Why Mary Nohl Home Must Be Moved
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel picks up on the controversy, but the story and its handling is rather bizarre.
Last week Thursday, there was a fascinating forum at the Milwaukee Art Museum about the fate of the Mary Nohl home, which Michael Horne covered for Urban Milwaukee Dial the next day.
Four days later the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel finally reported on the forum, and not for its general newspaper audience, but only for readers of its North Shore NOW publication. (The story first ran in print today.)
Reporter Jeff Rumage adds some new information to the story, namely that the village of Fox Point took the Kohler Foundation to court in 2005 “because the organization held fundraisers, tours, bus tours and operated the house like a museum. The village won on the grounds that a museum does not comply with the residential zoning of the area.”
“Also in 2005,” Rumage tells us, “85 percent of households on the same street as the Mary Nohl House signed a statement in opposition to a museum. In 2006, more than 100 residents showed up to a public hearing wearing buttons that said ‘no museum.’”
That’s about all the new information in the story. Rumage gives a cursory summary of speech by Ruth DeYoung Kohler, which was the main event at the forum, with by far the most impact.
And he allows Milwaukee historian and weekly Journal Sentinel columnist John Gurda to get the last word in his story.
You could chalk all this up to an interpretive difference between two reporters, or conclude the story was really written more to serve the residents of Fox Point, in a weekly supplement that distributed only to North Shore readers.
The more troubling question is why the state’s largest newspaper would think the story only of interest to a small minority of its readers. Mary Nohl is an artist of statewide or even national interest among arts lovers and the home, it appears, will have to be moved to Sheboygan by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. That’s a dramatic story, surely of state-wide interest, treated here as though its merely relevant to Fox Point. That would seem to buttress the insular position of the Fox Point powers that be, whose main concern seems to be pleasing the residents living along the lake.