Letter to the Editor: Voice Your Support for Restoring Potawatomi State Park Tower

There’s still time to voice your support for restoring the Potawatomi State Park Tower – before it’s too late. 

The 75-foot tower was built in 1931. During the years before it was closed in 2017, we took friends and families up to catch the incredible views of Sawyer Harbor, the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and the bay of Green Bay several times each year. It was a highlight for anyone visiting Sturgeon Bay. 

We were encouraged when the Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park was reopened last year, after it was rebuilt with its long and gradual ramp that allows people with disabilities to enjoy it as well. But the Potawatomi State Park Tower is unique. 

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation worked to successfully get the tower listed on the National Register of Historic Places because it was the first tower of its kind in the state to be built solely for recreation. This means it can be restored without the requirements of costly ramps or elevators. 

Although I support all efforts to accommodate people with disabilities, it would be a shame if the tower had to be demolished for lack of funds to support a project as ambitious as Eagle Tower. With the completion of the Door County Maritime Museum Tower last year, we now have two excellent options for people of all abilities to access fantastic views in Door County.

The Historical Society Foundation also invited an expert on wood engineering here to examine the tower, and in 2019, Dr. Daniel Tingley of Wood Research and Development prepared a report that indicates the tower can be restored to a safe condition for about $300,000. The report has since been certified by a Wisconsin engineering firm. Still, the tower restoration is stuck in state bureaucracy and is at risk of being torn down. 

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is taking public comments through Feb. 22. Go to the DNR website or email [email protected].

Margaret LeBrun

Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin