Stories from the Grave

Joseph Servotte: 1862-1940

Posted September 15, 2020

My name is Joseph H. Servotte. You may recognize my name as my brother, Ernest, and I were builders under the firm name of Servotte Brothers between the years 1888 – 1906. Many of the stately homes in the Astor neighborhood were erected by our firm. In addition to building homes, Ernest and I erected the Franciscan Monastery on Cass Street, which I understand is now an apartment complex with one- and two-bedroom apartments, called Friars Flats. It is heartwarming to me to see the Monastery has been restored rather than demolished! We also built St. Patrick’s school, put an addition on Joanne’s Wholesale grocery house on Washington Street, and were awarded the contract to build a Government school and assembly hall on the Oneida Reservation.

In 1906 I dissolved my ownership in the Servotte Brothers firm and went to work at the Green Bay Planing Mill Company, which was not doing well at the time. Under my leadership the company grew and expanded. After 6 years I realized I preferred being in business by myself, so I sold my interest in the mill.

Soon after, I received two contracts, one was the building of Howe school and the other was to replace the old Adams House on Adams Street. It was an old wooden hotel…an eye sore, built in 1854…a fire hazard! I was awarded the carpentry work on the three-story building, while Marcel Lambeau, Curly’s father, did the mason work.

I was active in civic affairs in both Green Bay and Brown County.  Because of my building expertise, I was part of the building committee for the courthouse. Our responsibility was to read bids submitted by architects, visit other courthouses and look at plans. We settled on Charles Bell from Minneapolis as architect.

When the Metropolitan Sewerage district was organized in 1931, I was one of the first commissioners appointed by the court and served as secretary of the commission until I died in 1940. Buried here beside me at Allouez cemetery is my wife, Mary (Lefebvre) and two of my three children.