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Ask Now: July 3

July 1, 2014

Is there a rumor you've heard that you would like to track down? Is there something in the city — like playground equipment or a pothole — that needs to be fixed? Rick Romano answers some of the mysteries of life in Wauwatosa and helps solve everyday problems.

Will the historical society make improvements to the Harrison Ludington house?

Issue: A new Ravenswood neighborhood resident asked about the historical home, at 343 Glenview Ave., and about possible plans to improve its condition.

"It seems uncared for as if no one is living there," she said. "I am curious if someone is living there or why the home seems abandoned,"

"What is the history behind this residence? If the private owners are unable to care for the home, does the historical society have any ability to provide some upkeep?" she asks.

Status: The Wauwatosa Historical Society does not own the property. The city's Landmark Commission designated the house as a historic property in 1983 and the Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission re-designated it in 1997 in accordance with current city ordinances.

Charlie Mitchell, chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, told NOW the city "puts no obligations on the owner of the property to maintain or repair it, nor does it provide any incentives to the owner."

He noted that if the property was designated by the Wisconsin Historical Society, the owner would qualify for tax credits. He said the commission could help determine if the residence qualifies, but alterations to the front of the house could be problematic.

Kim Rueth, the current owner and resident of the home, declined to comment on future plans for repairs.

Harrison Ludington, who served as mayor of Milwaukee and governor of Wisconsin in the 1800s, built the "Gentleman's Farmhouse" for his son, Frederick, on 100 acres of land he purchased in 1870. More information is available at the city's web site, www.wauwatosa.net.

Submit your question by sending an email to news@cninow.com.

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