Cedarburg is built around a grist mill built by Freerick Hilgen and William Schroeder, back in 1844. These gentlemen bought the land from the first recorded settler, Ludwig Groth, who made his home along the bank of the creek in 1842. Cedarburg continued to prosper with the building of four more dams and mills in the years to come. The only wooden mill west of Philadelphia, Wittenberg Mill still stands today featured as the Cedar Creek Settlement which contains numerous shops, restaurants, artist studios and a winery.
In 1870 the railroad brought growth to the small settlement. Numerous visitors and business trades came to the community. Hotels, churches, homes, mills and taverns were built to accommodate the popularity, many of these buildings built with the limestone found at the two local quarries.
By 1885, the population had risen to 1,500 which generated Cedarburg being incorporated into Ozaukee County. The strong growth of Cedarburg during this period led to many more lumber, flour mills and breweries being established along the Cedar Creek, most still standing today.
Downtown Cedarburg has been declared a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to the efforts of the Commission and the Cedarburg Chamber of Commerce. There are more than 100 buildings that are considered historically significant.