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5 bedroom, 3 bath, view of bocce courts

wheeler_house

Several years ago I took my kids to the playground at Wheeler Field. We went into the clubhouse for a bit, and I read the signs that explain the history of the place and the Wheeler family. We went back outside, and I got into a time-traveling kind of mood, imagining moving away from the places I know for this vast wilderness, running a pioneer’s household without the help of other women, giving birth to babies here. This mind trip was made easier by looking at the huge, wooded hill behind us. “This is what it would have looked like to her, too,” I imagined.

But that’s not the case anymore. I was there on Tuesday, and saw this house being built. It’s too late for me to take a “before” picture, but I looked it up on google maps. I can’t see where the road to the house would be, but I guess it’s connected to Skyline.

I don’t usually feel like development is bad. My house is on developed land, right? Who am I to tell someone else they can’t have a house, too? But being witness to the first sticking-out-like-a-thumb house on this hill makes me sad. I suppose by the time my kids are grown, the hill will be full of houses.

28 Comments

Jen

about 9 years ago

I drove by the house this past weekend. The driveway comes right off of Skyline Parkway. Apparently the numerous homes for sale throughout the City just weren't good enough for this family.

vicarious

about 9 years ago

Won't they also have a fabulous view of the WLSSD processing site?

Dizastress

about 9 years ago

My husband and I have recently noticed this house on the hill while coming from Superior over the Bong bridge.  Your eyes are drawn right to it as it sits in such stark contrast to the area all around it.  It made us wonder how and when any of that area was made available for development.  And made us wonder further how much more of it is available, and how quickly others will follow suit and build on the hill.  It truly does feel like the end of an era.  Far be it from us to say that anyone cannot or should not build there, but I still reserve the right to say that the hill looks horribly changed and marred.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

With all due respect for whoever built the place and the apparent right to do it, I have to concur that it is hideous. 

I drove by the construction about two weeks ago without paying much attention. I assumed the crew was working on a retaining wall for Skyline Drive.

It was just yesterday that I noticed this monstrosity on the western hillside. Good grief. My NIMBY alarm is going to drive me nuts.

Barrett

about 9 years ago

I can just see the developer's promotional brochure: "Have a house with a view ... among white people!"

chris

about 9 years ago

I noticed it a couple weeks ago while sitting in the parking lot at wheeler.  I was struggling to try and figure out where the hell the access was.  It seemed that logically it would be Skyline Pkwy.  But I discounted that immediately because I didn't figure you could build there.  That on that entire stretch from Highland to 28th, there's only that one house above Oneota Cemetery. I just always figured it was government owned or something and completely shut off for development.  I would be very interested in knowing the details of the transaction.

davids

about 9 years ago

It's possible this property was one of the many tax forfeit parcels that we all take for granted as "green space," but which is really just land that hasn't been developed yet because whoever first staked a claim to it stopped paying taxes so it reverted to the county. 

The St. Louis County Commission(which has oversight all tax forfeit land in the county, including within the city limits), has pretty actively been trying to sell parcels of tax forfeit land for the past several years. I'm currently on the mayor's Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), and one of the main items the council monitors and comments on is tax forfeit sales. We have a lot of what looks like park land in the city of Duluth, but much of it has no formal protection from development.

If this is something you think is important, you should let your county commissioners know that you want them to consider the "green" value of not developing tax forfeit parcels, including recreation, aesthetics, water runoff treatment benefits of undeveloped land, etc. 

(And now I've said all this, I'll repeat that it's possible that particular property was NOT in this category).

Calk

about 9 years ago

Sad. I remember growing up, there were all these fields and orchards on the edges of my hometown, it was easy to imagine what it was like for pioneers 100 years earlier. Now it's all developments, and even gated communities further out of town, all named for the ranches that used to be there. My hometown looks like San Diego now and not in a good way. It's too bad, as Beverly says, that this hill is one day going to be covered with homes -- when there's plenty of housing elsewhere in the city. I'm not anti-development, I am for responsible development. And this looks like irresponsible development to me.

Barrett

about 9 years ago

Whoever these people are, I bet they play golf with the people who live in the Lakewalk condos.

