Now intern surveys Gemantown's historic places

Above right: The Christ Evangelical Church off of Fond du Lac Avenue will leave you wondering, ‘where is the rest of the church?’ with its small size and simple architecture.

Above right: The Christ Evangelical Church off of Fond du Lac Avenue will leave you wondering, ‘where is the rest of the church?’ with its small size and simple architecture.

July 7, 2016

When my editor first approached me about doing a story on Germantown, he prefaced it by telling me about the Historical Preservation Commission meeting that was coming up.

Somehow the good Lord had mercy on me, and the editor shared instead of attending the meeting, I would be doing a driving tour of historic properties of Germantown. The commission was planning to discuss changes to its brochure.

What's a driving tour you ask? I'll let your imagination wander, taking you on your own personal journey.

Also, because I knew nothing about what I was getting myself into when I sauntered out of the office on a balmy 80-degree day.

I was excited to have the wind in my hair and sunshine on my arms, setting out for the Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce. As I belted my radio tunes (country music in case you were wondering) and neared my destination I became increasingly confused.

Why was I approaching a shopping center and where was my GPS taking me? I became even more confused when my so-called "destination" was just a pin in the middle of nothing.

Using my investigative journalism skills, 10 minutes later the pin led me to a Chase Bank. Spoiler alert: this is where Germantown's Chamber of Commerce is located.

And no, don't expect a sign of any sort.

Before taking off on your driving adventure (or really any adventure for that matter), I advise you read the pamphlet with your destinations, carefully. Carefully and slowly. Read them carefully and slowly. The consequences you face if you don't could truly be detrimental and/or idiotic. I speak from personal experience.

Apparently the first five houses on the driving tour are private property; it's a realization that didn't occur until a dog bounded up to my car as I snapped photos at house No. 2. That's when the light bulb went off and I took a closer look at the pamphlet. I send my deepest apologies to those homeowners for trespassing on their property. Just remember it was for the love of journalism and lesson learned: my blonde hair color still sometimes affects my thought process and to read the pamphlet closely.

If you want to get to know the roads of Germantown or see some pretty farmland, this tour is for you. But honestly, overall I'm just a little confused by the driving tour, but maybe it's just me.

What's the point of "viewing architectural design of buildings" like the pamphlet says if you can barely even get a glance at them as you drive by. Hope that there is no one behind you so the car can just stop in the middle of the road? I guess that might be one of the many reasons as to why the Historical Preservation Commission is looking at revamping the brochure.

Favorite building:The Johann Knetzger Homestead located at W188 N12369 Maple Road was definitely a looker. It's difficult to select what my favorite part was about the home. Between the little red house that greets you upon entering the driveway, seeming like some old colonial person should be popping out with fresh baked biscuits and some lemonade and the really cute dog the homeowners have, it is a winning property all around.

Most interesting:As I continue to refelct on the driving tour, one building that sticks out is the Valentine Wolf House at N128 W18780 Holy Hill Road. The little brown cottage, adorned with German flags that screams old-time beer hall appears as if it is straight out of a little European town. It is absolutely adorable and just picturesque. It gets you wondering, what in the heck is a building like this doing located at an intersection in Germantown, and can I get myself a cold one?

McKenna Oxenden will be a junior at Marquette University and is an intern with Now newspapers for the summer.

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