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‘Inappropriate:’ Some in Wauwatosa hope historic log cabin won’t be razed for apartment building

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WAUWATOSA -- Out with the old and in with the new. A developer is trying to demolish what some are calling a historical home to make way for an apartment complex.

Sitting at the corner of Wright and Wauwatosa in Wauwatosa is a unique-looking log cabin with a rich history.

"It's a beautiful building," said Dan Jones with the Wauwatosa Cemetery. "The building was built in 1921 and moved to this location from not far away. In 1955, it was built by a guy and Frederick Underwood who was the son of one of the first ministers in Wauwatosa, Enoch Underwood."

Dan Jones

Frederick Underwood

Frederick Underwood went on to be a very wealthy real estate mogul and president of the Erie Railroad. He was successful in business and caring to his community. Just across the street at the Wauwatosa Cemetery, he donated land and a chapel not too far from his father's grave site, and when Frederick Underwood died, his legacy lived on.

"After he died, the log cabin was moved here in an act of historic preservation and now we are hoping that continues," Jones said.

Jones, a trustee of the cemetery and Wauwatosa resident, said neighbors are torn up over the prospect this building could be torn down.

"An out-of-town developer shocked everybody when he proposed a giant apartment complex," Jones said.

Neighbors are against the creation of a three-story, 27-unit building.

"I think development is a good thing when it's appropriate to the neighbor," said David Kang, who lives in the area. "But the scale and bulk of what is being proposed is inappropriate to this site."

Not wanting this building razed for new construction -- Kang and his wife raised concerns.

"There's only a 10-foot setback from the property line for a building that's 35 times the size of his home and 25 times the size of the other neighbor," Emily Kang said.

The landmark's fate could soon be decided by the Historic Preservation Commission.

"We are hoping they declare it a historic property, which would stop the demolition and might slow it down -- maybe eventually stop it," Jones said. "It'll be one more hurdle for the developer to have to get over before he can destroy it."

The Wauwatosa Common Council will hold a public hearing for the development at the log cabin site Tuesday, Feb. 20.  FOX6 has made several attempts to contact the developer, but we have not yet heard back.

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