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.

  • The Education of Elva Killa

    A friend passed along a snippet of a story a few weeks ago about a woman from my hometown, Elva Killa, about to celebrate her 100th birthday. I couldn’t get home to Egg Harbor to talk to her, but Giz and Linda Herbst did earlier this month. Their conversation served as a base for this […]

  • Digging History: Artifacts Point to a 2,000-Year-Old Settlement at Ida Bay Preserve

    Both Randy Dickson and Willy Kemps of Midwest Archeological Consultants were children when they first caught the archeology bug – Dickson in Des Moines, Iowa, and Kemps in Kiel, Wis. Dickson was five when he and his brother were watching the excavation for a retirement home. “They were pulling artifacts out. I still remember that […]

  • door county bookmobile

    New Life Sharing Old Stories: County Bookmobile Awaits Third Restoration

    The Door County bookmobile, that kept generations of children and adults connected to worlds beyond their own for nearly half of the last century, is experiencing a third lifesaving rescue. It came to the county in 1950 as part of a three-year demo project funded by the state that also included Kewaunee County. When the […]

  • Mabel Peterson

    Mabel Peterson Shares Door County, Life History in New Book

    When Mabel Peterson was invited by her neighbor, Gretchen Maring, to join her in Barbara Larson’s writing class at The Clearing, the first two sessions convinced her she wasn’t a writer. A chance meeting with Larson at the Piggly Wiggly encouraged her to return. That was in 1998. Sometime after that, Mabel became excited about […]

  • Water Street Hot Shots, Pumpkin Fest, Iron Pour and More Weekend Plans

    Visit Door County in all its autumn glory and enjoy what local business and organizations have to offer, from evening tours of a historic lighthouse to a red hot iron pour and of course, Egg Harbor’s annual Pumpkin Patch. Friday, October 9 Evening Tours of Eagle Bluff Lighthouse For two weekends in October, the Eagle […]

  • Freddie Kodanko, Door County's Polka King.

    Local, Native, Tourist, or Transplant? Take our Door County Local Quiz

    While writer Myles Dannhausen Jr.’s research confirmed that there’s no single answer to what makes someone a Northern Door local, he did get some ideas for some questions you might ask to test someone’s local credentials. Here’s a 20-question quiz made up of suggestions from a bunch of locals, a few transplants, and the Door […]

  • canal workers

    Learn Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal History at Historical Society Program

    During the Door County Historical Society’s Sept. 27 program at Heritage Village at Big Creek, Captain Bob Desh will explore the creation of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. The Ship Canal was an 18-year long and arduous process beginning with a Wisconsin charter in 1864, the first dirt scooped in 1872, the meeting of Sturgeon […]

  • Kangaroo lake history photo

    Door County History in Pictures: Kangaroo Lake

    A postcard view of the bridge that preceded today’s causeway across Kangaroo Lake. Note the misspelling of Baileys Harbor as Bayley’s Harbor. Photo courtesy of the Door County Historical Museum, 18 N. 4th Ave., Sturgeon Bay. Open 10 am – 4:30 pm daily, May 1 through Oct. 31.

  • Tug John Roen III

    Models & Their Makers at Maritime Museum

    In May, Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay announced its two-year Sea Dogs exhibit and its goal to reach younger audiences by implementing interactive technology and videos throughout the display. But in the gallery across the space now occupied by Sea Dogs is a permanent exhibit that reaches audiences by doing just the opposite […]

  • Door County Historical Society’s Monthly Dinner Features “Funeral Practices of the Past”

    The Door County Historical Society will host its monthly dinner meeting featuring a presentation on “Funeral Practices of the Past” by Todd Huehns on Sept. 28. The catered dinner meeting will be at 6 pm at Prince of Peace Church, 1756 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay. Heuhns will tell the story of “Funeral Practices of […]

