Press Release:

Waukesha, Wisconsin, August 18, 2011.

Bartles-Maguire Gas Station

Despite efforts by The Waukesha Preservation Alliance, the fate of Walley’s Service Station may be looking bleak…  Although the building was made a local landmark in 2010 and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, it seems that the YMCA may just have their way and demolish this piece of Waukesha history to make a parking lot.

YMCA attorney Stan Riffles has clearly stated the interest of the YMCA in tearing the building down, and that was likely their intent from the onset of purchasing the old gas station.

In a June 14th article published in the Patch, Amy Gilgenbach reported that the YMCA is asking $159,900 for the historic property. However, when purchased by the YMCA in 2010 for $152,500, the property was assessed at $125,000 with an equalized value of $129,900. The 2011 tax bill lists an assessed value of $125,000 with an equalized value of $124,500.  The real question is why the YMCA paid more than $20,000 more for the property than what it is valued?

In a recent discussion with Mary Emery, it appears that a private individual is making a written offer for the building, that when combined with donations and a $5000 challenge grant from the Wisconsin Preservation Fund, totals approximately $120,000.00 – a number substantially lower than the asking price by the YMCA.  But according to Chris Becker, YMCA chief executive officer, “It is just that – an asking price.”  Again, quoting Amy Gilgenbach, the real intent behind the purchase rolled over the lips of the YMCA’s attorney: “We don’t want to be the seller. We want to knock it down. We’re being reasonable in terms of why. But if somebody came in with an offer, we would obviously look at it,” Riffles said.

To me this may be just a game of politics for the YMCA, and if no one purchases the building at their asking cost – a price $22,600 more than its value – than Waukesha residents can expect to see a parking lot on the corner of Hartwell Avenue and Broadway.

For more information about this project or to offer a (tax deductable) donation, please visit the WPA website: Wisconsin Preservation Fund, or contact Mary Emery at 262-547-8364 email:

Support the preservation of this landmark by “liking” the Bartles-Maguire Facebook Page .

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2 Responses to Will Walley’s Service Station Be Demolished?

  • Recently this issue of declaring a piece of property as a historic site came up on my radar in WI. I like others are getting tired of organizations like yours and cities like Waukesha sticking their noses in the way of progress and the rights of property owners. You can bet I have more money than you will ever see. This has nothing to do with the YMCA but rather organizations like yours, government and others overtaking the rights of property owners and holding them hostage to meet your demands. [explicit] yes I’ll make a substantial donation to the YMCA. No problem there! That YMCA will proceed with their plans for the good of the community and organizations like yours can just piss off.

    • @Koch:
      First. I’m sorry that you feel as though anyone is

      sticking their noses in the way of progress and the rights of property owners.

      Second. Neither I nor this website are an organization. The organization that you refer to is actually government at both the state and federal level, and the process of declaring the gas station a landmark began well before the YMCA initiated their scheme to destroy the landmark. If the YMCA were going use the property for anything but a few parking stalls their vehemence would appear more appropriate.