History help needed in Germantown.




April 10, 2017 – Germantown, WI – There’s a history-challenge throw down in Germantown as David Gutbrod and his wife are in the midst of a remodel of a brick farmhouse built in 1878.

See note below:

Hello Judy,

My wife and I have recently purchased an old brick farmhouse built in 1878 on Hwy 145 in Germantown. We are in the process of restoration with the intention of bringing the exterior back to its original historic state. The interior will be converted to an office.

The house was built by John F. Schwalbach who was a prominent businessman and politician. We have done a lot of research seeking information about the house in order to accurately preserve the structure.

The oldest photo we can find was taken in the 1960’s. We contacted The Germantown Historical Society and they are currently unable to provide us with any further information.

It is a fascinating project that has drawn interest by the local community. I was hoping you could help me get the word out that we are looking for any information or old photographs that would aid us.

Possibly one of your readers would recognize the structure and have some information?


Can you please help us?  Thanks,

  David Gutbrod



  1. If you look up property/land tax records attached to that address (not a fun task but one you should be able to go back and do), it will tell you who owned the property, what years, any sales, or changes to said household.
    From there you may be able to contact surviving family members to prior owners, which would increase your odds of finding a photo or learning history.

  2. I know the house but do not have any old photos. I have sent a message to my Mom as she may have some information on the house. I’ve lived in Germantown almost 50 years – began on Western Avenue and now live on Donges Bay. Hang tight for her response

  3. Krueger mansion? I think we lived across the HWY on corner of Park AVE and 145. Crazy things happened in this house during my childhood( 45-80s). Pigs in the basement, chickens in the kitchen and a lot of junk outside. Let me know if this is the right place.

  4. This was my grandparents place where my entire moms side of the family grew up. I hope you all restore it like it should have been. We were never able to see the right side of the house for it was full of clutter. I’d love to see the restoration after I’m out of the army

  5. Hi I am Barb Enigl I am one of the kids that live in that house I’m so glad that someone is taking interest in the old house it has a lot of beautiful charm to it thank you so much for that my mom and dad always wanted to refinish it I’m glad there is no eyes new hands and New Life to that house thank you so much Barb

    • Hi my name is Bob and I go my girlfriend sent me the link I am one of the children that lived and that helps I love the old charm that house the winters weren’t so nice as we heated with wood burning stove but I got to love the smell of wood burning cuz of it Mom and Dad always had apatity sitting on top waiting for anyone to drink I am so glad that there is someone that has the the time the interest that there are new hands and New Life to that house I am so glad that you are doing that I never wanted that has to be torn down thank you from the bottom of my heart can’t wait to see the finished product my prayers and thankfulness go out to you thank you

  6. Yep that was my grandparents farmstead. Had it since 1961 when they rented it when they first moved in then bought it in 62. Chickens ducks and geese would roam the land but never in the house. Grandpa took pride in his poultry and in his gardening. I loved helping in the garden, and taking buckets of water down to the vegetable fields and even had my own garden there a couple of years while Grandpa showed me many tricks of the trade. He had many awards at State fair for them all as well. There use to be a screened porch on the front right and a little Juliet type balcony off the upper window as well on the left. I remember some days it would take 3 1/2 hrs to mow the lawn. Easter egg hunts were a blast to try n find all the goodies. Can’t wait to see it restored! Thank you David for not bulldozing it.

  7. This house was built by the Rinzel family (not sure of the spelling, it might be Rünzel) when they had the surrounding land as their farm. In 1960, when I was in first grade at Germantown State Graded School (later called MacArthur Elementary School), one of the boys in the class lived in that house. His name was Allen Kockza. (Again, not sure of the spelling. Making a phonetic guess.) He lived there with his parents and younger sister until a house fire killed his sister part way through the school year. The family moved away immediately after the fire. The Kreuger family moved in shortly after. Mrs. Krueger was a Girl Scout leader and a very kind woman.

  8. I am the chair of the Germantown Historic Preservation Comission. I sent Lori some info that could be helpful. Judy Kind grew up in the house and lives in Germantown. There is also a link below that has some information about the Schwalbach family.
    The HPC researches properties like this for the owners and offers them an option to become a Germantown Historic Property. No obligation or fee.


    Rick Miller
    Trustee Dist #2
    Village of Germantown
    [email protected]

  9. Check the Washington County Historical Society inside the famous old West Bend Jailhouse on the 2nd or 3rd floor, south end of the building. They have massive historical archives in paper as well as a searchable computer database. There is no charge (perhaps a small fee if you print materials) and they’ll even look up materials for you ahead of time by request.

    I searched for old railroad track info maybe 3 years ago and it was a treasure trove; I spent an enjoyable 2 hours there with the friendly staff. They have “plat maps” showing land ownership etc. and several other types of map. I looked at stuff dating 1890-1950, but I’m sure they have older stuff too.

    I think they’re open daily from something like 9-4p.

    • My name is Al Schwalbach, my great grandpa built this home. My aunt was born in December 1925 , she is still alive and told me today that she was born in that house.

  10. I grew up on Park Avenue in the ‘60’s-‘70’s. As soon as I saw this picture I recognized it. Never actually got up close to it, as it was rather foreboding to me as a child. I remember seeing a young boy at the edge of this property. The whole place seemed to be in a world of its own. I’d love to see it.

Leave a Reply