The Cedarburg Art Museum’s story begins in the 1860s with the Wittenberg Woolen Mill, which still stands a short distance northeast of the Museum. Mill owner Diedrich Wittenberg, envisioned the building as a gift for his daughter and her husband who married in 1895. The impressive residence was designed in 1898 by Cedarburg architect William Hilgen as a home for Leopold and Johanna Jochem. For one hundred years the Wittenberg family owned and operated the prosperous Woolen Mill.
The grand, red brick building that has become the Cedarburg Art Museum is a combination of Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Classical architecture. Despite having once been converted into multi-tenant apartments, the building has retained the original oak woodwork and charming hand-painted canvases on the ceiling in the front foyer.
An original stained glass window graces the open staircase that leads up to the second floor. The windows on the second and third levels of the structure provide a bird’s eye view of Cedarburg’s historic district. Today the historic residence with its delightful turret houses the Cedarburg Art Museum and its collection of artwork. The Museum and its initial 49 paintings were donated to the people of Cedarburg by a trust fund left for the community by Ozaukee Bank.