2007 Civic Award Winner Ed Rappold

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Edward A. Rappold, whose collection of historic Cedarburg photographs has kept Cedarburg’s pioneers, their buildings and their lifestyles alive and available for the future, received the fifth annual Civil Award of the Cedarburg Foundation on February 1, 2007.

More than 250 well-wishers attended the foundation’s Civic Celebration at the Cedarburg Cultural Center.  Ed and his wife Alda, who were married in 1941, were at the center table with their daughter, Lynn Hamblin, and her family from St. Paul, Minn.  Another daughter, Gail Hoffman of St. Louis, Mo., could not attend.

Ed Rappold was brought as an infant to Cedarburg after his birth in 1919, and the family moved into a quarried stone house built in 1865 by Ed’s great grandfather, Eilert Stallman, across Columbia Road from the Columbia Mill.  The mill site is now occupied by Ozaukee Bank.

He and Alda both attended Cedarburg High School.  Even before high school Ed had joined the school camera club and he began snapping pictures around the town with his folding Kodak, a camera he still owns.

In 1939, Ed opened a photograph studio on Washington Avenue just northeast of Immanuel Lutheran Church.  When Cedarburg residents brought him old photographs to be copied, he would ask permission to keep a print and negative.

Thus began his collection of historic views of Cedarburg and surrounding places.  The collection now includes more than 2,200 images and many of these have become widely known through Ed’s two books, “Reflections of Old Cedarburg,” printed in 1994, followed by “More Reflections of Old Cedarburg,” in 2002, both published by the Cultural Center.

In addition, some of the images in the Rappold collection have been reproduced as post cards and they have illustrated articles and books about Cedarburg.  Ed has been in demand for years to give his slide show of old Cedarburg to groups throughout Ozaukee County.

Last year, Ed gave the entire collection of photographs to the Cultural Center.  A selection of Cedarburg scenes was printed and mounted in a special display for the Civic Celebration. The negatives are protected in a vault at the Ozaukee Bank.

As it happens, when the Cultural Center was founded in 1988 and occupied the first floor of the Lincoln Building, the old elementary school, images from Ed’s collection formed the first major exhibit.
After serving as a photographer in the Army Air Corps in World War II, Ed returned to Cedarburg.  In 1951 he became the company photographer for the Wisconsin Electric Power Co., the precursor to WE Energies, of Milwaukee, and he remained there until retirement in 1983.

But he was always a Cedarburger.  While Ed was in the service, the old stone house was sold, and Ed and Alda built a new house on Bridge Road not far west of the old place.  They lived there until moving to a condominium on Pioneer Court.

In addition to being a photographer, Ed helped shape the city in many other ways.  He served as a Cedarburg Alderman for 28 years, under Mayors Merlin Rostad, E. Stephan Fischer and Quentin Schenk. He believes that may be the longest tenure for an elected official in Cedarburg’s history. During that time he was chairman of many city boards and commissions.

As a member of the Peter Wollner Post of the American Legion, he drove the Legion Ambulance for years; he has been a volunteer fireman since 1940 and still has breakfast at the firehouse regularly; he led a Boy Scout troop, was president of the Ozaukee County Historical Society, and was a founding member of Faith Lutheran Church, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Ed received a check for $1,000 as the Civic Award recipient, which he immediately recycled into Cedarburg’s projects by directing that $300 of it go to the Rivoli Theatre restoration project, $300 to the Cultural Center and $400 to the Cedarburg Foundation.   He also received a commemorative plate showing the 1855 Hilgen-Schroeder Mill.