Sturgeon Bay – The Door County Granary project has received a National Trust for Historic Preservation Johanna Favrot Fund grant for $5,000.
Specifically, the grant will help reinstall the 30 original, first-floor support columns on a new, reinforced foundation. The columns, hewn from old-growth timber, were carefully stored when the building was partially dismantled in 2018 to save it from destruction.
The space created by the 15-foot-high columns was originally used by workers to oversee deliveries and shipments that came and left the granary by wagon, ship and rail. The columns support 19 wooden storage bins on the second floor, plus the headhouse and distributor area above that. At full capacity, the granary once held 30,000 bushels of grain.
“We don’t always fully appreciate the significance of something that’s in our own backyard,” said Sturgeon Bay resident Kevin Quinn, who helped to write and submit the application and is one of the volunteers who is working through the Door County Community Foundation to raise funds for the project. “A check and a letter from the National Trust saying that it is ‘very supportive of this worthwhile preservation initiative’ is encouraging, to say the least.”
The granary was one of 19 projects that received some of the $128,000 awarded this year, with the aim of fostering an appreciation of the nation’s diverse cultural heritage.
The granary project includes restoration of the 120-year-old, 75-foot-tall structure into a three-season cultural center, gathering venue, interpretive museum, visible destination point and welcome center on Sturgeon Bay’s West Waterfront for hikers on the Ahnapee State Trail, the Ice Age National Scenic Trail and the Bridge Walk.
“Other granaries are on both state and national registries of historic places, as is ours,” Quinn said, “but in doing research on preservation efforts, we’re unable to find any other in the entire country which matches the scope and vision of the Door County Granary restoration project. I’m convinced our granary will be a unique resource for telling the story of the important role these granaries played in the development of early-20th-century agriculture and the establishment of the United States as a world superpower of food production.”
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation is actively raising funds for phase one of the project, which will allow public access into the restored structure, provide a public restroom on the West Waterfront and fulfill a development agreement the group has with the City of Sturgeon Bay. To get more information or contact the Door County Granary for a presentation to a civic group, visit sturgeonbayhistoricalsociety.org/granary.