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Press story sparks interest in abstracts PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:44

Article on history of property’s real estate transactions prompts donation of records that Historical Society says are invaluable to tracing the evolution of city

    After reading a recent Ozaukee Press story about the abstract for a downtown Port Washington building and the history it brought to life, a woman called the Port Washington Historical Society.
    She, too, had an abstract of title for a property on Pier Street and wondered if the society would like it.
    The answer is yes, said Jackie Oleson, co-director of the society’s Resource Center.
    “That is probably one of the most valuable things we can get to trace the evolution of the city,” she said.
    An abstract is essentially a record of all the financial transactions attached to a property, from sales and mortgages to bankruptcies and liens.
    The Aug. 10 Press story told the tale of the building at the corner of Main and Franklin streets that houses Biever Travel and the Shoppes of Port Washington.
    Its abstract, shared by former building owner Jim Biever, recorded the story of the property from the time it was sold by the federal government to Wooster Harrison in 1935 — more than a decade before Wisconsin became a state and Port became a city — until it was sold to the Biever family in 1962.
    The record showed the initial tract of land sold, more than 75 acres, was split and divided numerous times to names that resound through the city’s history, including Leland Stanford, Solon Johnson and Solomon Juneau.
    While abstracts were once a common feature presented at the sale of a property, they are no longer. Instead, title companies search records going back 60 years and then present a title commitment at the closing of a sale.
    Oleson said these documents offer a plethora of information about the formation of the community.  
    “If anyone out there has an abstract, if they would just let us copy it, it would help us fill out the history of the city,” she said.
    “We’re always looking for that kind of information.”
    To reach the Historical Society, call 268-9150. Daily Press