In the early 1960s, Mrs. Fred (Ina) Barnett and Mrs. Rena Strickler left sizable estates, with designations specifically for the establishment of a home for the aged. Through the efforts of their longtime friend and executor, Helen S. Taylor, and attorneys George Geffs and Marshall Brown, the estates were combined, totaling over $900,000, for the construction of such a home. After searching for the appropriate site for the establishment, they were approached by Mrs. Daisy Munn who owned 22.5 acres of sheep pasture. The price was $23,000.
In 1961, Cedar Crest was incorporated, and a five-member board was named: Helen S. Taylor, Marshall C. Brown, George S. Geffs, Pearl Dawson Graham, and Joseph Lustig.
Ground was broken for the Cedar Crest project in November 1962, and in October 1963, Cedar Crest was completed. The original building contained 94 units, including 51 one-bedroom apartments, 19 single-efficiency apartments, and 24 single rooms.
In 1965, with low occupancy, the East Wisconsin Conference of the Methodist Church assumed operation of Cedar Crest, marking a significant turning point for the community.
In 1966, Cedar Crest had 70 residents and began transforming into a full-service retirement community.
In 1970, the health care center opened its doors, providing additional care and adding 95 beds.
In 1975, additional construction was completed, including a 13-stall parking garage, the chapel, and the activities room.
Operating at full capacity, Cedar Crest established a two-phase plan to expand the community. In 1977, a 37-unit building was completed, and a 14-unit addition was opened in 1987.
In 1985, Jerry and Charlotte Johnson donated a nearby farm house and land for the development of the Cedar Crest Board of Directors' adult day care initiative. The Cedar Acres Adult Day Center opened its doors in 1987.
In 1998, the health care center was expanded, and a 44-bed assisted living area was added.
In 2004, the community opened the Plaza at Cedar Crest, a more than 8,000 square feet amenities area, including a multimedia room, wellness center, resident-managed Country Store, activity room for arts and crafts, fitness center, beauty salon, business center, solarium, and newly-refurbished dining room. The spacious and versatile new addition gave Cedar Crest residents more opportunities to meet their friends and participate in activities without leaving the comforts of their home.
In 2005, construction was completed on the 24-hour dementia-specific service area. The memory-care residence featured 12 individualized, private rooms with private baths and was designed for the exclusive care of persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-loss issues.
In 2007, construction of a new apartment building, located adjacent to the existing independent living building, was completed. The project added 30 one- and two-bedroom apartment homes to the Cedar Crest community. Remodeling and updating of the common areas was also completed, including an expanded library, main lounge, and woodworking shop.
In 2010, three residential-type kitchens in the health center were completed. The kitchens were designated for use as serving pantries and for light meal preparations. This allowed for more flexibility and a more home-like environment for meals served to health center residents. A new communications/computer room and two new ‘spa’ rooms with resident-accessible whirlpool tubs were added to the health center. A new beauty shop, new nurses station/workroom, and a room for the copy and fax machines were constructed. In addition, the health center public areas received a face-lift, with upgrades to carpet, wallpaper, handrails, and trim refurbished or replaced.
In 2011, the existing kitchen area was gutted and a small addition was made to accommodate walk-in coolers and freezers. The kitchen redesign and equipment update allowed the dietary staff to expand the menus available to residents and allowed for more flexibility in meal times. Work is being done in various phases to minimize inconvenience to residents.
In 2013, Cedar Crest celebrates its 50th anniversary of providing outstanding care and services to senior adults in the area.