Following is the report on the bungalows on Kenwood. The hearing was divided into two segments. The first covered the interim designation for addresses 2005 and 2009 E. Kenwood. Approved for interim designation by the Commissioners.

The second portion was about 4 additional homes on the same block. These are 2015, 2019, 2025 and 2029 E. Kenwood. They were approved for interim designation by the commissioners. Donna

Again, a big thank you to Pamela Frautschi for this report.

Pam Frautschi’s notes from the four-hour meeting on Dec 11.
December 11, 2006 Historic Preservation Commission Hearing re Bungalows on Kenwood Blvd. - 301A City Hall

Alderman Bob Bauman presided.
Commission members: Sandra Ackerman, Matthew Jarosz, Sandra McSweeny, Ann Pieper. Timothy Stemper, Patricia Balon
Bauman announced a two-part meeting re:

  • Request for Interim Designation of 2005 & 2009 E. Kenwood Blvd, as a continuation of the Oct 25 prior mtng postponed until today for the opponents’ presentation.

  • Interim Designation for the entire block of 2000 Kenwood Blvd.

Bauman clarified that “interim designation” does not apply to a
“district” only to separate “structures,” and that “interim designation” has substantially lower legal requirements than “permanent designation.”

Atty David Halbrooks, representing some of the Kenwood bungalow owners, clarified that their November 9th Petition was for 6 structures, not a district & that with regard to their petition on the 45 day rule the Commission must reconvene before Dec 24.

Linda Burke of Milwaukee DA’s ofc stated the Commission could hear today on the 6 structures, not the district.

Atty Steve Chernof, representing Milwaukee Jewish Federation, first received info on the 6 structure petition last Friday; objected to 2005 & 2009 inclusion in the new petition, but would go by the Chair’s pleasure and assured that the houses won’t be torn down while the process about them is still under consideration.

Testimony in opposition to Historic Preservation of 2005 & 2009 ensued: Chernof stated we’re not here to discuss whether UWM should be stopped in its tracks, or whether these are nice houses. We can’t allow Historic Preservation to become back-door zoning. Chernof objected to a blog he’d seen, “What the Hillel” that said the Federation was planning a 3-story high-density student housing center, having surprised the neighbors with
their plans & being a surrogate for UWM. Chernof had also seen an email of Murray Hill stating a 3-story building violating the neighborhood, and that D’Amato was helping Hillel find a
new location which Chernof said isn’t true. The Federation proposes a 2-story building in harmony with the neighborhood & will consider neighborhood suggestions. Chernof stated that the houses are not historic, that the Commission report on 2005 & 2009 is full of innuendoes. There are thousands of such
bungalows in Milwaukee; Auer was dead before the houses were built and his family had sold the business before the houses were done. Hugo Miller, the presumed architect, was an ordinary architect known for designing one theater in Milwaukee. The scrapbook of Hugo Miller’s relative, was not made available to the Federation. Hugo Miller’s work wasn’t historically important. The Federation wants to build a religious student center on the same street as all the other student centers.

Expert witness testimony was given by La Dallman Architects, James Dallman, architect, and Grace La, a professor of architecture and urban planning at UWM. In Grace La’s Study Report Analysis she stated that the neighborhood is
primarily residential with many multifamily units and institutional buildings on Kenwood Blvd., a street itself which is considered a major E/W urban corridor connecting to Lincoln Memorial Drive and Oakland Avenue. Kenwood, “essentially 5 lanes wide” is the southern boundary of UWM and holds an ecclesiastical buffer of churches and religious student
centers. Kenwood is not particularly “domestic” in nature.
Bungalows themselves represent 17% of City residences. There are 26,841 bungalows in Milwaukee. Examples of more historic bungalows than the Kenwood buildings are on Bartlett Avenue where similarly scaled houses on both sides of the street
form a district or integrity of neighborhood. Bartlett is not being sold off for development. By comparison, the 6 Kenwood bungalows don’t form a consistent district. Better examples of Hugo Miller’s bungalows and Arts and Crafts movement are at: 3001 N. Bartlett, 3034 N. Cramer, 3555 N. Maryland, 3000 N. Newhall and 2212 E. Menlo where the care and condition
of the properties is important. Kenwood added porches, balconies and other features that rob them of being fine specimens.
Ms. La asserted the Commission Report mentions details, that such details are ubiquitous. They’re broadly used in all eras and architectural styles. Chimneys on Kenwood aren’t distinctive. Kenwood buildings are in mediocre condition. One has a garage with disfigured elevation; another
has a full 2nd floor addition. Skylights are in several that are not original. This makes “potluck” styling in these 6 structures. Regarding Louis Auer: he was deceased 7 years when these buildings were built. His firm completed more significant districts such as the 3000 block of Bartlett. Hugo Miller’s authorship is speculative and Hugo Miller is not a historical figure. The Commission Report offers more confusion than definition. George Maier of Kahler/Slater Architects said “there are much better bungalows to preserve.”

