2011 Civic Award Winners Jim & Sandy Pape

PapeCivicAwards

 

It was an evening of historical significance for the Cedarburg community March 23 when longtime local residents and preservationists Jim and Sandy Pape were honored as the recipients of the 2011 Civic Award by the Greater Cedarburg Foundation. A crowd of more than 225 people filled the Cedarburg Cultural Center to honor the Pape’s for their devotion to historic preservation and civic involvement. Jerry Voigt, chairman of the event, said the turnout was the largest the event has ever attracted.”Jim and Sandy Pape are pillars of the community as far as preserving the historic beauty of Cedarburg,” said Ben Levy, President of the Greater Cedarburg Foundation. “We owe a lot to these two people for all they have done in making our community the special place it is.” The Pape’s bought and renovated the former Wittenberg Mill near the corner of Bridge St. and Washington Avenue in 1972 and turned it into a collection of shops and art galleries now known as the Cedar Creek Settlement. They also purchased several historic buildings along Washington Avenue to form the Washington House Inn bed and breakfast in 1984.”Without the tireless dedication of Jim and Sandy Pape, Cedarburg may have become one of the thousands of small towns with featureless main streets, void of historic architecture and old world charm,” said Peg Edquist, a foundation board member who made the presentation. She added that the couple also played an integral role in bringing people to Cedarburg and sharing our beautiful city with visitors.In her remarks, Edquist traced the couple’s love of historic stone buildings back to their honeymoon, where they visited the great cities of Europe. After starting a wine making business on Milwaukee’s East side in the 1970s, the couple relocated to Grafton with the purchase of an old farmstead built in 1884.They lived there for 27 years before moving to another historical home from 1863 near the covered bridge just north of town. About the same time, Jim was considering locating his wine business to the Wittenburg Mill on the corner of Bridge Road and Washington Avenue. Owner Carl Wittenburg had not been able to find a buyer for the building and was contemplating demolishing the structure to make way for a gas station. Jim was approached by Mayor Steven Fisher to purchase the building, and he teamed up with industrialist Bill Welty to split the purchase price of $55,000. In 1983, Jim formed a partnership with five investors and purchased a collection of buildings on Washington Avenue which became the Washington House Inn in September of 1984.Meanwhile, Sandy had developed a love of vintage textiles while in college and began a career as an accomplished artist in mixed media. As one of the founders of Christmas in the Country, she has also been President of the Cedarburg Artist Guild and a member of the first board of the Cedarburg Cultural Center. Her most recent accomplishment is the establishment of the Plein Air artist competition in 2000. The couple were also among the founders of the Cedarburg’s Winter Festival, Wine and Harvest Festival, and Strawberry Fest. Jim was a founding member of the Cedarburg Landmarks Commission and was instrumental in getting Cedarburg listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The couple was honored with a $1,000 gift which they donated to the Cedarburg Cultural Center.Also at the event, Board President Ben Levy reported that the Foundations endowment is expected to reach $1.7 million this summer and has thus achieved supporting organization status with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, giving it more opportunities to attract donor advised funds from local individuals and groups in the area. (see related story) “We will continue to be a strong source of funding for many wonderful projects and programs in this area to preserve our cultural heritage, enhance artistic endeavors and support educational, recreational and community services throughout the Cedarburg area,” Levy said.