Lannon's small-town charm is carved out of native stone - History, and noise, of quarries is ingrained in homes and residents
Journal Sentinel - Sunday, March 21, 1999
Author: LUKE KLINK, Special to the Journal Sentinel
The Monacellis live near Mibb's and Viv's, the tavern and restaurant they run in the heart of this small village in northern Waukesha County. 7300 N. Lannon Road, Lannon.
The village is best known as the source of vast quantities of the cream-colored dolomite limestone used for home-building and landscaping.
Appropriately, many of the homes in this community of 924 residents were built from the stone hauled out of the surrounding land. Today, gaping pits, hidden behind tall berms and fences, continue to churn out tons of Lannon stone each year.
The rock-splitting crack of explosives punctuate the atmosphere each spring through fall, shaking walls and stirring dust. Even longtime residents like the Monacellis are still startled sometimes.
"We have a lot of dust but they have to run their businesses, too," said Patsy Monacelli. "They blast and it really rumbles sometimes and it might scare you. But the worst part of it is the truck traffic rumbling through town."
Patsy said she and her husband purchased a home in the village after taking over the family business from Ronald's parents because they liked Lannon's small-town feel.
"This is a good place to live and we have nice neighbors," said Patsy Monacelli. "It's a friendly community."
Like their neighbors, the Monacellis were hit hard with special assessments about two years ago when sewer was extended through much of the village. Each single-family home in the village was assessed about $5,000 to help pay for the sewers.
When village officials pushed to install public water at the same time, residents revolted, generating some fiery exchanges at village board meetings. Public water was defeated by referendum and several board members either resigned or were ousted in a recall election.
"We needed the sewers, but the village should have put in water at the same time they did the sewers," said Patsy Monacelli.
Long-running businesses like Betti Anne's Antiques and Garry Joeck's Service share space along Main St. with tracts of farm land and vacant store fronts. Most residents work outside Lannon, so downtown often is a quiet place to be on a weekday.
Many homes in Lannon were built near the intersection of Main St. and Lannon Road, close to village hall and the recreational facilities at Joeck's Memorial Park.
Some newer homes have been built on the far west side of the village, in a development called Lannon Village Hills.
Patsy said she is not looking forward to the day when the village's substantial amount of undeveloped farmland is turned into commercial or residential neighborhoods.
Village clerk Judy Hughes said there is currently not much real estate activity in the village.
There were 541 zoned parcels in the village in 1998 with an average assessed value of $98,753. The tax rate varies slightly depending upon which school district a home lies within -- $23.56 per $1,000 of equalized value in the Hamilton School District in Sussex , $23.36 for the Menomonee Falls schools.
Jean Badzio, a sales agent for Century 21 Property Specialists in Menomonee Falls, said homes do not go up for sale often in Lannon because there are not a lot of homes in the village. Only 13 Lannon homes sold in 1998 at an average of $131,592, according to the Metro Multiple Listing Service in Wauwatosa.
"Lannon is a good area. Highway 74 goes right through the area giving it major access to the east and west," said Badzio. "It's a nice little area."
Ward and Loretta Kunz built a home in the village 48 years ago on Main St.
Loretta Kunz said she believes the small-town charm of Lannon will be lost if residential development increases.
"I think the leaders are trying to make a city out of the town," said Loretta Kunz.
"This used to be a peaceful town and it was a small town, and now it seems like we are trying to live up to Sussex or Menomonee Falls and then we won't be a small town any more."
Former village president Shirley Ravnik said she anticipates only slight future growth in the village because much of the village's undeveloped land is either wetland or part of a quarry operation.
"A lot of people see all of our vacant land and think people will be building on it, but the fact is that much of it is not buildable," said Ravnik, who has lived 24 years in the village with her family.
Ravnik, who helped publish a book nearly 20 years ago on the 50th anniversary of the village, said large quarry firms in Lannon like Halquist Stone and Lannon Stone Products make up much of the village's history.
"Most of the people who have lived in the village were those who worked for these quarries," said Ravnik.
Memo: For graphic see microfilm or bound file
Monacelli, Ronald "Chubby" A.
Author: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Of Lannon . Passed away at home peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Sat., Aug. 27, 2005. at the age of 59 years. Beloved husband of Patsy (nee Lauer). Loving father of Michele "Missy" (Paul) Paul and Michael (Gina) Monacelli. Fond grandpa of Andrea, Kala, Danielle and Jessica. Dear brother of Susie (Jim "Short") Klink. Dear uncle of Danny, Brian and Corey. Further survived by aunts, uncles, other relatives and many, many friends. Funeral Service Mon., Aug. 29 at 7PM AT THE FUNERAL HOME. Private burial at St. James Church Cemetery. Visitation Monday 3-8PM AT THE FUNERAL HOME. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Lannon Little League Park appreciated. Chubby was the owner of Mibb's and Viv's in Lannon . The Monacelli family would like to thank everyone who was involved in Chubby's health care over the past years. SCHMIDT& BARTELT A.A. Schmidt & Sons Funeral and Cremation Service N84 W17937 Menomonee Ave. Menomonee Falls 262-251-3630