2530 N 38th Street
The foreclosed home located on 38th street was formally 940 / 940A N 38th Street. The street address was changed to 2530 N 38th Street in 1931. The home was built in 1895. This house has seen many residents and tenants over the years.
As in other duplexes, the flexibility of this building form rests with the internal layout of the units. The rooms abutting the street are used for more formal purposes such as living and entertaining. The woodwork in these rooms are detailed just as the ornamental dentils along the upper balcony entrance, corner finials, and decorative eave brackets along the front and side. We found elaborate picture rails and molding in the front and dining rooms. But as you enter the kitchen and back rooms the level of detailing decreases.
The layout is tripartite in nature with the front rooms, a middle section with a elaborate dining area sporting a bay window. The back section includes a relative large kitchen with a pantry and a square rear staircase. Unlike other duplexes, the rear staircase is the only entrance into the top floor. This is not very typical — other duplexes have front entry staircases leading to the top unit while the rear entrance connects the two units to the basement. This led us to speculate that the building may have been originally built as a single family dwelling and later converted into a two-unit duplex. The property permit records suggest such a possibility, but we are not certain that this was the case.
The lower unit had a lot of changes and transformation done to its front rooms some time during the late twentieth century. (see video below) When we examined the record of occupants we found that the homeowner mostly lived in the lower unit, with some exceptions. Is it possible that the work done in the downstairs unit are investments put in by the homeowner to suit changing needs of the time?
Record of Occupants
The first building permit from 1909 documents a request to add partitions to the attic and convert the property into a dwelling. In 1910, there were two families occupying both units in the duplex. At that time, the owner of the property was Edwin F Casper, a twenty-five years old man who lived with his twenty-two year old wife Leah L Casper. They had a one-year old son named Ralph P.L Casper and a new-born baby girl named Virginia E.L Casper.
Edwin and his family were all white and born in Wisconsin. His parents were born in Wisconsin as well. Edwin worked as a book keeper in the marker office industry and was married to his wife for three years when the 1910 census was recorded. His wife’s (Leah's) father was born in Wisconsin and her mother was born in Germany. Although she could read and write, she did not work.
Edwin rented out the upper level of the home to Peter Casper, who was fifty-five years of age. He shared his living space with his wife Katharine M Casper who was forty-nine years old, and their daughter Elsa C Casper, who was eighteen years old. Peter was a carpenter in the home-building industry. He and his family were all white, and his parents were both from Germany. Katharine’s parents were also born in Germany, and she and Peter had been married for twenty-six years by the time the census was recorded. Although Katharine did not work, her daughter Elsa did. She earned a wage as a harness-maker at a ladies tailor shop.
In 1914, there was a building permit issued for foundation work to be done on the home. There were additional permits issued for plumbing work in 1917 and 1919. By 1920, Edwin and his family were still living in the lower level of the duplex. They rented the upper level to Bert J Kelly, who was thirty-six years old, and his wife Fern Kelly, who was twenty-seven. Bert earned a salary as an electrician for a railroad company. His parents were both born in Wisconsin, unlike Fern’s parents who were born in Iowa. Fern did not work while living in the home. Bert and his wife lived in the home for two years until Christina Wolf began living there in 1922. She worked as a laundress. A man named Frank Watson moved into the upper level after Christina left in 1925. That year, a man named Alvin Fritzemeier began living in the lower apartment in the home—replacing Edwin and his family. He was a painter who lived in the home for two years.
In 1926, Aug Fritzemeier lived in the upper apartment. He worked as a carpenter/contractor. After one year, a man named Walter Fitting moved in with his wife Bertha. Walter bought the property in 1926 and applied for a permit to build a garage. He began living in the home a year after purchase, in 1927. During that year, he rented out the lower level to William O. Wagner. Walter lived in his home until 1929, before selling it to Paul W. Pagel and his wife Emma C. Pagel. They lived in the upper level apartment after purchase. Paul’s father was from Germany and his mother was from New York. He worked as a painter in the auto parts industry. His wife’s (Emma) father was from Germany and her mother was from Switzerland. Emma worked as a domestic houseworker in the private home sector. They had a son named John F. Bohren who also lived in the home with them. He was nineteen years old and worked as a baker.
In 1930, Paul rented out the lower level apartment to Richard E Dewitte. Richard was thirty-five years old, and lived with his wife Mable J Dewitte, his son Earl Dewitte, and his daughter Elain I Dewitte. Richard worked as a general manager in the washing machine sales industry. His father was born in Wisconsin and his mother was born in Illinois. Mabel was also 35 years old. Her parents were both born in Wisconsin. Mabel did not work—neither did their ten-year-old son Earl or their four-year-old daughter Elain.
By 1940, Paul Pagel and Emma Pagel who still owned the home, were sharing their living space with Oscar Bohren, who was twenty-seven years old. August Hasler, who was thirty-five, Thurene Hasler, who was thirty-four, and Roger Hasler, who was eight, lived in the lower level apartment. They had a two-year-old named Russell Hasler who was living with them.
On June 29, 1943, Paul sold the home to Leo R. Wiese, who shared the home with his wife Helen Weise. In 1948, Leo applied for a plumbing permit. In 1949, he applied for an electrical permit to install an oil burner and an oil storage tank. Helen passed away in 1954, and there was no more work done on the home until 1966, when Leo applied for more electrical work to be done on the outlets. By January 15, 1976, Q.C.D. Weise owned the home and sold it to Alexander McCraig. At the time, Wallace Wiese & Gloria Hensel was taking care of the property for Leo Weise while staying in the lower level apartment. Alexander McCraig sold the home on February 20, 1976 to Annie L. Davis—who began living in the upper level apartment.
In 1989, the owner of the home was Mike Ross. He lived in New Berlin and was renting out the lower level apartment to Monica Throne. There was a fire on the north wall of the first-floor bedroom. The fire extended to rest of house and a fire alarm report was filed. In 1991 a new owner, Tonie Davis, was renting out the lower level apartment to Janet Ganes. There was another fire alarm report filed due to overheated cooking oil that ignited in the kitchen cabinets and extended throughout the kitchen. In 1996, R.W. Davis was the owner of the home and lived in the lower level apartment for the next two years. The year R.W moved in, there was another fire alarm report filed due to a malfunction of the second floor gas heat furnace, which caused a fire to extend throughout the entire home. There was a permit to repair the fire damage in 1997, along with a permit to raze the property. The cost to raze the home was $5200, and the cost for the permit was $52.00. The property was not razed that year, and in 1998, R.W rented the upper level apartment to Annie Davis. The following year, R.W Davis rented out his lower level apartment to Floyd J. Tate.
On July 31st, 2004, there was a Sheriff’s deed initiated for the first bank foreclosure. Once the home went into foreclosure, S.W.D became the owner. They kept the home in their possession from December 6, 2004, until January 11, 2005. At that time, the bank initiated a sell of the home to Moore/Keith. Moore became the sole owner of the home on June 4, 2007, and by May 21, 2008, the home endured another bank foreclosure. The city filed an order to vacate the home in 2012—which may have meant an eviction if there were residents living in the home at that time. By 2013, the home was in a foreclosed status. From 2013 until 2018, the home received a series of code violations regarding condemnation.