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21 - 40 of 59 Comments Last updated Mar 15, 2014
Winonan

Winona, MN

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#21
Mar 30, 2008
 
Brittany,it's nice you did a piece on Kings, but it's full of mistakes. Rockledge was not also referred to as King's Bluff Estate or Kingswere. Kingswere is a different mansion located next to where Rockledge once stood. It was built much later than Rockledge and still is maintained. King's Bluff Estate is on top of the hill behind Kingswere and where Rockledge once stood. It is a very large french country style mansion. It was bo't by someone from New York (and Asia). She sold it later to someone who has allowed it to fall into disrepair. I don't know what it's current status is.
MrMark

Las Vegas, NV

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#22
Apr 3, 2008
 
Lance: Remember you from High school. Not what I expected!! Congrats on the music.. Wow...

What is known about the original Mansion on the north side of Homer? Still standing? still owned by the school teacher? What was that place like?? mollymark@gmail.com
Lance King wrote:
I'm back from the dead...mhaaaahaahaahaa,
who is Mongo anyway? lol
I used to live in Rockledge when I was growing up, my grandmother Betty King tore it down in order to build her new place because Kingsware was too big for her to keep up with in her older age.
She needed a one level place and a project to keep her creative mind working.
Rockledge unfortunately was in pretty bad disrepair because of burst heating water pipes, and could have been revived but the cost would have been considerable.
Rockledge was originally built as a summer house for my great grandparents, and had 11 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms, a library, smoker (mens hang out room) a two family party type rooms, a dining room, two exceptionally large screened porches, an amazing kitchen, bar, lounge, and a lot of storage ; )
Anything you want to know about this building I can tell you, Former Caretaker, can also tell you most of what you may have for questions since he worked for my grandfather and would know just about everything there is to know about Kingsware.
Man I miss that pool in the summer ; )
MrMark

Las Vegas, NV

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#23
Apr 3, 2008
 
What is known about the Original King mansion? the one on the north side of Homer that was owned by the school teacher? White and sits right along Hwy 61. Or it was the last time I was back in Winona.
George Maher Fan

Winona, MN

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#24
Aug 26, 2008
 
MrMark,
What do you want to know about the King family's former homes in Winona? I recently visited the former site of Rockledge, designed by architect George Maher and now the site of the former home of Betty King. I also viewed Kingswere, designed by George Mahers son. By the way Lance, the present owners have done a fabulous job of maintaining the pool. It looks incredible! both properties look amazing. Your relatives sure new how to live! By the way, I am currently in possession of a couple of fire place mantels that came out of one of the two homes along homer road. I am currently looking for pictures of the interiors of the homes so that I can attempt to place the pieces in one of the two homes. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks...
MrMark wrote:
What is known about the Original King mansion? the one on the north side of Homer that was owned by the school teacher? White and sits right along Hwy 61. Or it was the last time I was back in Winona.
chris

United States

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#25
Aug 29, 2008
 
George fan what do you know about the Mansion on the hill that is was adjacent to the Watkins Farm?
George Maher Fan

Winona, MN

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#26
Sep 9, 2008
 
The house on top of the hill currently sits empty. It is in a bad shape and may have to be taken down. It is currently owned by the people who live in Kingswere. They also own half of the old Watkins farm. There are currently no known plans for the old house on the edge of the cornfield where the Frank Mertes family used to live. What else do you need to know?
chris wrote:
George fan what do you know about the Mansion on the hill that is was adjacent to the Watkins Farm?
chris

United States

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#27
Sep 22, 2008
 
You don't know of any original pictures of the house on top of the hill. In your opinion how bad of shape is the house in?
KCW

Montclair, NJ

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#28
Feb 8, 2009
 
I am a former employee of Watkins products and was a friend of David and Fred King in 1968.
Fred lived in Rockledge and many weekends we used the pool and explored all the inner sanctums of the mansion. I have some great history of Watkins from the founder on down to include Dr Ward who got J R Watkins started in business.
haunted

United States

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#29
Feb 9, 2009
 
STAY AWAY
cougar

Winona, MN

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#30
Feb 22, 2009
 
I have some pictures of the house on top, when i was younger and not so smart i went up there and got some pictures, it is obvious that im not the only one to do so. It is in poor shape, but it is not lost. If you want pictures of it in its orginal state the winona county historical society has alot of information on it
Matt

Winona, MN

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#31
Feb 22, 2009
 
since there is interest maybe we could start something to try to preserve the house on top of the hill?
Rev Jay

Hartford, CT

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#32
Jun 3, 2009
 
Linda wrote:
The area is gated, and the "farm" hasnt been a farm for 14 years.
I just stumbled across your post, and my pulse raced. I never dreamed that interest still existed in the farm.

I worked as an installer of farm equipment while in college, and can vivdly recall 1)sitting in the very comfy kitchen while it was near 90 degrees oustide(no AC in those days, and 2)walking back to the bluffs and peering over the edge toward the river (it was just a short jaunt). There was so much of interest down over the bluffs, and seem to recall a friend lived as a caretaker down toward Homer somewherein a FLW designed guest home. I'm a little more foggy about those details.

I believe there was a rental operator or caretaker in those days even (70's).