Disappointed

about 9 years ago

I may be wrong, but I believe this was private land that once belonged to a man named Richard Peterson who owns a big chunk of the bluff there from the Skyline overlook above Wheeler to Haines Road(and also a big piece near Keenes Creek Park in Hermantown).  This plot angles down along the creek, abutting Northwood Children's home's land.  He may be selling lots now, as the driveway to this house off of Skyline continues down the hill well past the house.  This isn't tax foreit land.  However, it is a big concern that large portions of tax forfeit land is going to be sold for development, because this is being looked into.

Adsmackbar

about 9 years ago

I believe the city council just rezoned some wetlands by Kohls for another strip mall on Monday.

reddomain

about 9 years ago

i was told that Billman's is building that home.

c-freak

about 9 years ago

ok. let's not rip on golfers. some of us are totally punk rawk. at least they will have a great view watching the CARMODY women's sofball team kick some ass this year!

Barrett

about 9 years ago

I didn't know you played for Carmondies.

HoseDragger

about 9 years ago

I was told the other day the owner might be a psychiatrist......what was it that Yvonne use to do? You don't think?,.....no, that would be too damn funny. 

Whatever, now we'll have to be burdened with that extra tax base and such.

Wonder what the taxes should be on a place that is just west of the unofficial stereo test area and burnout pad of town. Hope they're music lovers and enjoy the smell of smoking Toyos.

Not to speak of the great view and proximity of the new Western middle school. If they have kids they can just roll down the hill to school in the fall and ride their toboggan in the winter.

Green

about 9 years ago

Having been raised in Duluth and visiting often, it is sad to see open beautiful green space and a view aspired by many communities across the U.S. blighted by housing development. Developments like this begin to chip away at that natural beauty. Guessing personal greed trumps protecting one of Duluth's assets. How will water and sewer utilities be provided at such a remote point? Hope not at local & MN taxpayer expense; nor, damaging to the hillside environment.

HoseDragger

about 9 years ago

Hey Green, just to put you at ease, poop runs downhill and connects to Northwoods West. Water is provided by a drilled well.

chris

about 9 years ago

You're building a house on Skyline.  It's visible from miles in several directions.  It is truly one of the most visible homes in all of Duluth.  And you're having Billman build it?  Must have blown their wad on the lot.  If it was up to me I'd rather not see any house up there.  But if its going to be there I'd rather see something from one of the high end custom builders in town.

Rae

about 9 years ago

If the land is for sale why get mad at someone for buying it?  I could use the same arguement about all the McMansions on London Road that obscure the beautiful view of Lake Superior.

Plus, don't you think the house is the "most visible" one on the skyline because its the only one that's still covered in Typar/Tyvek and not yet sided? I'm sure (hoping) it will blend in more once its sided.

I also was wondering how water and sewer were to be provided.  Must be an expensive well when you have to drill through bedrock.

Chris

about 9 years ago

The fact it's the only one in that area makes it stand out as well.  Siding will help, but for now it is a lonely island of development in that stretch of Skyline.

eco eco

about 9 years ago

Hell, I'm quite willing to say I'm anti-development, except I don't bother with euphemisms and just say I'm anti-destruction. I'm opposed to the destruction of any acre of land in semi-natural condition and I don't care if it's for businesses, McMansions, dead veterans, abandoned pets, or homeless people. There's already more than enough housing for everyone who lives here. If we run out, we start neutering.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

There goes the thoughtful criticism. Oh, well. It was good while it lasted.

Barrett

about 9 years ago

I wouldn't call the historic homes built by northern Minnesota's founders 100+ years ago "McMansions." They are actually mansions.

zra

about 9 years ago

the Cramondees s'ball team is gon na rawk this year!

rediguana

about 9 years ago

I noticed the lot being cleared and construction equipment present several weeks ago, but only today did I see it was actually a house. Sad.

Get used to the idea of that hillside being developed, though. The new Western Middle School is going in on it right below the house.

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

The middle school isn't going "right below the house," but it will be nearby. It'll be connected to the West End neighborhood, separated a bit by some wetlands. Schematics can be found by clicking here. (Warning: It's not the fastest loading PDF in the world.)

Conrad

about 5 years ago

This house still irks me.  It's not the house its the giant fence that was built which killed one of Skyline's greatest sections.

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