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County Executive Abele defends his decision to tear down Shorewood mansion

Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 19:22:16-04

SHOREWOOD, Wis. — County Executive Chris Abele is defending his decision to tear down his $2.6 million Shorewood mansion. Abele bought the property earlier in the year, and last week he submitted a demolition application. Since then he has received backlash.

"We are just focusing on what’s next and we submitted our application to Shorewood. We don’t expect nor should we get any special treatment. We are following the same procedure everybody does as we should but most importantly we are looking forward to moving into a neighborhood we love," said County Executive Chris Abele.

Barbara Henderson lives right across from Abele's mansion. She said inside the walls there is history that needs to be preserved.

"I’m personally devastated by it. I can’t understand why he would do something like that. It's the most historic home in Shorewood. One of the most historic homes on the entire north shore," said Henderson.

The home does not have a historical designation, but Barbara said the nearly 100-year-old mansion has unique architectural characteristics not found in any other home.

"I’m not concerned with what he intends to build, I’m concerned with what he’s taking down and he is taking down a piece of our history that belongs to Shorewood. Once he takes that house down, it’s gone. It’s over," said Henderson.

The Mansion was built in the 1920s and featured handcrafted designs and details by the famous architect Alexander Eschwiler.

Bob Dean is the President of the Shorewood Historical Society, he said he reached out to Abele to come up with a comprise but he has not heard back.

"It has historical value to the community. Why select that and tear it down ... it’s not flying well with people," said Dean.

County Executive Abele said he is following every step and proper protocol in the process. Abele did not release any details on the future new home but said he plans to build a home that fits the style of Shorewood.

"My focus and Jennifer’s is moving into a house that blends, fits and respects the neighborhood and living next to a lot of neighbors, including right around there are good friends," said Abele.

Abele said he is looking forward to moving into a neighborhood and community he loves.

Dean said he plans to work on new ordinances so this doesn't happen in the future.

"All of us have seen in our lives things that are legal, but they are not right, and this is one of those things this is not right," said Dean.

The next step in the demolition application is to go before a design review board on June 20th.