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Category: History

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.

  • Cherries, Prisoner of War, POW, Cherry Orchard, orchard, Door County

    The Harvest of 1945: German POW Camps Filled Door County’s Labor Shortage

    During WWII, Door County’s orchards faced severe labor shortages. German Prisoners of War filled the gaps and saved a harvest.

  • Door County League Baseball – A Local Tradition

    The Door County League is an amateur baseball league made up of eight teams with contests held each Sunday at 1 :30 p.m., always beginning on Mother’s Day. Most estimate the level of competition is somewhere near or just a notch below Division III college baseball, with players ranging in age from about 14 to […]

  • Clearing the Virgin Forests: Door County’s Logging Past

    More than a century ago, just as today, the splendor of Door County’s natural resources attracted droves of people to the peninsula. But in the last half of the 19th century, they came not to appreciate and relax, but to chop and clear the area’s towering virgin forests. When Door County was established by the […]

  • Rock Island: The Untrammeled Frontier

    As the passenger ferry “Karfi” pulls up to the break-wall at Rock Island, I’m cold, drenched and reminded just how much this place feels like the outer edge of all known civilization. Barring the sound of Karfi’s engine and the monumental stone boathouse on the shore, I could be Jean Nicolet stumbling onto this untrammeled […]

  • Dan Eggert, Toft, history, Door County history, Toft Point

    The Toft Family: Preserving a Piece of the Peninsula

    Most Door County residents and visitors, if they know of the Toft Family at all, have probably heard only of “Emma Who Saved The Ridges,” as a Milwaukee Journal Magazine headline once referred to Emma Toft. Emma was certainly involved in protecting the area known as The Ridges Sanctuary, although many others were equally involved. […]

  • Fyr Bal, Joyce Gerdman, Scandinavian, Festival, Door County Festival, Door County

    Fyr Bal: 50 Years of Celebration in Ephraim

    Each year on the weekend closest to the summer solstice, the Village of Ephraim undergoes a transformation. Normally a tranquil lakeside community, known for its pastoral atmosphere and deep sense of history, during this weekend the village unfolds into a flurry of activity for ‘Fyr Bal’—one of Door County’s best known, if least understood, cultural […]

  • Rod “Chief” Billerbeck A Legendary Presence in Northern Door

    The numbers are the first thing you notice, and how could you not? They pop off the page at you: 41 yeas as head baseball coach, 377 wins – a state record when he retired, 25 league or conference titles, and one state championship. I began the task of writing about the man responsible for […]

  • Chicago Historical Society, Christmas Schooner, Christmas tree

    The Risky Careers of Christmas Schooner Captains

    When the late summer storms on the Great Lakes began to stir, and the gales of November rattled the very souls of the schooners, the lake captains saw their transport business diminish. But there came a realization of a new seasonal run — Christmas trees! Christmas trees for those cities and communities where pine forests […]