By Kathy Lanser
The much anticipated Cedarburg History Museum will celebrate its grand opening on Saturday, Feb. 18, as it opens its doors to the public at 10 a.m. Located in the heart of historic downtown Cedarburg at N58 W6194 Columbia Road, the Museum is the culmination of the efforts of the Cedarburg Cultural Center, The Cedarburg Landmark Preservation Society, local benefactors, and donor collections.
“The new history museum will be a key destination for tourists and local residents to entertain, educate and engage people interested in the history of our community,” said Sarah Titus, curator of the CHM. “Not only will visitors see historic photographs and artifacts, but they will also experience history by hearing the stories of our ancestors through interactive technology.”
The beloved General Store Museum has been re-located to the CHM and will be one of four main galleries. There will also be a working ice cream parlor and penny candy store, as well as a rotating exhibit gallery that will display objects from a number of local collections, as well as a gallery to showcase the celebrated Harold Dobberpuhl and Edward Rappold photography collections. A highlight of the historic photography gallery is the large interactive touch screen which allows visitors to travel back in time to enjoy the experiences of Cedarburgers past and present. Two additional interactive screens are located throughout the museum.
The grand opening coincides with Cedarburg’s 43rd Annual Winter Festival on Saturday Feb. 18 and Sunday Feb. 19. This year is a “Mardi Gras” theme, complete with an ice carving contest, hay rides, a parade, Chili Cook-Off, pancake breakfast, music, refreshments, and much more.
The Cedarburg History Museum, curated and managed by the Cedarburg Cultural Center, is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, please visit:
https://www.Facebook.com/TheCedarburgHistoryMuseum or call (262) 375-3676
The CHM is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Center to showcase the history of Ozaukee County. All galleries and restrooms are wheelchair accessible. Open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays Noon to 4 p.m.
Launched in 2015, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s “Gifts to the Community” program aims to provide special opportunities for citizens to connect with the area's positive characteristics. This year, in partnership with the Fund for Lake Michigan, area residents are being offered a special day of free admission to four signature destinations on our region’s shoreline, including two in Ozaukee County: the Port Exploreum and the 1860 Light Station.
On Saturday, October 15th, both the Port Exploreum and the 1860 Light Station will be open to visitors for free, as well as the Betty Brinn Children's Museum, Discovery World, and the Milwaukee Art Museum, all in downtown Milwaukee. Visitors to Port Washington will also find the Farmers Market happening downtown from 8 a.m. -12:30 p.m., and the tall ship Denis Sullivan will be in the harbor for special "Haunted Sullivan" sails.
As part of the Port Washington Historical Society, the 1860 Light Station and Port Exploreum vividly tell the stories of Port Washington from its earliest days to the present. The Light Station, located just east of the historic St. Mary’s Church, has been restored to reflect the life of a Light Keeper in the late 1800s. It will be open from 11 a.m - 4 p.m. The Port Exploreum, located in downtown Port, is a history and maritime museum that uses the latest technologies to interactively tell the stories of Port Washington and Lake Michigan. There are many hands on activities for kids, and the Exploreum's latest exhibit, "Nothing But Nets," which chronicles the history and social impact of commercial fishing on the Port Washington area. The Port Exploreum is open from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
For more information about the 2016 Gifts to the Community free access day, including destination information and program notes, visit greatermilwaukeefoundation.org/gifts.
About the Greater Milwaukee Foundation
For more than a century, the Greater Milwaukee Foundation has helped individuals, families and organizations realize their philanthropic goals and make a difference in the community, during their lifetimes and for future generations. The Foundation consists of more than 1,200 individual charitable funds, each created by donors to serve the charitable causes of their choice. The Foundation also deploys both human and financial resources to address the most critical needs of the community and ensure the vitality of the region. Established in 1915, the Foundation was one of the first community foundations in the world and is now among the largest.
About Fund for Lake Michigan
The Fund for Lake Michigan, a donor advised fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, was established in 2011 as part of an agreement between We Energies, Madison Gas and Electric, WPPI Energy, Clean Wisconsin and Sierra Club to safeguard the lake and improve water quality in the region. The Fund has awarded more than $15 million in grants over the past five years to restore habitat, improve beaches, clean up rivers and streams, and revitalize waterfronts in the Milwaukee Area.
This past spring, Saukville Library Director, Jen Gerber, and friends of the Oscar Grady Library, came together to republish a long-lost book by one of its residents, Bill Harrington, who was dubbed "The Poet of Saukville" by the Ozaukee Press, upon Harrington's death on April 1st, 1949.
The book, entitled Whistle Stop Poems, was written under the name Harrington Williams, and published in 1947 by the Ozaukee Press, where Harrington worked as a Sports Editor, just two years before Harrington died of a sickness he acquired while serving in the Navy in 1921.
On Saturday, September 24th, at 2:30, the Oscar Grady Public Library invites the public to a poetry reading from Whistle Stop Poems at the Ozaukee County Pioneer Village in Saukville.
Attendees are encouraged to listen to poems, or even to grab the mic and read one themselves. Light refreshments will be provided. Copies of the book will be available for purchase for $10, with proceeds of the book sale to benefit Saukville’s Oscar Grady Public Library programming.
Born in Milwaukee in 1903, Harrington was the son or Mr. and Mrs. Peter Harrington of Saukville. He attended Marquette University, but quit his studies to join the U.S. Navy in 1921, where he served in the South West Pacific. It was while he was doing rescue work during the great Japanese earthquake of 1923 that he was stricken with apoplexy, and was discharged from the service in 1925. After a long period of hospitalization in Veteran's hospitals, he returned to Saukville and began a career as a sports writer for the Ozaukee Press.
Pioneer Village is located at 4880 County Rd I in Saukville. For more information, visit http://www.oscargradylibrary.org.
