Something You Should Know About...

The former Pioneer Meat Market, now the new law offices of Attorney Richard Ihrig

A Tale of Two Buildings


 by Hope Lee Vicich



You can divide a community into two basic groups -
those who were born to it and those who came to it.  For the ones who were “born to it” the stories of how they came to be here go back generations and form the foundations and history of the community.
The ones like me who “came to it” have different sorts of stories to tell.  These stories are the future of the community and they have been fascinating me more and more of late.
What attracts people to Cumberland?  What changed in their lives that made this the right place for them to be, right now?  For attorney Richard Ihrig, it is a tale of two buildings.  Ihrig practiced law, mostly in Minneapolis, for more than 40 years. For many years, Ihrig has been a partner at Lindquist & Vennum, one of the largest law firms in Minneapolis. Mostly, he worked on resolving large commercial disputes through litigation, negotiation, and mediation. He also found time to be a law professor and to serve on the boards of directors of the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, Mid-Minnesota Legal Assistance, and the Advocates for Human Rights. However, Richard says “the idea of practicing in a smaller community has always intrigued me.”
In the early 1990s, Ihrig and his wife, Dr. Colleen Cooper, purchased a home on Bone Lake east of Luck, and they begin visiting all the surrounding villages and cities to see what was there.  “Cumberland seemed to me to be the most vital,”  said Ihrig.
One day while driving around Cumberland he noticed the Pioneer Meat  Market building and “liked its looks. I like the way it stands with square shoulders.  I like the fact that it’s a brick building.  The more I’ve  investigated how it was constructed, the more impressed I am with its structural integrity.”  He “made some  inquiries” and learned that the then owner was interested in selling it.  So he bought it. The building started life over 100 years ago as the Pioneer Meat Market, and since then it has had several commercial and residential uses.
Richard told me that, unfortunately, the press of a very busy metropolitan law practice and a growing family absorbed more than all of his time for a number of years.  While he kept the building from deteriorating,  rebuilding about 1/3 of the exterior, replacing the roof, and replacing all but the front windows, the interior restoration had to wait.
However, while the interior project was on hold,  Richard and Colleen remained interested in Cumberland and its doings.
In approximately 2008, the Library restoration project began. Richard’s love for old buildings once again came to the front when contacted by Claire Johnson.  Knowing of his interest in preserving old structures, Claire asked if Richard would consider working with the group that was leading the effort to preserve the original Carnegie part of the library and expand it in a way that was faithful to the original structure.  “I said yes and got involved.”
Then approximately two years ago, Ihrig began to cut back on his law practice and spend more time in Wisconsin.  The way Richard tells it, “I decided that, rather slip into retirement, I would far rather keep doing what I had been doing, but on a smaller scale.  So it made sense to plant myself in a community that I have high regard for and where I conveniently owned a place that could be my new professional home.”     He explained that the “bread and butter” of his practice has always been representing businesses.  “I help businesses at all stages of their lives – formation, growth, and eventual sale. I do this by preparing documents, negotiating transactions, and resolving disputes.  I plan to continue this type of work.”
Now Richard is combing his love for these two historic structures by hosting a concert in his newly completed offices to benefit the Library.
“Music at the Law Office” will present an evening of jazz for the benefit of the Thomas St. Angelo Public Library on Saturday, June 17th at 7:30 p.m..  The evening will feature music by local legend Manfred Schonauer on keyboards, Dustin DeGolier on jazz guitar, and Jennifer Wozniac will provide vocals.  Tickets for the evening are $15 and can be purchased in advance at Peter and Annie’s. I’ve been asked to remind everyone that this is an “intimate venue” with limited seating so you don’t want to wait to  purchase your tickets!
Richard invites you to come see his new offices at 1120 Second Ave. (across from the old Donatelle’s store), enjoy an evening of fine music in a “unique setting” and help support the Library. Sounds like a great night for a great cause.  See you there!


Cumberland Advocate

375 2nd Ave, PO Box 637
Cumberland, WI 54829
Phone: (715) 822-4469
Hours:  8:30 AM–4:30 PM M-F