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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Stonewood Village's Siepmann farm on chopping block at Tuesday's Common Council meeting

City of Brookfield, Development, History

Stonewood Village, a Brookfield shopping center consisting of historic and period reproduction homes and buildings, is in the process of undergoing major changes, with an emphasis on weddings. The problem is, the historic Siepmann building*, circa 1856, stands in the way of the newly proposed and approved of building plans:

The developer plans to raze a historic two-story barn to accommodate the changes, but representatives from Stonewood Village [said] they would be willing to work with the Elmbrook Historical Society to relocate the farm or reuse some of the materials elsewhere on the site.

The proposal for the first phase now goes to the Common Council for approval Tuesday, May 19. Subsequent phases of the project will need the approval of the Plan Commission and the Common Council.

This has been in the works for some time. On Jan. 12th, Brookfield's Plan Commission "heard a proposal from Losik Engineering and Design Group to add a building at the site, as well as making parking improvements and landscape changes."  I did not realize their plans involved razing a building until last week.

The Stonewood Village Wedding Center seemed like a good fit for the collection of shops. I can see how brides to be would enjoy shopping and planning their special day in such a quaint setting. The idea of adding a reception/banquet hall is appealing too. If they haven't proposed this yet, I could see them adding some sort of chapel for the actual wedding service.

It saddens me, however, that this charming wedding wonderland would come at the expense of losing yet another historic building in Brookfield. Unfortunately, the building in question is brick; it cannot be moved easily. An acquaintance on the Elmbrook Historical Society informed me that the Siepmann family was just as prominent as the Ruby family in early Brookfield history.

I just returned from a trip to Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.

Greenfield Village is a collection of historic homes and buildings from all over the country that Henry Ford began moving to Dearborn in the 1920s.

Ford had the foresight to preserve these structures so future generations could enjoy Thomas Edison's workshop, the Wright Brother's bike shop and family home, the Heinz home (pictured), Webster's home, etc.

Henry Ford also moved a church from Connecticut with its steeple bell cast by Paul Revere Jr. to Greenfield Village. The church is still used today for weddings and receptions are held at the Eagle Tavern, also on the grounds. (Photo is of Eagle Tavern.)

Granted, the Siepmann's are not as famous as The Wright Brothers, but can't we find some way to save the Siepmann farmstead and still do the wedding center?

Brookfield's aldermen will address this "New Business #5" question at Tuesday's meeting at City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Rd, 7:45pm. Aldermen Contact Info Page

*The article said the building was a 2 story barn; my EHS acquaintance referred to it as a home.

Additional reading from Brookfieldnow: Matrimonial mall provides a one-stop shopping experience, Jan 21, 2009

Links: 

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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News

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