P. Walter Petersen. a speculative builder of Racine whose activities have constituted an important element in the improvement and development of the city, particularly on the west side, was born in Odense, Denmark, March 31, 1878, as son of Soren and Maren (Hansdatter) Petersen, who spent their entire lives in Denmark.
P. Walter Petersen is one of a family of seven children and four of the number are yet living in their native country. He was reared in Denmark and pursued his education in the Danish, English and German tongues. In early life he served an apprenticeship in a grocery store and he also had commercial training through attendance at a business college. He left Denmark when twenty years of age and, attracted by the opportunities of the new world, made his way to the United States, becoming a resident of Racine, where for five years he was employed by the Bee Bee Manufacturing Company. He had not been with them long before he was given charge of a department and throughout his connection with that firm he was entrusted with much responsibility as a department manager. He afterward embarked in the retail meat business on Sixteenth Street and Packard Avenue and after continuing in the trade there for four years he turned his attention to the building business in which he has since been actively engaged. He has erected many business blocks and some residences, erecting them to rent rather than to sell. He has put up many buildings in the city, particularly on the west side, and his activities have been an element in transforming unsightly vacancies into commercial centers or attractive residence districts.
In 1901 Mr. Petersen was united in marriage to Miss Louise Somers, a native of Chicago, and they have two children: Lewis and Ruth, fourteen and eleven years of age, respectively. The parents are members of the Lutheran Church of the Atonement and in the work of the church they take an active interest; Mr. Petersen now serving as a member of the church council. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias and his political allegiance is given to the Republican Party, in which he is a prominent and earnest worker, being now secretary of the Republican Club of Racine. In 1911 he was elected to the County hoard of supervisors and has since served in that connection, being chairman of the board during the past two years. He has been nominated for the office of representative from his district on the republican ticket and will undoubtedly make a strong race, for he is a popular man and citizen, widely known and highly respected. He stands for all that is beneficial in the public life of the community and is truly American in spirit and interests. Native-born citizens, it often seems, come by the privileges of American life too easily to appreciate them in the fullest degree. At least. some of those who have sacrificed and suffered to obtain them value these blessings more highly than those to whom they come as a matter of course. An adopted son of Wisconsin, no native citizen is more loyal to its interests, and what he has already done for the benefit of Racine argues well for his service as a legislator if he becomes a member of the general assembly.