  • Crossroads to Host “German Prisoners of War on Our Soil” Program

    “German Prisoners of War on Our Soil” is the title of Door County Historical Society’s Sunday program scheduled for 2 pm on Sept. 20 at Crossroads at Big Creek. That topic seems entirely fitting because there actually were German prisoners of war on Crossroads’ soil. When Crossroads collaborated with the Door County Historical Society to […]

  • Dancing, Pantomimes and Historic Costumes at Next “Gibraltar Talks” Program

    Ladies and gentleman, there will be dancing, pantomimes and historic costumes from hoops to hobble skirts during “Good Night Ladies” – a panorama of women’s history from 1870 to 1915. Karen Cowan, Carol Jones and Vivian Tomlinson will unveil the age-old secrets of “feminine mystique.” The gala will be held Sept. 24 at 7 pm at […]

  • Wisconsin Agriculture book Jerry apps

    Jerry Apps Details the Facts and Figures of Farming in New Book

    Discover the rich and diverse history of farming in Wisconsin – from the story of cranberry growers and Christmas tree farmers to the harvesters of honey and hops – with celebrated rural historian Jerry Apps in his new Wisconsin Historical Society Press book Wisconsin Agriculture: A History. Wisconsin has been a farming state from its […]

  • Baileys harbor town cemetery

    Baileys Harbor Town Cemetery: Many Plots, Many More Stories

    Susie Bauldry has deep roots in Baileys Harbor. Her great-grandfather, Karl Peil, planted the avenue of trees leading out of town on County Road F. Her grandmother, Hedwig Peil, was the mail-order bride from Germany who worked with Winifred Boynton to plant the wonderful gardens at Björklunden. And Susie’s dad, Rollie Peil, was for years […]

  • Historic Ownership Maps for Sale at Liberty Grove’s Vintage Market

    Historic Ownership Maps of Door County will be on sale at Liberty Grove Historical Society’s final 2015 Vintage Market Day on Sept. 12. As usual, the market will open at Century Farm barn atop the Grand View grade in Ellison Bay at 10 am. Liberty Grove historian Karen Moran will be on hand to help […]

  • grapeshot dive survey

    Tamara Thomsen Surveys Plum Island Shipwreck

    Wisconsin Historical Society underwater archaeologist Tamara Thomsen was on Plum Island Aug. 22 with a dive team to survey and document the wreck of the Grape Shot, an 1855 schooner that sank in 1867 just off Plum Island’s north shore. Thomsen’s visit aboard the Sea Grant Institute’s research vessel Dawn Treader was arranged in large […]

  • Door County’s Original Historian: Hjalmar R. Holand

    Few, if any, individuals who have called Door County home have led more interesting lives than Hjalmar R. Holand. His interactions with famous people, his world travels, and his prolific writings combine to form a remarkable life. And though he called America home for most of his 90 years, his Norwegian ancestry defined a large […]

  • Harvey Haen Cherry Picker

    Harvey Haen, Much More Than Egg Harbor’s Mr. Fix-it

    In the days when tourism was only a sidelight in Egg Harbor, when the community was a workingman’s town of cherry pickers, farmers and shipyard workers, nobody was more necessary – or more admired – than the man they called Mr. Fix-it. “If it ran, floated, or towed, Harv could fix it,” Art Witalison wrote […]

  • Helen Schreiber: Preserving Fish Creek’s History

    When Helen Schreiber Allen was born in 1922, her parents, Lester and Amanda Schreiber, owned and operated the Fish Creek General Store on Main Street, a mainstay in the village. With a twinkle in her blue eyes, Helen’s memories flow like water over the smooth stones in the creek of her hometown. And it is […]

  • Institute Saloon

    How A Tavern Makes A Town: Door County’s Iconic Watering Holes

    Editor’s Note:  In the Autumn issue of Door County Living magazine, writers Jim Lundstrom, Myles Dannhausen, and Jackson Parr set out to tell the story of the role that watering holes play in our peninsula’s communities. To do so they profiled eight of the county’s iconic bars in brief. The Institute Saloon – Keeping the Locals […]