“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cedarburg in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Cedarburg Cultural Center Building

Cedarburg Cultural Center Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2022
1. Cedarburg Cultural Center Building Marker
Inscription.  Originally built as a home for an early Cedarburg settler, the southern half of the current Cedarburg Cultural Center building has played a rich and vibrant role throughout the city's history.

Fred and Lena Beckman purchased the residence in 1873 and remodeled it to serve as a hotel and rooming house along the stagecoach path from Milwaukee to Green Bay. Beckman and his wife continued to improve the building, now called the Wisconsin Hotel, by modernizing the interior and exterior. Soon the hotel would house Beckman's Bar and come to be known as the hub of the growing little town where anyone could "post events on a public bulletin board." In 1909, records show that Fred Beckman, now in failing health, transferred ownership to fellow Cedarburg resident Joseph Herz. Little is known about the business from 1909 to 1922; at that point, Herz sold the 3-story building to John Alston, Sr. Alston continued to run the rooming house on the third floor for several years, adding a bowling alley in the basement, variety store and a men's clothing store.

In 1941, William and Mary Hickmann purchased the variety store inventory and opened
Cedarburg Cultural Center Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2022
2. Cedarburg Cultural Center Building Marker
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Hickmann's Variety Store. For nine years, the store remained a thriving business at that location. Upon losing their lease in 1950, Hickmann's relocated to another storefront on Washington Avenue, and Alston, Sr. turned the 1,700-square foot building over to son John Alston, Jr. and his wife LaVerne. They renamed the business Alston's Department Store and added men's and women's clothing to the shop. In 1964, they a purchased property to the north and grew the business to 15,000 square feet.

After 37 years in business, Alston and his wife sold it to a small department store chain which downsized it back to the original building on the south. This would leave enough space available on the north side to accommodate today's Cedarburg Cultural Center. In 1988, CCC board members, headed by founder Carl Edquist, quickly agreed to move the expanding Cultural Center from its first location in Cedarburg's Lincoln Building to the newly available location. The Center's new home could now accommodate three art galleries, a performing arts center, classrooms for education and permanent collection space for historic Cedarburg artifacts.

Soon after the department store closed, the Cultural Center was again able to expand its footprint to include larger classrooms and rentable property in the south building. Functioning today as a hub of activity in downtown Cedarburg, the Cultural
Cedarburg Cultural Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devon Polzar, 2022
3. Cedarburg Cultural Center
Center thrives as the community's center of art, music and history. The Center also owns and operates the Cedarburg History Museum, Historic Kuhefuss House Museum and Lincoln Building 1920s Schoolroom Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicIndustry & Commerce.
Location. 43° 17.729′ N, 87° 59.218′ W. Marker is in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, in Ozaukee County. Marker is on Washington Avenue, on the right when traveling north. The marker is attached to the front of the Cedarburg Cultural Center building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: W62N546 Washington Ave, Cedarburg WI 53012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Washington Avenue Historic District / Historic District Architecture (within shouting distance of this marker); The History of the Boerner Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cedarburg Mill (about 500 feet away); Origin of Cedar Creek / Mills on the Creek (about 700 feet away); The First 100 Years (about 800 feet away); Interurban Bridge / Riding the Interurban (approx. ¼ mile away); Liberty Tree Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); Historic Cedarburg (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cedarburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 28, 2022. It was originally submitted on June 28, 2022, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on June 28, 2022, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 3, 2022