Atty Ian Martin of Godfrey/Kahn, representing the Jewish Federation, submitted a 2″ report of Dallman & La’s report plus additional material. He cited the UNA Report’s Initiative 12 re quality of life in the neighborhood, Initiative 13 re peace and quiet, & Initiative 14 re great diversity and access to cultural events, and UNA need for some kind of pedestrian boundary around UWM. Martin said Hillel brings those things to the neighborhood.
Re the Commission Report: Hugo Miller cannot be linked to Kenwood bungalows. General Auer’s historic background is not relevant to the properties. Nobody has taken action to save the properties until now. In earlier negligent times work orders were put on these properties.

Martin Katz of Wellston Properties says these properties are not worth saving.

Joanne Ladenson, 3130 N. Marietta, a native Chicagoan who lived in its historic Hyde Park area, walks extensively in the neighborhood. She finds the Kenwood bungalows uniquely nondescript. The block is a mishmash of student activities.

Gary Benjamin, 2825 E. Newberry, says we need to smell the wind a little around this issue. This is a “straw dog” issue; Historic Preservation is important but not on this.

Nathan Bernstein, 8340 N. Santa Monica, Fox Point, is a
builder/developer who grew up on the Eastside. The authenticity of design is not proven on the Kenwood properties. Many of the Federation members are residents in this neighborhood.

Elliott Bernstein, 2772 N. Maryland, says the Federation wants to preserve an ambiance and conform to the architectural neighborhood; to bring a religious group, not student housing.

Ozzie Pittleman, 2424 E. Webster, says the closer the Hillel Center is to Campus, the better.

Heidi Rattner, Executive Director of Hillel-Milwaukee, says the door is always open to neighbors. They have an endowment for maintenance including building and grounds. Hillel students do community service.

12 others who elected not to speak registered as opposed to Interim Designation of Historic Preservation.
Presentation of those in favor of Interim Designation of Historic Preservation ensued: Expert testimony by Gary Tipler, Historic Preservation consultant from Madison, majored in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning at UW-Madison, has prepared work for the National Register and other projects in Milwaukee: Said context in all directions or both sides of
the street doesn’t have to be taken into account for designation. Context can be with adjacent and nearby houses. The Kenwood bungalows are in some way exemplary representing a “transitional period.” The Commission Report was competently prepared. The developer of the houses was Louis Auer &
Sons who hired qualified designers. These bungalows do meet the criteria for Preservation designation. E5 are distinguishing characteristics. These 1916 properties are just prior to the Colonial and English Revival period.

Alderman D’Amato: Everyone here supports Hillel, but opposes razing of these two houses. Consider if it is conceivable that the Report is justified. As soon as the properties were threatened, the neighborhood realized they were gems that had to be saved. The situation is very similar to the Ascension Lutheran Church where a next-door boarded-up building was saved and beautifully rehabbed. The other buildings on Kenwood were built as their primary use. None were torn down & replaced
by other buildings.

Gerard Capell, 2954 N, Frederick, President of MHNA, architect with his final degree from Italy. To take out the two buildings disrupts the urban fabric of the neighborhood. He agrees that Historic Preservation applies to “transitional” periods which help define prior and later periods.

Dan McCotter, 3024 N. Murray, offered validation via a letter from the architectural magazine, American Bungalow, submitted by editor, John Luke. Upon entry to this meeting he was asked if he was for or against Hillel. He’s for Hillel and against razing of the properties. Bungalows were built for the working middle class and represent a time period in America.

Julie Pelsing, lives directly east of the bungalows, at 2015 E. Kenwood. On the extensive renovations she has done at her house all the contractors said, “You don’t see this quality of materials and craftsmanship any more.” 3001 N. Bartlett has the exact same footprint as her house.

Jeff Gretzka, President of Landmark Trust Neighborhood Assoc., says his association supports the two and the 6 bungalows for Historic Preservation.

Paul Stafford, lives on Kenwood, lived previously in a Hugo Miller house. “Transitional” architecture is as important as “established.” Favors Historic designation for all 6 Kenwood bungalows.

Richard Ippolito, referred to Russell Barr Williamson, an extensive Milwaukee architect who was basically unknown until the first book about him was produced about 4 years ago, which suggests that Auer & Miller may also be architects of substance and merit. Ippolito suspects that the other side of Kenwood was contextually residential prior to the development of UWM. He supports designation.

Jean Casper, 2711 N. Hackett, with a Masters in Art History from UWM, favors interim status for the Kenwood bungalows & said UWM lecturer, Damian Stillman, cited Auer as significant in Stillman’s seminar.

