15 January 2008

Bulldozers Roll Towards Lake Wobegon, Keillor Climbs A Tree; Won't Come Down, Well Not Quite

Garrison Keillor and his wife, Jenny Lind Nilsson, a violinist in the Minnesota Opera orchestra, filed a lawsuit yesterday attempting to stop their next-door neighbours from building a 2-story addition they say would block their access to light and air.

Keillor's house was built in 1914 by the French architect Emmanuel Masqueray; a great Georgian pile atop the swankiest neighbourhood in town, St. Paul's Ramsey Hill historic district, with 13-foot ceilings, seven bedrooms and a sweeping, circular staircase.

I guess you can live like a king off an NPR salary... so long as its in St.Paul, Minnesota.

The Keillors want neighbour Lori Anderson to stop building the 1,900-square-foot stucco addition to the home she has owned since 1999.

Lori Anderson was vacationing in New Zealand with her fiance when they got an e-mail from Keillor accusing them of building a carriage house. He said they ended their vacation early and returned home, hoping to talk to Keillor and Nilsson to work things out.

But The Keillors refused to talk. Anderson said, "we just wish they would have talked to us before filing a suit."

The neighbours have now halted construction and asked their contractor to draw up two alternative sets of plans in an attempt to accommodate The Keillors.

Keillor released the following statement through a spokesman:

"My wife and I live in a historic St. Paul house in a historic neighborhood, and this gives us an obligation to defend the house and the neighborhood against violations of the beauty of Ramsey Hill... A two-story stucco addition eight feet from the western wall of our house is a violation of it."
We'll keep you posted on this hot topic debate.

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