Sherman Park Bungalow
Buildings can be read like a personal diary. They tell us stories of residents, past and present. Sherman Park is a neighborhood with a deep and diverse social history. Multiple generations of residents from varying ethnicities, cultures, education levels, and economic levels have contributed to the life and history of this neighborhood. In 2017, we conducted a close examination of a typical single-family home in Sherman Park in order to capture a bit of that rich and complex history. The architectural details of this corner bungalow reveal generational changes and explain how technology, values, and priorities transform over time.
The structure and materials demonstrate how the early twentieth century homes were built to look and feel sturdy and permanent. The exterior of the house is made of brick walls on a cement block foundation. The interior of the house has plaster walls over wood lathe and all floors except the kitchen are made of wood.
Built in 1920, the original owner, George Bogenberger, moved his family into this single-family home in 1921. Bogenberger was the owner and president of the 35th Street Garage. His wife Anna was the vice-president. The residents of this home included George and Anna, their children, Chester J. Howe, a clerk by profession, and his wife Florence. In 1935, a relative named Edwin A. Bogenberger who worked as manager in the garage, and his wife Esther, resided in the house as well. Even though built as a single-family home, census records demonstrate that multiple families resided in this home during the first half of the twentieth century.
It is important to notice the plan of this home because the interior layout explains how the many residents delineated their personal spaces from the more public and communal areas. A carefully designed processional sequence of rooms lead from the formal front areas to the private back rooms. The formal layout of the home shows three parallel bays. The front bay includes the entrance and living room. A small entrance hallway opens into an expansive living room/parlor with a fireplace flanked by two wooden built-in cabinets. The living area opens onto the dining room, lit brightly with large windows and decorated by elaborate wooden sideboard cabinetry on the east wall. The middle bay includes the dining area and a bedroom differentiated from the rest of the house by a small offset along the external wall. The wooden dining room sideboard frames two symmetrically placed openings on both sides, leading into the back end of the house — the third bay. The door on the south side leads directly to the kitchen, while the other door leads into a small hallway connecting the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and main staircase. A back entrance connects the kitchen, back staircase and basement to the back yard and garage. This back entrance served as a service hub — a site of household work, services, and related transactions. Milk and provisions were delivered here, laundry and storage activities took place in the basement and the back yard led into the garage. In 1920, the milk chute was critical to the daily lives of the Bogenburgers as the milk man would remove and replace the used milk bottles with new ones. The milk man never had to fully enter the house but had access through this chute. Today, the owner has boarded up the unused milk chute since it allows easy access to the occasional burglar.
The siting of this home on the corner lot is yet another important point. The corner lot affords advantages that mid-block properties lack— clear sight lines, more sunlight and uninterrupted views. The relationship between the corner lot and mid-block lots is critical to understanding the social and physical hierarchy of a neighborhood block. While most buildings in a block are hemmed in between neighbors on both side, the corner building establishes its physical presence, and in this case, more so by being sited on top of an imposing grassy knoll. The corner lot can act as a bookend, serving to mark the end of the block. It may serve as a bridge connecting one block to the next block extending the sense of physical and social connectivity. Or it may serve as an outpost with its windows opening onto two streets allowing the residents to monitor street activities on the west, north, and northwest.
Our research also yielded some unsolved mysteries. On the upper floor, we discovered two finished attic rooms that had latches on the outside of the room doors. This suggested that these rooms were secured from outside. But what could have been inside these attic rooms? In the basement, the owner explained the wall paint, stairs, exit details, and drawings by recounting a story that a child care facility was once located in the basement. We wonder if this is evidence from 2011 when, City Permits records suggest, authorities instituted a special enforcement case against the then owners of the building suggesting the existence of a possible illegal rooming house.
House History Information
Resident – Wright’s Milwaukee City Directories
1920: House Built
1921–1939: Geo & Anna Bogenberger (Owner & VP of 35th St. Garage)
1935: Geo & Anna Bogenberger; Edwin A. & Esther Bogenberger-Tenants (Mgr. 35th St. Garage)
1940–1941: Theo P. & Olivia Metziger (Interior Decorator)
1942–1951: Joseph J. & Mae E. Andrulaitis (Civil Engineer)
Owner – City of Milwaukee
1920: George Bogenberger
1942-1951: J. Andrulaitus
1988: Kenneth Cummings
1962: Robert Wuchener
1993: Henry Redd
2005-2007: Antoinette Redd
2008: Wells Fargo Bank
2009: Shawn Nash
2010-2012: Holt Holdings
2013: ALM Properties II LLC
2014: Holt Holdings
2015: City of Milwaukee
City Permits – City of Milwaukee
1920: Building Permit for Bungalow & Garage
1921: Plumbing Permit & Occupancy Permit
1951: Installation of Gas Conversion Burner
1962: Electrical Permit – Electric Range
1988: Electric Permit – Repair Meter Socket
2011: Special Enforcement Case - Possible Illegal Rooming House
2015: Seller Notice - City of Milwaukee DCD - in REM
2016: HVAC Permit - Replace Furnace, Natural Gas
2016: Electrical Permit - Repair Wire Furnace
2017: Electrical Permit - Repair & Replace electrical sockets on 2nd FL & Kitchen
2017: Plumbing Permit - Laundry Room Tray Install
Cement block foundation
Plaster walls and ceilings over wooden lathe
North facing front facade