Shale Horowitz, 3057 N Murray: “This is a distinctive set of homes” that he walks by & enjoys daily.

Peter McMullen, 3038 N. Bartlett, President of Cambridge Woods Assoc, states his group favors Historic status for these bungalows.

Andrew Malzer, 3063 N. Murray, favors designation for all six Kenwood bungalows.

Jane Pelton, long term resident of 3054 N. Oakland, referred to Gurda documentary, “The Making of Milwaukee.” Please give this block a chance.” 10 others who chose not to speak also favored Historic designation.

Rebuttal in behalf of Commission Report - Slide Presentation - Carla Hatala said the Commission was partially funded to do historic surveys. Previously they hadn’t done the UWM area. As part of the NE Side Plan they will be doing more in the UWM area. The bungalow is a “form” not a “style.” Most Milwaukee bungalows were built in the 1920′s. The Building Permit show Louis Auer’s Company with Architect Messmer for whom Hugo Miller worked. Miller’s grandson has a collection of Miller’s work.
The North side of Kenwood was bought up by institutional development. We do have “one side of street” historic districts. Another reference is the 47th Street Historic District.

Atty David Halbrooks said these 2 houses are part o the “beauty of acohesive district.” We want to show where the change
started to occur in bungalows.

Atty Chernof protested that Carla’s slides didn’t show fine bungalows
that already are designated for Historic Preservation.

District Atty Linda Burke said with the testimony complete on 2205 & 2009 the Commission needs to make a decision within 5 days and notify the parties by Certified Mail. Within 90 days we must have a hearing on Permanent Designation. The DA’s office can give the Commission implications of Federal Law on Land Use. The Common Council shall review the Commission’s decision within 45 days. The Commission can vote now with a “finding of fact” and “conclusions of law” later. The Commission vote was unanimous in favor of interim designation on the 2005 & 2009 E. Kenwood bungalows.

The Hearing then continued on the new Petition for all 6 bungalows: 2005, 2009, 2015, 2019, 2025, 2029.
Carla Hatala continued with slide accompaniment. Bungalows have sleeping rooms on the first level. In 1979 they gathered some prior information on the homes. There is a UNA neighborhood strategy to preserve the neighborhood. Now the NE Side Plan for Milwaukee will activate the Historic Preservation Commission. Reference was made to the 1966 document, “With Heritage So Rich”
In the 1800 block of Kenwood there’s an established Auer duplex.
Because of inventive character and expert craftsmanship of the houses, each house meets criteria E5 and E8. It would qualify also as a HistoricDistrict. Public Hearing on the 6 Kenwood bungalows: Robin VanHarpen, 2019 E. Kenwood, would like to save all six. Gary Tipler added: 2005 has Colonial elements, 2009 has Arts & Crafts details, 2015 is formal modern with Colonial features, 2019 has Colonial elements combined with Modern, 2025–27 is Colonial & Arts and Crafts,2029 is a miniature Mt Vernon. All worthy of designation. There’s a similar grouping on Burnham by Frank Lloyd Wright as American Family Homes examples.

Julie Pelsing, 2015 E. Kenwood. The woodwork, ceilings, and detailings of this house are fabulous. Wishes designation.

Charles & Joan Van Norman, 3041 N. Murray, live just around corner from the bungalows; have lived here 10 years & moved here
for the single family homes, the beautiful and diverse architecture and the sense of neighborhood. Preserve it.

Deb Jacobsen, 3037 N. Oakland: It’s also great for students who come from less diverse architectural surroundings to experience this.

Dave Liske, 2019 E. Kenwood, loves the whole block and neighborhood & believes out of town visitors love it too.

Dan McCotter, 3024 N. Murray, sees these bungalows as a 90yr old cluster well worth saving.

Donna Schlieman, 1300 N Prospect & neighborhood resident since the 60s. Each bungalow is interpreted by its owner in separate ways. They’re distinctive and worth preserving.

Cynthia Sommers, 3137 N. Cramer favors designations as do 8 others who chose not to speak. Twenty-six additional letters favoring designation arrived to the Commission today.

Alderman D’Amato: Splitting these homes is a death warrant for all of them. He’s pleased with the owner’s wish for preservation.

Atty Chernof considers this an inappropriate meeting because the
Federation just received the information on the 6 properties and didn’t have time to study it. The Staff Report called it a historic district.

The petition for Interim Designation for the 6 Kenwood Blvd. bungalows was passed unanimously by the Commission.
The Federation needs to appeal within 5 days. Questions of law followed. If there’s objection to the Commission decision it goes to the Common Council which usually send it to Zoning
and Neighborhood Departments.

Last edited by godsil.   Page last modified on December 15, 2006

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