This building was built in 1917 in memory of Edward Rutledge. Mr. Rutledge was born in Northern Ireland on March 6, 1834. As a child, he moved to South Mountain, Ontario, Canada, where they farmed. At age 16, Edward and his brothers, Robert and John, headed for the United States and the Michigan woods to learn the lumberjack trade.
Rutledge came to Wisconsin as a timber cruiser, meaning he went out into the woods and marked the trees to be cut down. He soon became a close personal friend of lumber, Baron Frederick Weyerhauser, and with his investment, became a prominent figure in the lumber industry. Mr. Rutledge used to stay in the woods all winter, and in the summer, he would come to Chippewa Falls and stay at a boarding house run by Hannah Gregg, a widow with two grown children.
At age 40, Edward married Hannah and moved into what is now the Cook-Rutledge Mansion. He later endowed the construction of the Hannah M. Rutledge Home for the aged in her memory. Hannah died October I, 1910, and Edward passed away on July 27, 1911. Being a very charitable person, Mr. Rutledge recognized the importance of establishing an organization to help people in need and assist benevolent or philanthropic organizations. In his will, he set aside money to establish this charitable foundation. The Articles of Incorporation were signed on December 11, 1911. This foundation has carried on Mr. Rutledge’s wishes ever since.