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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.

  • Getting Connected: Unlikely Group Brought Internet to Northern Door County

    In the early 1990s an unlikely group joined heads to expand Internet access in Door County and put the peninsula at the forefront of technology.

  • Exhibit Celebrates the Culture, History of Peninsula School of Art

    “The times they are a­changin,’” sang Bob Dylan in 1964, referring to the controversies surrounding Vietnam, civil rights, and even entertainment. More than one Volkswagen beetle sported the bumper sticker “Make love not war.” During this maelstrom of social change, something exciting was happening in Fish Creek: the birth of an art school. What began […]

  • Ahnapee-Western Railway Subject of Historical Society Meeting

    The Door County Historical Society will host its monthly dinner meeting featuring a presentation on the Ahnapee-Western Railway on April 27. The catered dinner meeting will be at 6 pm at Prince of Peace Church, 1756 Michigan St.

  • George Evenson retires as historical society president

    The Door County Historical Society was founded in 1926, and George Evenson came along just three years later. He’s a walking encyclopedia of the history of the county where he’s spent all his life and has been an active member of the Door County Historical Society (DCHS) for about 20 years.

  • 50 Years of Icelandic Horses

    Two Icelandic immigrations came to Washington Island, one human and one animal. The most celebrated immigration began in 1870 when four young Icelandic men found work on Washington Island. They encouraged countrymen to follow, soon making this an Icelandic settlement. Nearly 50 years ago, in 1964, a group of friends gathered at the home of […]

  • Thordarson’s Rock Island Boathouse: A Door County Treasure

    Patty Williamson takes us through history and inside the stunning walls of Rock Island’s majestic Thordarson boat house.

  • Icelandic Emigration to Washington Island

    In his role as a bookseller, my father was often asked to give talks about Door County books and authors to various groups and organizations. In those days, most Door County literature was either memoir or history, so my father often began his talks with:  “Never has so much been written about a place where […]

  • Emma Husby’s Legend Lives On

    Fourscore and several years ago, a man named Engebreth Husby and his wife began to lease L. Lerner’s general store, in a place we would barely recognize today as downtown Sister Bay. Engebreth, who was, understandably, better known by his middle name, Martin, had recently closed down his Cherryland Cheese Company and returned to farming […]

  • The Mystery of Le Griffon

    Steve Libert, 60, has been actively searching for Robert de LaSalle’s Le Griffon in Lake Michigan for 30 years, half his life. He spent many years as an intelligence analyst with the Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), until he retired last year to focus on the search for Le Griffon. LaSalle, […]

  • The Holy Grail of the Great Lakes: Le Griffon

    Many people believe Steve Libert is chasing a pipe dream by trying to place 17th century French explorer Robert de LaSalle’s Le Griffon, the Holy Grail of ships lost on the Great Lakes, in Lake Michigan. “I get a lot of people who are brighter than me that try to tell me I’m wrong, that […]

  • Jens Jensen The Clearing

    Jens Jensen, Beyond the Clearing

    So you think you know Jens Jensen. You know the name, because if you pick up a paper or brochure in Door County enough times, you’re bound to come across it.

  • Preservation and Re-purposing at Horseshoe Bay Farms

    The Door County Community Foundation recently awarded the Egg Harbor Historical Society grants from the Historic Preservation Fund and The Clifford & Clara Herlache Heritage Foundation to support the development of a master plan to determine what is needed to preserve and re-purpose the Horseshoe Bay Farms structures.

  • Chateau Hutter: Door County’s Grand Resort that Never Was

    Maybe it’s the name, tasting of a past barely tangible. Maybe it’s the location, nestled into the quiet stretch of shoreline between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor along Bay Shore Drive, hiding on the scenic shortcut so many locals turn to when summer weekend traffic backs up Highway 42. Like the crumbling barns of the […]

  • Remembering Johnny’s Cottage

    A little bit of Sister Bay died today. When I drove through downtown Sister Bay, it was gone. Johnny’s Cottage, a Sister Bay icon, later the Sister Bay Café, was leveled by a wrecking crew.

  • Six Storied History: The Otumba

    What if a multi-story, luxury hotel was built in downtown Sturgeon Bay? How would Sturgeon Bay and the peninsula be different? A six-story, 100-room luxury resort just feet from the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal – this was in the cards for Door County in 1929. Come 1930, the stock market crash laid waste to these […]

  • 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.