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Chippewa Falls West Hill neighborhood officially recognized as historic

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cook rutledge mansion
Cook-Rutledge Mansion, built in 1887, example of Italianate architecture, a style also seen throughout downtown Chippewa Falls

CHIPPEWA FALLS (WQOW) - After three years of research, writing and hearings, Chippewa Falls West Hill Residential District is being listed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places.

The neighborhood is located between Chi-Hi, River Street and downtown.
It's home to notable properties like the Cook-Rutledge Mansion as well as many other homes with notable architectural styles.

Museum developer for the Chippewa County Historical Society Frank Smoot said the neighborhood is being recognized for much more than its fancy homes but for showing the history of the town and its significance to Wisconsin's heritage.

"The houses they take as individual properties that are part of the district are houses that teach us something about the community that they're in," he said of how neighborhoods are chosen to be on the historic register. "So, how does this neighborhood exemplify what's happening in Chippewa Falls over a long period of time?"

Smoot said part of the process of becoming listed on the historic register was having public forums. While some residents have been concerned that the historic status means property owners need to be wary of any renovations they make, Smoot said as long as you're updating your home with your own money, not from the federal or state historic register, you're free to modify your home as you wish.

Within the West Hill Residential Historic District are nearly 200 homes, 140 of which have been identified by the Wisconsin Historical Society as conveying examples of architecture such as Italianate, Queen Anne, Craftsman, Bungalow, Prairie School, Tudor Revival and Colonial Revival, popular between 1870 and 1970.

Smoot added another thing that makes this neighborhood special is how well these old homes have been maintained over the years.

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Felicity Bosk

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