Door County is rich in history, from its most prominent founding citizens to the business leaders who embraced tourism to make it the destination it is today. It’s a history of orchards, farming, and fishermen, but also of potters, artists, and writers. But more than anything, it’s a history told in the lives of the remarkable people who’ve called it home for a spell or a lifetime. Door County Pulse tells them all.

  • Len Villano

    The Cemeteries of Peninsula State Park

    As a small child visiting Peninsula State Park one brisk autumn, my father took me by the hand and led me across the street from Weborg Point into the woods. We moved precariously down an unmarked, overgrown trail and emerged into a small cluster of gravestones, slightly pitching and yawing from the earth the way […]

  • Ephraim: Last Dry Town Standing

    In recent years, visitors to the small town of Ephraim, population 288, have noticed that shrinking water levels have left parts of the town’s waterfront high and dry. When it comes to alcohol sales, Ephraim has always been a dry town. In fact, it’s the last remaining dry town in the state of Wisconsin. Ephraim’s […]

  • Baileys Harbor’s Range Lights

    Captain Justice Bailey was lucky. In 1848 he escaped a storm on Lake Michigan by guiding the Gazelle safely into the harbor that would later bear his name, escaping the fate of an estimated 31 other vessels that wrecked or stranded on the treacherous outer reef that is covered by very shallow water. Baileys Harbor […]

  • Len Villano

    Horseshoe Bay Farms Still Stands Tall

    On April 6, 1946, new father Charles Richard stopped into George LeMere’s Egg Harbor barbershop looking for a haircut and a lead on a job. “Al Erickson’s hiring down at Horseshoe Bay Farms,” LeMere told him. Charles drove down Horseshoe Bay Road to the farm, found Mr. Erickson, and was promptly offered a job. “Can […]

  • Topelmanns’ Journey to Ephraim Began in WWII Germany

    There’s surely no artist or art lover in Door County who isn’t familiar with the watercolors and oils of Karsten Topelmann and the acrylics of Ellen, his wife.

  • Len Villano, Baileys Harbor Town Hall

    Michael McArdle: Baileys Harbor’s Benefactor

    He was Baileys Harbor’s own Horatio Alger character – the fifth of eight children of Irish immigrants James and Anne Fegan McArdle, born in 1874 in a modest frame house south of the village, who rose to the presidency of a national corporation. Michael McArdle earned the equivalent of a high school diploma at 15 […]

  • Second Presentation of “Horseshoe Bay Farms: The Land, The Players, Their Place in History”

    Due to an overwhelming demand, the Door County Historical Society is offering another presentation of “Horseshoe Bay Farms: The Land, The Players, Their Place in History,” by Glenn Timmerman.

  • Horseshoe Bay Farms Earns Historic Designation

    Horseshoe Bay Farms is now on the National Registry of Historic Places. The iconic buildings of the farms, owned by Glenn and Barbara Timmerman, were added to the registry last month after two years of research by Glenn Timmerman that unearthed old photos, stories and film footage.

  • Ula Noble: A Woman Before Her Time

    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Noble House sits on the corner at the foot of the Fish Creek hill. Alexander Noble built the home in 1875, his 22-year-old daughter Ula designing the floor plan. In a sense this act served as an emblem for her life, as well as for those […]

  • Gerhard Miller

    The Remarkable Life of Artist Gerhard Miller

    For most boys, growing up in Sturgeon Bay in the early years of the 20th century – whooping through the woods, skating, sailing and swimming – being felled by polio at age 10 would have been a tragedy. For Gerhard Carl Friedrich Miller, once the agony of recovery was over, his illness led directly to […]

  • The Early Days: Door County Postal Service

    While the Constitution gave Congress the authority to establish post offices and post roads, it would not be until 1854 that the first post office was established in Door County. Thirty-three years after a post office opened in Green Bay, one opened on Washington Island – the most remote locale along the rugged, unsettled wilderness […]

  • The Roots of the Peninsula’s Postal Service

    Today the U.S. Postal Service is an independent branch of the federal government, and its performance is under chronic scrutiny by Congress and users. Critics, however, often seem oblivious to the postal service’s contribution to the American way of life. In colonial times, people communicating in writing depended on friends, merchants, and even Native Americans […]

  • Hank Eckert

    Hank Eckert: Sister Bay’s One-time Postmaster

    Watching my grandfather Hank Eckert’s weathered hands sift through relics of mail, he smiles and says, “You have a big job ahead of you!” He has had a big job – as a soldier in World War II and the former postmaster of Sister Bay – and quite a happy life. Henry George Eckert, born […]

  • "PBI Continuing Excellence, 1983-1993"

    Peterson Builders and The Avenger Class Minesweeper

    Sitting in the room of his home dedicated to Peterson Builders’ history, Ellsworth Peterson can point to any of the relics from his career with the company and tell a story. The work permit he obtained to help his father in the shipyard hangs in a frame on the wall. His hard hat rests on […]

  • Door County’s Lake and Bay View Bus Line

    When the United States entered World War II t effort required contributions from every corner of the country, including a little bus depot in Sister Bay.

  • Andy Laurent, Stan Mailer

    The Rise and Fall of the Ahnapee & Western Railway

    For most people today, the initials A&W bring to mind a frosty mug of root beer, but for nearly a century folks in northeast Wisconsin knew it as shorthand for the Ahnapee & Western Railway. Mark Mathu grew up in New Franken, Wisconsin, about 35 miles south of Sturgeon Bay in Brown County, where the […]

  • Harvey and Helen Haen Egg Harbor

    Where are the Women in Local Government?: Local boards dominated by old men

    “When I look back on it, my first role models of working women were Egg Harbor people,” Bonnie Cady told me. “Helen Haen, Esther Birnschein, Tuie Bogenschutz, those are the first women I can remember

  • Cherryland Open and An Era Gone By

    The 1969 National Geographic cover story that put Door County on the map is perhaps the most famous turning point in the peninsula tourism industry’s history. But it was another event, a meeting held 13 years earlier, that started Door County tourism down the road to where it is today. Before 1956, the tourist season […]

  • Cana Island Lighthouse. Ferdinand Hotz.

    Then & Now: The Photography of Ferdinand Hotz and Dan Eggert

    Door County Living photographer Dan Eggert recreates the iconic photography of Ferdinand Hotz decades later.

  • Hitting A Legend: Roy “Decker” Woldt

    Roy “Decker” Woldt, perhaps Door County’s greatest ballplayer, never made it to the majors, but did earn another rare claim to fame.