By Adam Azzalino
May 2016 marks the 140th anniversary of the construction of one of Cedarburg’s prominent and picturesque landmarks, the covered bridge. In addition to being a historic landmark, the bridge documents a design long past. Estimates range that between 34 and 50 covered bridges were once scattered across the state. The covered bridge in Cedarburg is the sole survivor of this style.
Why bridges were covered in the late 19th century is not known. Lore and legend abound. Some say that they were covered to give shelter in storms. Others suggest that it was to provide protection from attacks by Native Americans, although this has largely been discounted by most architectural historians as myth. More likely, the covering was to protect the bridge’s structure from rain and snow.
The Cedarburg Bridge is not only unique for being the last of its kind, it is also unique in how it was erected. The lattice truss style of building bridges is rarely used in construction projects today. Three-by-ten-inch planks were webbed together and held together by two-inch pins. Three-inch planks were laid to create a floor. Sources indicate that the pine planks and lumber to construct the bridge were milled in Baraboo, Wis. At its completion, the bridge was 120 feet long and 12 feet wide. In 1927, a center abutment was added to handle the weight of cars.
The push to construct a covered bridge was a community effort. After flooding in Cedar Creek washed away several primitive bridges, nine farmers approached the Board of Supervisors of the Town of Cedarburg with a petition to build a covered bridge on May 18, 1876. Their petition proclaimed that the bridge was a “comfort for all the citizens in the north part of town…” Indeed, sources suggest that after its opening a dance was held to celebrate the new bridge, which was dubbed “The Red Bridge,” by townsfolk, as it was once painted a glossy red.
Its opening day would not be the last time the bridge was publicly recognized. In 1940, bridge maintenance was transferred to the Ozaukee County Board. As the twentieth century reached its midpoint, and covered bridges around the state began to fall into disuse and disappear, there were calls to preserve Cedarburg’s covered bridge.
The first group to recognize the bridge’s historical significance was the Port Washington chapter of the Daughters of The American Revolution (D.A.R.). On October 1, 1955, the ladies of the D.A.R., accompanied by the Port Washington High School band, dedicated a historical marker on the spot. The speaker at the dedication urged his audience to “…keep in memory those sturdy pioneers who, through patience and fortitude, finally overcame the elements and built a covered bridge which will endure for many years to come.” In 1961 an uncovered bridge was constructed west of the old covered bridge as a replacement to handle vehicle traffic. This led to the covered bridge being taken out of service in 1962. In 1965, the bridge was recognized with an official Wisconsin state marker presented by the Ozaukee County Historical Society. It read in part: “Last Covered Bridge—retired 1962.”
Jeanette Barr, the secretary of the Ozaukee County Historical Society, was one of the speakers at the dedication in 1965. Barr pondered what the future held for the covered bridge in a closing statement: “Who can guess what the scene will be at the last covered bridge in another 89 years--in the year 2054 A.D.?” The distance from that date is no longer so far-flung into the future, but little can be accurately predicted about the years ahead. As with any century, shocks and surprises and social advancements are sure to come. One thing can be said for certain, however; no matter how the future shapes the landscape—as long as the community of Cedarburg displays the same level of dedication and stewardship it has in the past—the bridge will remain a treasured part of the town.
*Originally published on the Ozaukee County Historical Society website, and reprinted with permission from the author.
The words of the great Scottish poet, Robert Burns, are sung by many on New Year's Eve: We'll drink a cup o' kindness, yet, for days of Auld Lang Syne. Auld Lang Syne means times long past. It is a song of reminiscence; a perfect sentiment to end the year. We give our regards to the past, and welcome the new, which isn't always easy.
In Port Washington, where I live, we said goodbye to a very dear part of our community this past year: Harry's Restaurant.
When my husband and I moved from Cedarburg to Port Washington in the Spring of 1999, one of the first places we came to know and love was Harry's. The owners, Bertie and Dale, recognized my husband from when he went to daycare with their children, but I suspect we would have been warmly welcomed, even if we had been complete strangers.
Harry's quickly became our weekend Cheers - the place where everybody knew our names. We nicknamed Joe, the cook, Satan, because of his pointy goatee. My husband would nudge me as we waited in line for our table: "Satan's in the kitchen - that means our breakfast will be good." Indeed, it was.
Wendy, our favorite waitress, always made time to chat with us. In fact, when I was in the hospital the day after our first child was born in 2002, my husband stopped into Harry's for breakfast. Wendy sent him to the hospital with a slice of Harry's famous Jewish Coffee Cake, and congrats from the staff. She did it again when my husband and my daughter went in for breakfast one June morning in 2005, when my son was born.
My children grew up at Harry's, with Bertie, Dale and Wendy remarking on how much they'd grown with every visit. First, they sat at the high chair. Then, there were the mouse-ear pancake years. Before we knew it, we were splitting the coffee cake over cups of tea and coffee, and they were ordering off of the grown-up menu. My son would pay at the register, then take a spin on the stools at the counter before we would head out the door. Harry's was an era for my family; as it was, I imagine, for many others.
We weren't in town for the party the community had for Harry's, but I stopped in on their last day - the place was bursting at the seams - to give Dale and Bertie a card, and one for Wendy, too. A card to say thanks. A card to say good-bye.
Some people think that Harry's had to close to make room for the new Port Harbour Lights development that is going up as I type this, but that's not true. Bertie and Dale were ready for a well-deserved rest. Some people hope that someone will bring Harry's back when the new space is built; some people don't want that at all, because it wouldn't be the same - and it won't. Dale, Bertie, Wendy, Joe, and the rest of the staff are what made Harry's what it was.
Good byes are hard. We have our memories, though, and we reminisce. We give our regards to the past; then, we take each other's hands and we look to the future. That is what the new year is for.