Horseshoe Bay Farms Enters Next Phase of Preservation

Horseshoe Bay Farms, Inc. (HSBF) is embarking on the next stage of the preservation of the historic barns and property south of Egg Harbor. 

The nonprofit has selected the Minneapolis firm TEN x TEN to lead a multidisciplinary team that includes AWH Architects, New History, Wigen Consulting and GRAEF in creating a master plan for the property. 

Lori and David Nicholas bought the farm in November 2018 and formed the nonprofit Horseshoe Bay Farms Inc. to oversee the property, with the goal of saving it and resurrecting it as a community space. 

“David and I are proud to be part of a group of donors that wanted to preserve and protect the farm and two of its cherished cottages,” Lori Nicholas said. “We look forward to serving on the HSBF board and working with the community to determine the farm’s future.” 

The team has some personal ties to the project. Ross Altheimer, co-founder of TEN x TEN, spent many summers in Door County working on the water, and Max Dickson of TEN x TEN grew up down the road from the farm in Egg Harbor. 

The team will start the master planning process with fact gathering and interpretive planning before soliciting input from the public. That information will then inform the property’s design and programming to thoughtfully reactivate the space as a community gathering place.

“We love projects like this that have layers of history and community,” Altheimer said. “We are thrilled to be working with Horseshoe Bay Farms to co-create a master plan for a new cultural institution that will serve Egg Harbor, Door County and Wisconsin. For me, as a native of Wisconsin with deep ties to Door County, I am grateful to be able to contribute to the legacy of the state’s cultural landmarks.” 

HSBF and TEN x TEN have already begun historical fact gathering as well as compiling stories from stakeholders of Horseshoe Bay Farms. Gathering photos, maps and reports will reveal important themes that will guide the design narrative for future activation of the cultural landscape. HSBF and the TEN x TEN-led design team will host two public-engagement opportunities during the coming months. The public is encouraged to attend to share their connection with the design team.

While the planning process begins, HSBF has already initiated urgent improvements to historic barns on property. New roofs are being installed by local contractor Buhr Construction. Additionally, Roberts Brothers Painting recently began the process of stripping old paint, replacing vulnerable wood siding and repainting the barns. These projects are the first step of investment in significant infrastructure improvements under the leadership of HSBF, and they signal a commitment to revitalizing this important cultural landscape.

The 8.5-acre property consists of nine barn structures along the west side of Horseshoe Bay Road. Following the purchase of the property, HSBF was also successful in saving two historic cottages from demolition by funding and overseeing their relocation across the street to the historic property. The farm was once one of the largest employers in the county and home to one of the state’s most innovative dairy operations.

Photos of Horseshoe Bay Farms are featured amongst beautiful Door County scenes in Door County Living in Pictures: The Photography of Len Villano. This and Door County Living in Pictures: The Photography of Heather Harle Frykman & Lcas Frykman is available for purchase in the Peninsula Pulse store