Legendary W. Ben Hunt - Cabin Opens June 4

Published on: 5/23/2011

Back in the 1980s, when I wrote feature stories for Community Newspapers, I remember interviewing Jan Krueger, who lived next door to the Southwest YWCA (now Hartson Funeral Home.) When Jan and her husband Hal purchased their home, they also acquired the W. Ben Hunt log cabin.

While it was an honor to be owners of the historic log cabin, there were a few challenges as well – such as keeping the woodchucks and other wild animals from moving in. 

Since 1987 the cabin has been owned and maintained by the Hales Corners Historical Society. Local historian Bette Arey posted on the NOW site that the cabin will be open to visitors on June 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. The cabin will be open the first Saturday of every month at those times until November and occasionally at other special events.

For more information about the cabin, call Bob Zeit at (414) 425-6040.

While people in Hales Corners generally refer to him as “Ben Hunt,” his given name was Walter Bernard Hunt; he was born March 13, 1888 in the rural town of Greenfield. He attended South Division High School but dropped out to work as a lithographic engraver (now graphics designer) at the Bruce Publishing Company.

In 1920 Hunt and his wife Laura moved to Hales Corners; in 1924, with the help of his father-in-law and brother, Edwin Hunt, he built the log cabin behind his home. Made of tamarack logs, it was 16 by 28 feet and the subject of his first published article, “How We Built Our Log Cabin.”

Hunt became very interested in Native American culture and developed many personal acquaintances with Indian artists and leaders. He wrote prolifically about their crafts and customs for Boy’s Life magazine and served on staff of the National Boy Scout Jamboree.

Pictures of Hunt and other information about him and his work can be found at www.historichalescorners.org