It has probably been 30 years since I was on top of the hill, but can retrace the route in my mind even today.
Former Caretaker

Hudson, WI

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#33
Dec 27, 2009
 
My Family lived on the property at Kings Bluff as caretakers for the 1400 acre estate after Frank Mertes sold it to the Korean Family. Connie Greely was the local Family rep and she was married to a Doctor from Lacrosse. He worked at Gundersen Lutheran as a dentist. They had a home in Lacrosse on the south side of town by the river in Lacrosse. Very miserable people to deal with. Rich, arrogant, miserable people. Nothing like Mr. Frank Mertes who I also know well enough to compare. Frank was always nice as could be and never had that attitude that he was better than you. Connie had a Korean name too and I can't remeber what it was? She never wanted to spend a nickel on the place. She talked of travel to other family homes in California and New York? They kept a bad-ass Diplomat Series looking Stretch Mercedes in the garage for storage at the main mansion. Coolest car I ever saw. This place really went downhill fast in the few years I was on-site. I wasn't allowed to do anything without approval first. I can't believe Frank would have sold it to the family if he had known they would have neglected it so bad. The Main house had electrical issues with the top floor's lights not even working when I left, water issues with the basement and overall falling apart of much of the structure inside & out. The bedrooms still mainly intact, the library still an awesome room, the views still stunning out on the point overlooking the river into Wisconsin. The guest house was overrun with mice and spiders and in even worse shape than the main house. The koreans sold it to someone else now and I see a new home built up there before the dead end now too? Some high dollar attorneys from lacrosse lived in the mansion at the bottom of the hill and I heard they were the ones that bought the property but ? I don't know for sure.
chris

United States

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#34
Jan 25, 2010
 
I have been up to the property sveral times in the last couple of years. You are right it is in very bad shape. I don't see a guest house, it must have been torn down. The beautiful library that you speak of has been dismantled and shipped out east. If you have any pictures of the old place I would love to see them.
Hannah

Sparta, WI

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#35
Apr 10, 2010
 
Linda wrote:
Its NOT haunted, its all private parties. The area is gated, and the "farm" hasnt been a farm for 14 years. My husband worked there. The owner sold everything up on top and the new owner owns the whole ridge except for one small lot owned by a man and his wife. I could write books, what do you want to know,.
I would love more information on the home that is still standing. Please e-mail to johndeeremama28@yahoo.com
Dan

Rochester, MN

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#36
Apr 29, 2010
 
could you please e-mail me any ifo you might have also? dan@cdterminal.com
a worker

Sparta, WI

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#37
Mar 12, 2011
 
Just to let everyone know the house on top of the hill has been tore down or will be this spring. I had done some work up there the house was in very bad shape. I would have liked to seen it when it was operational. It was still amazing to walk through.
a worker

Sparta, WI

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#38
Mar 12, 2011
 
the house on top of the hill will b tore down soon
Former Caretaker wrote:
My Family lived on the property at Kings Bluff as caretakers for the 1400 acre estate after Frank Mertes sold it to the Korean Family. Connie Greely was the local Family rep and she was married to a Doctor from Lacrosse. He worked at Gundersen Lutheran as a dentist. They had a home in Lacrosse on the south side of town by the river in Lacrosse. Very miserable people to deal with. Rich, arrogant, miserable people. Nothing like Mr. Frank Mertes who I also know well enough to compare. Frank was always nice as could be and never had that attitude that he was better than you. Connie had a Korean name too and I can't remeber what it was? She never wanted to spend a nickel on the place. She talked of travel to other family homes in California and New York? They kept a bad-ass Diplomat Series looking Stretch Mercedes in the garage for storage at the main mansion. Coolest car I ever saw. This place really went downhill fast in the few years I was on-site. I wasn't allowed to do anything without approval first. I can't believe Frank would have sold it to the family if he had known they would have neglected it so bad. The Main house had electrical issues with the top floor's lights not even working when I left, water issues with the basement and overall falling apart of much of the structure inside & out. The bedrooms still mainly intact, the library still an awesome room, the views still stunning out on the point overlooking the river into Wisconsin. The guest house was overrun with mice and spiders and in even worse shape than the main house. The koreans sold it to someone else now and I see a new home built up there before the dead end now too? Some high dollar attorneys from lacrosse lived in the mansion at the bottom of the hill and I heard they were the ones that bought the property but ? I don't know for sure.
Winona history buffs

United States

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#39
Mar 12, 2011
 
We have currently experienced a great loss in our family and have been doing a lot of research on the Watkins/king history today we went by kingswere and went to the Watkins mansion by the wms the other day I would love pictures sources any stories on the rockledge home I'm also a little confused so the rockledge home was tore down for grace and a new home was built for her on that property and how do I get there from kingswere?
Watkins Collectors Club

Columbus, OH

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#40
Apr 1, 2011
 
I'm the newsletter editor for the Watkins collector Club and am also interested in all things King & Watkins. I did a couple of short stories on other King homes - C.L. King in Memphis, TN and E.L. & Grace's Daytona Beach, Fl home. Our club was founded over 12 years ago. We have about 65 members who enjoy collecting JR Watkins Medical Company, JR Watkins Company, Watkins, Inc. memorabellia. Our members are from several states. We have a high concentration of members in Minnesota, where the company is still headquartered in Winona, MN. Some became collectors and members because they or their family worked at the factory or was/are a dealer. Some (like me) because of the last name Watkins. Others just because of the great variety of items from the company to collect. We have an annual convention, usually in Winona the 3rd Saturday in August. Our newsletter is published 4 times a year and includes some history, club news, collector profiles and features/pictures of old Watkins items.

Email me for how to join if you are interested or to get a sample copy of our newsletter: marshawatkins@yahoo.com

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