Eagle Tower should be restored, in a way that lives up to the expectations and pride that all the citizens of Door County deserve. After all, Door County citizens are contributing $750,000 towards the tower replacement, not to mention even more indirectly thru their matching taxpayer dollars.
The Eagle Tower that was just removed, replaced an earlier tower that was built in 1914 and lasted to 1932. It was 76 feet tall. Then the next tower was a slight step down to 75 feet tall.
When one climbed the old tower it is right in the last 15 feet of elevation that you start to see a small part of Eagle Harbor and historic Ephraim. The goal was to replace Eagle Tower, not to diminish its height with reduced views accordingly.
With a mere tower height increase of just 72 inches over the old tower, Peninsula State Park and the citizens of Door County could feel a net gain and something truly to be proud of for their money.
The Sheboygan Marsh Tower is currently promoted as “the tallest wooden observation tower in Wisconsin.” It is 80 feet tall. By just adding 72 short inches, or six feet, the height of the new Eagle Tower would be 81 feet. It would claim the state record for Door County. The advertising potential alone would be well worth the extra effort to make the tower right.
Better yet, this small increased height would then most likely permit an unobstructed view of all of Ephraim and Eagle Harbor. Not just a portion as it is now.
Now another possibility to consider. If nothing else, then just put a six-foot high concrete base under the tower to achieve this desired 81-foot height. From an aesthetic angle, concrete form liners could create the impression of layered Door County dolomite. They are simply removed once the cement hardens.
A number of advantages, besides the increased height are now possible.
- If a vehicle accidently hits the presently designed wooden tower, damage could be done to one of the four wooden supporting poles unlike with concrete.
- The tower would be more stable with a base anchored in concrete.
- The cement in one spot would have the required wheelchair wide ramp to connect up with the existing tower ramp, if designed like in Tower Plan B. The same would go with the steps.
A wealthy family or contractor might get excited and step forward to see us improve on the tower, not diminish it yet again with a shorter tower for the third time in history. A permanent plaque would designate their donation.
We can still have ramps for the handicapped, but also increase the height by just 72 inches!
In short, let’s move up in the future, not down, and improve the view and experience more than ever! Let’s claim the record for Door County!
Gary K. Soule
Sturgeon Bay, Wis.