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Vacant house is on course for a fiery demolition in New Berlin

Site will be used for golf cart parking instead

Jan. 28, 2014

New Berlin — A two-story house on the New Berlin Hills golf course that has been only occasionally used for storage will soon be razed.

The house, which has been vacant for years and has no garage or parking, is not suitable to sell or rent, said Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Mark Schroeder.

Situated only about 200 feet from the clubhouse, the site regularly sees a hubbub of golfers and golf carts going by, which creates privacy and liability concerns, Schroeder said.

The Parks Recreation and Forestry Commission has decided the land could be used better as a place to park golf carts, given that space for such a need is a little tight in that area north of the clubhouse, he said.

"The value was not in maintaining a house at the site," Schroeder said.

Recreation officials would like to see the home razed in February so the site can be cleaned up in March in time for the expected April 1 course opening, he said. It will be burned down soon during a firefighting practice exercise. New Berlin Fire Department officials are going through the approval process now.

There has been a golf course at New Berlin Hills since 1907, but even the New Berlin Historical Society officials don't know of any significance attached to the house, said David Totten, society president.

The house may have been used by the groundskeeper, Schroeder said.

Or it could have been one of the cottages built for members of the original 1907 nine-hole course that was named Woodmont Country Club by the prominent Milwaukee residents who founded it, according to a history of the golf course the New Berlin Historical Society. The founders included Oscar Greenwald of the former Gimbels department store chain.

One of the cottages was converted into the current clubhouse after the original clubhouse burned down in 1945. By that time, the course was owned by three bridge cronies — a real estate agent, a builder and an attorney — who purchased the course in 1943 and named it Lincoln Hills.

The rest of the cottages were razed after the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. bought the course in 1954 for the enjoyment of its employees and families, the Historical Society history says. Allis-Chalmers changed the name of the course to the W.A. Roberts golf course.

New Berlin bought the now 18-hole golf course in 1978 and turned it into a public course.

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