Door County Historical Museum Opens for 75th Season

The Door County Historical Museum is open for the summer and celebrating 75 years since it first opened in 1939.

When it first opened, Harry Dankoler was the curator, as well as the force behind getting it going and the collector of more than 2,000 items to start the collection. “Uncle Harry,” as he was known to most visitors, not only saw to it that things got done, he also worked at it himself.

For example, he built the enormous fireplace that is still the centerpiece of the main room near the stained glass entry doors. He did this with the help of many Door County residents who were asked to contribute “curious” stones for it. His original intention was to get at least one rock from each township. A sketch is posted near the fireplace with the many unusual stones and boulders numbered, including names of the donors for each one. Some, but by no means all of the family names include: Chaudoir, Pivonka, and Hawkey from Sturgeon Bay; Woerfel and Jacobs from Sawyer; Severson and McKiernan from Clay Banks; Fellner and Rasmussen from Sevastopol; Jacobson and Proctor from Egg Harbor; Malmer from Ephraim; and Wickman from Washington Island.

During upcoming weeks the museum will be looking for photos of winners of some of Harry Dankoler’s contests. Winners of oldest residents, largest families and longest held properties had winners shown in the newspapers, but photo quality was very bad.

The Door County Historical Museum is located at 18 N. 4th Avenue and is open 10 am – 4:30 pm daily through Oct. 31.

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