Michael Horne
House Confidential

A Festive Home on “Candy Cane Lane”

The home of Kenneth Perkl, a Candy Cane Lane organizer, whose family hands out candy to the kids.

By - Dec 23rd, 2013 01:12 pm
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The Perkl house on Candy Cane Lane pre-decoration. Photo from the City of West Allis.

The Perkl house on Candy Cane Lane pre-decoration. Photo from the City of West Allis.

For a couple of weeks each year a few blocks in West Allis shed their anonymity and bathe themselves in a blaze of color much to the delight of passersby.

Welcome to Candy Cane Lane, the 28th annual fantasy of lights and decoration that transforms this workaday western suburb into one of the stars of the heavens.

The old factory city drops the smokestacks and puts on its ruby slippers, all for a good cause. “Sharing Christmas” helps raise funds for the Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer [MACC] Fund.

According to its website:

The event is free, but visitors may donate at the official collection site at the corner of S. 95th St. and W. Manitoba Ave. These donations translate into a perpetual gift of hope and life for children with cancer.

The goal this year is $100,000. As of this writing, some $37,289 has been raised. [Follow progress here.]

Every year the neighbors in the area bounded by S. 92nd St, S. 96th St. and W. Oklahoma and W. Montana avenues haul out their carefully collected and crafted ornaments, lights, garlands, moving figures and assorted seasonal do-dads to create this visual delight.  High School students wrap tree trunks in white and red stripes.

The spectacle is sure to please old and young alike.

Candy Cane Lane House

A Candy Cane Lane house all done up.

You don’t believe me? Let’s put it this way: Santa visits every single night until December 23rd, when he has to pack up and head for the North Pole. [Take that Whitefish Bay. You can stick to your pumpkins.]

“Please remember to drive with your lights on,” signs caution along the route. Otherwise drivers might not see the vehicles in front of them, so compelling are the displays on all sides.

With over 300 neighbors participating in an event that has raised over $1.6 million since its 1984 inception, it is hard to choose just one home to be the House Confidential honoree.

This year it goes to Kenneth and Jane Perkl. According to an onmilwaukee.com report, Ken Perkl is one of the 7-person committee that organizes the event each year. He does it out of the goodness of his heart, standing in the cold, manning a collection point and handing out candy for the kids.

Ken enjoys it so much, he says, that he spends 11 months of the year just waiting for this one. Those months are spent in the Perkls’ 1,119 square foot 1957-vintage ranch home, valued at $118,700 on a 40 ft. by 125 ft. lot valued at $21,000, for a total assessed valuation of $139,700. Taxes on the property are $3,830.73.

The Perkls bought the home in September 2003 for $151,900.

The Perkl residence has 3 bedrooms and 1 full and 1 half-bath. There is a full basement, with 520 square feet of that a finished recreation room. There is a 352 square foot detached garage on the property. And somewhere, Santa and his elves have a place to stash some of the most delightfully animated examples of their handicraft to be found this side of the North Pole.

See for yourself! Candy Cane Lane is open to vehicles — and pedestrians (“truly a walk in a Winter Wonderland”) Monday – Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. until December 27th. Sorry to say you missed former House Confidential Honoree John McGivern’s performance there on Wednesday, December 18th, 2013.

Candy Cane Lane website and calendar.

The Rundown

  • Style: Ranch
  • Location: City of West Allis
  • Neighborhood: Candy Cane Lane
  • Subdivision: Ammen’s Subdivision
  • Walk Score: 57 out of 100 “Somewhat Walkable” There is a George Webb’s .2 mile away. Then again, the nearest tavern, The Network, is .4 mile away, an unconscionable distance to have to go for a drink in that town.
  • Street Smart Walk Score: 43 out of 100. “Car-Dependent”
  • Size: 1,119 square feet of living area, with the rest reserved for Santa’s goodies.
  • Year Built: 1957
  • Assessed Value: Land — $21,000, Improvements — $118,700, Total — $139,700
  • Taxes –  $3,830.73, plus additional assessments for the Santa’s Elves Pension Plan (fully funded in candy canes).
  • How Milwaukee is it? The home is 10 miles from City Hall, and 200 feet above E. Wells St.

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Categories: House Confidential

2 thoughts on “House Confidential: A Festive Home on “Candy Cane Lane””

  1. Jane Dillon-Perkl says:

    Hi: We were told about your site thru a friend and were wondering what put us in the running for your award. We are honored, but just curious! Ken & Jane Perkl

  2. Frank Galvan says:

    Love Candy Cane Lane; it’s one of our Christmas traditions! Well done Ken and Jane.
    Love the WFB Pumpkins as well!
    PS: Go ahead and kick WFB in the nuts Michael; the residents won’t mind; they just got a tax windfall for Christmas!

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