History of the Cedarburg Mill

The Cedarburg Mill was built by Cedarburg founders Frederick Hilgen and William Schroeder in 1855 at a cost of $22,000, on land at $1 per acre, and was considered one of the finest mills in the Midwest.  The architect and builder was Burchard Weber,   The design is Greek revival, with the lower walls being 32 inches thick.  The clearstory and monitor roof were popular with eastern mills at the time since they added light and ventilation.  This building replaced an earlier one built by Hilgen and Schroeder in 1844.  Note that the main part of the building is 5 stories high.

The section to the left is of the same style as the main section, but is not as high. Cranes had not yet been invented in 1855, so an incline several blocks long was built to carry material to the upper levels.  A donkey was used to pull the heavy stone blocks up this incline.  Hilgen and Schroeder built a dam on the creek north the mill, and put  a water wheel near the dam to power the mill.  The mill could produce 120 barrels of flour a day, which was sold in a shop owned by Hilgen and Schroeder.  Because the Cedarburg Mill prospered, four other mills were later built along Cedar Creek.
The Cedarburg Mill is now listed on the U.S.    National Register of Historic Places.

In 2005, the Cedarburg Historical Society, who owned the property, wanted the building to remain a feed mill, and decided that the vision Lynn and Doug Wilde had “would be a good fit” for the oldest retail establishment in the community. 

The building – which has been some type of feed store since it was constructed over 150 years ago – has evolved over the past century and a half, but has never strayed too far from it’s original form. 

While the iconic structure remains a stopping point for tourists to the area, the endless array of pet food and merchandise inside the building is what keeps the customers returning to this five-story site.