separately from the address for the bottling plant. The U. S. government had purchased the Resthaven Hotel and converted it to a U. S. Veterans Hospital. It also acquired the spring, and perhaps that was why it was listed separately in the directories. Another possibility was that the spring was purchased along with the hospital in 1918 when the government bought the hospital. Whatever the case, at some point in time, the Arcadian Spring ceased to be connected to the bottling plant across the street.
     In 1929, a new lannon stone wing was added to the Arcadian plant. It was located to the south of the older building; and while not as attractive as the older Arcadian building, it was nevertheless functional.
    The following year, the old Roxo plant was no longer listed in the city directory, so it would be safe to say that all operations were moved under a single roof. The old pipeline from the former Sotarian Spring must also have been abandoned at the same time. A new spring was opened on Hartwell Avenue. This spring still exists under a large concrete bunker located on the north east corner of Waukesha Springs Park.
     By 1930, two of Milwaukee’s largest brewing families were involved in the Roxo Company. In a series of letters written between Arthur Uhlein (involved in the Schlitz Brewery) and Fred Pabst (of the Pabst Brewery) it was agreed that Pabst would sell its Artesia Water business to the Waukesha Roxo Company. The address of the Roxo Company was 118 Jefferson Street, Milwaukee.
     In 1935, the machinery in the Roxo plant was renewed. It became one of the largest and most modern bottling plants in the city.
 
Destruction
     Also, in 1935, Captain J. G. Taliaferro of the Resthaven Sanitarium tried to open the Arcadian Spring to the public; but after the results of a health report came back against such a move, the idea was abandoned. He then wanted to put a fountain in Arcadian’s place, but the spring did not supply enough pressure. This plan, too was abandoned. Taliaferro then petitioned the U. S. government for permission to tear down the structure.
     On September 14, 1938, the deed was done. The Freeman carried the story and told of how the entire structure was removed, leaving only the foundations. A “bog garden,” featuring swamp growing plants was planned in its place. Considering how well built the spring was, this was a good idea. The destruction of the springhouse did not seem to bother Waukesha citizens. In fact, the paper’s headline called the structure a “relic of bygone days.”
Sold
 On March 4, 1946, the Freeman reported that Albert Trostel Jr. sold Roxo to three Milwaukeans; Samuel Ginsberg, Sidney Previant and Sam Singer, for $200,000. The price included the Milwaukee offices and a warehouse. Ginsberg built  up the business. By 1960, There were 55  employees, and  750,000 gallons of spring water were bottled annually. The water trade accounted for about one third of Roxo’s total business.
    Reception House
     The next oldest remnant of the Arcadian Spring Company was the reception house which later became the residence of Henry Phelps. It was used for the residence of the commander of the Veteran’s Hospital (it was known as the Commander’s House) until 1949. Standing vacant for three years, it deteriorated quickly and was purchased by a Waukesha realtor, James R. Lowe. He requested a change in zoning for the 1.9 acre parcel, from multi-family to business zoning. He planned to build a filling station. In anticipation of a successful zoning change, the house was torn down. The opening line of the Freeman’s story was “Another relic of the days when Waukesha was the ‘Saratoga of the West’ has fallen a victim to progress” (Freeman, July 11, 1952). k
 
From Bethesda /Roxo To Landmark
     On November 7, 1967, Roxo was sold to Waukesha’s other remaining bottling plant, Bon Ton (Bethesda). The twenty-five employees of Roxo were absorbed into the Bethesda work force. The Roxo plant was abandoned after 82 years of operations. Roxo water was bottled under the “Bethesda/Roxo” label at the Bethesda plant.
     The Roxo building continued to deteriorate. Vandals broke into the interior and caused some damage. The owners, Palmetier and Abell lumber Co., were ordered by city building inspector Ervin Smith to clean up the site after receiving numerous complaints. The owners said that they had replaced all broken windows, but these in turn had been broken. It was “vandalism, pure and simple.” Smith ordered that all the windows and doors be boarded up and that the roof  fixed (Freeman, May 25, 1976).
     In March of 1977, the city was contemplating the creation of a Landmarks Commission to identify and protect buildings and structures of historical or architectural significance in the city. One of the advantages of placing such buildings under the protection of the Landmark’s Ordinance was the protection from destruction which it provided. Buildings could also be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which qualified them for investment tax credits, thus making renovation feasible.
     When the owners of the Roxo building pressed the city for passage of a Landmarks Ordinance, Tom Owens, alderman for the Seventh District, said that “it’s a rat trap” and “it has as much historical value as my garbage.” This seemed to echo the attitudes of some citizens of the city. Thankfully, the Landmarks Ordinance passed; the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places; and it was remodeled into an apartment complex. The older part of the building was maintained, and the 1929 addition was added to. The resulting building was a triumph and sparked a new interest in historic preservation in Waukesha. Thank goodness Mr. Owens’ comments did not discourage the owners from completing their project.
Products
     Early Arcadian bottles are very rare indeed. There are a few blob-top, labeled examples. The bottles are attractive, and the tops were sealed with foil.
     Some of the Waukesha springs featured a woman in their advertising, usually scantily dressed. Arcadian was no exception, and their girl was named Diana. She was pictured standing next to a waterfall, drinking from a clear glass. She wore sandals, a crown, and a see through white dress. A bow and arrow were slung over her shoulder. h
     Another remnant from Arcadian’s early days is a wooden case. It has two medals printed on the front, one which claims to have been won by Arcadian water at the 1885-86 North, Central and South American Exposition held in New Orleans.
     Roxo bottles seem to be more common. The early trademark of this spring featured a pair of small cupids leaning over a small pool of water, dipping water from a small waterfall emptying into the pool. One holds a sea shell in his hands to dip the water. The labels were shaped like a chestnut. There were 7 oz., pint, quart, and half gallon bottles. The company also produced 5 gallon bottles for water coolers.
     Sometime in the 1930s, the logo of the company became a  small man in a top hat. One of his eyes held a monacle. He represented the “good life.” The trademark was developed by Milwaukee artist Sid Stone.
     The final Roxo labels feature the name on the label and are rather plain.
     From its beginning in 1885 to the present, the Arcadian building stands as a tribute to James Kennedy Anderson and his dreams, to Henry and Fred Phelps, and to the Trostels, and to subsequent owners. It is one of the few remaining reminders of Waukesha’s past.
 
 
The Great Waukesha Springs Era: 1868 - 1918 Keep out