Washington House Inn History
The Washington House offers lodging near Milwaukee, WI. Washington House Inn, Cedarburg Wisconsin’s first inn, was founded in 1846 by Conrad Horneffer. Born in Germany in 1815, Horneffer emigrated to the United States in 1836 after learning the saddler’s trade.
According to a book written about the city’s history, Horneffer came to Milwaukee in 1843 and fashioned the first leather trunk ever made there. He later settled in Cedarburg, built the Washington House and opened the first harness shop.
The original wooden structure was later replaced with the current Washington House Inn in 1886. This three story, cream city brick building operated as an inn until the 1920’s, when it was converted to retail stores, apartments and meeting rooms for the Knights of Columbus.
In 1983, the building was purchased and renovation began to convert the building back to an inn. After a complete overhaul, the inn reopened in 1984 with 15 rooms. 14 rooms were later added above the Chocolate Factory restaurant and Amy’s Candy Store.
In 1994, the Schroeder House was purchased with five additional rooms added.
The first recorded settler was Ludwig Groth (our Rm 304’s namesake), who made his home on the banks of the creek in 1842. Two years later, Fredrick Hilgen (our Rm 305’s namesake) and William Schroeder (our Rm 205’s namesake) bought land from Groth and built a grist mill, which remains a prominent fixture of the Cedarburg Wisconsin skyline today. German and Irish immigrants were lured by the power-producing potential of Cedar Creek in the early 1840’s.
As Cedarburg grew and prospered, it lost none of its original charm. Thanks to careful preservation of the city’s original structures, the historic downtown looks much the same as it did a century ago.
Cedarburg has two separate districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with more than 200 buildings of historical significance. These structures remain in use as shops, homes, museums, and of course our own beautiful, cream city brick Inn.
Almost one hundred and twenty buildings in downtown Cedarburg have historic significance and are preserved with a great deal of pride for the community’s heritage. Each building has its own history, and visitors are welcome to explore the many buildings still in use as business establishments.
View the incredible rooms of our inn near Milwaukee and book a romantic getaway today.