Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Sale of historic Oshkosh home OK'd in bankruptcy court

Photo by Miles Maguire
The UW Oshkosh Foundation said the Alberta Kimball House got five offers, including the top one of $340,000.
By Miles Maguire

The UW Oshkosh Foundation has been given the go-ahead to sell the historic home at 1423 Congress Ave. that was built for businesswoman and philanthropist Alberta Kimball and later was acquired as a residence for the university’s top official.

The 1969 structure, described as a “classic example of American Mid-Century Modernism,” will fetch just $340,000. This amount is below its listing price of $399,900 and below the $450,000 the foundation paid in 2013 to the former owners, then-Chancellor Richard H. Wells and his wife, Christie Charbonneau Wells.

This rendering is taken from a brochure printed when the house was owned by former Chancellor Wells. 

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley approved the sale in an order dated July 24.

The buyers are Oshkosh residents Matthew Stromske and Michelle Depa, who currently own a nearby house on New York Avenue, according to city property records.

Court documents show that the proceeds of the sale will cover a $20,400 commission to real estate agent Megan Lang and pay off a mortgage of about $310,000 held by Verve credit union. The buyers will get a $10,000 credit to deal with a leaky roof, the foundation’s lawyer said in a filing.


The property was shown 30 times and attracted five offers, the filing says.

The house was put up for sale as part of the foundation’s bankruptcy proceedings, which began last year in the wake of an investigation by the state of Wisconsin. A key aspect of the foundation’s financial problems has been its investments in real estate.

When the Congress Avenue structure was built, Kimball was serving as president of the Miles Kimball Co., the mail-order business she took over after her husband’s untimely death. An immigrant from Germany, she ran the operation for 30 years and remained active in the community after the company was sold in 1980. She died in 1996.

In addition to her residence, Kimball left her mark on the city by investing in or helping to fund numerous projects, including the Park Plaza Mall, the adjacent waterfront hotel, the Chamber of Commerce Building, the Oshkosh Civic Auditorium (now named for her) and the expansion of the Oshkosh Public Library.

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