LAKE MICHIGAN IS MAKING IT’S EXISTENCE KNOWN

Today the winds gave way to large waves crashing into the shoreline of Lake Michigan.  It truly something you don’t see everyday, but well worth a visit especially to Cave Point County Park.   Cave Point was carved out by years of violent waves crashing along the shoreline.  If you happen to visit, especially when it is windy, you will see the waves crashing today.  I heard they have been as high as 30 feet!  No matter what time of year, it’s well worth a visit.

 

Courtesy:  rootsrated.com

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ENJOY THE INCREDIBLE COLORS AND EGG HARBOR’S FESTIVE DECORATIONS THIS WEEKEND

I believe this weekend will be the best weekend for fall colors in Door County as we are so close to peak.  On top of it, the weather is going to be fantastic!

Courtesy:  Pinterest.comCourtesy:  Destination Door County

 

Although the annual Pumpkin Patch Festival is not happening this year, Egg Harbor wanted to keep a special tradition alive: the annual pumpkin and scarecrow display contest.  These displays are an annual tradition in Egg Harbor.   Visitors will have a chance to see a little of Pumpkin Patch in a safe manner this weekend.  Participating business started displaying their decorations on October 8 in hopes of winning.  Everyone has the opportunity to vote on their favorite display though October 11 at 12 pm.   

 

Check out the following businesses participating this year:

Be Beauty Fashion & Home Boutique, 7783 Hwy 42: Spread the Love

BookNook Gardens, 4666 Orchard Road: Rake in a Good Book

Door County Sunglass Company, 7769 Hwy 42: Humorous

Door County Nature Works, 7798 Hwy 42: Emoji Pumpkins

Kim’s Boutique, 7828 Hwy 42: Fall in Door County

Main Street Market, 7770 Hwy 42: Peace

 Posted by:  Jill
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SHIP BUILDING IN STURGEON BAY

I always enjoy driving past the shipyard in Sturgeon Bay.  To see all the freighters in for repair is truly an amazing sight.  When you think about it, ships were very important to Wisconsin back in the day and continue to be just as important.  Ships provide a source for moving goods around the county.

I found out that Milwaukee and Manitowoc were the first shipyards in Wisconsin, opening in the mid-1830s.  In 1896, Rieboldt, Wolter and company moved their shipbuilding operations to Sturgeon Bay from Sheboygan.  Their company, Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding became one of the leading shipbuilders in the area.   

In 2009, Italian shipbuilding company Fincantieri, the fourth-largest shipbuilder in the world, bought the Manitowoc Company’s marine segment, which included Marinette Marine and Bay Shipbuilding.

 I tend to count the freighters when I drive past the shipyard.  In the winter months, you will see more freighters in the shipyard waiting for repair.  Which when you think about it, it makes sense.  Get the work done during the winter months so they are ready for the waters of the Great Lakes as it gets warmer.  

The freighters measure from 500-1000 feet.  Once the ship reaches the canal, a tug boat directs them to the shipyard.   Once docked at the shipyard, workers have 70-90 days to complete repairs, working 24-7.  It’s so important to make sure the ships are repaired on time.  

Courtesy:  Pinterest

In addition to the heavy schedule of the winter fleet, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding also has vessels under construction.  They recently finished the “Madonna” a passenger/car ferry that services Washington Island from Door County.  The year-round ferry measures 124-ft.  She can handle 28 vehicles and 150 passengers.

 

Courtesy:  newsbreak.com

No matter what time of year, keep a look out for a freighter from a far or coming into the shipping canal.  It’s something very special to see.

Posted by:  Jill

 

 

 

 

 

 

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WHAT LOGGING MEANT TO DOOR COUNTY A CENTURY AGO

More than a century ago, Door County was founded first on fishing and then on lumbering.  The logging industry originally consisted of farmers and their families clearing the land in hopes of starting a new life.  That would soon change, once the enterprising lumber barons learned of the thick forests in Door County.

In 1853, Belgian immigrants began the difficult job of clearing the heavily woods one tree at a time.  Later in the 1850s, small lumber companies began appearing in Little Sturgeon, Rowleys Bay, Fish Creek and Egg Harbor.  The industry exploded at the end of the Civil War.  

Courtesy:  Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society

The lumber mills produced wood planks and shingles for homes and ships.  Cordwood was used as steamships fuel for sailing the Great Lakes.  At one point there were sixty piers around the county that shipped nothing but wood products.  The county was once covered by thick forests of maple, white pine and cedar.  The easy access to water made it an ideal location for sawmills.  Water was the only way to move mass quantities of wood long distances.  

Courtesy:  Door County Maritime Museum and Lighthouse Preservation Society

Door County was the perfect place for shipping, but the work was very hard.  Loggers had to deal with thick forests and trees.  Harvesting began with an axe until the first power tools appeared in the 1880s.  The two-man saw wasn’t available either.  It was tough and dangerous work.  Many tragic accidents occurred with limbs or trees crashing down on a fellow loggers. 

Winter was prime season for logging.  It was much easier for horses and mules to pull these large loads of trees to the sawmills.  Loggers would often water down the roads to create ice which made the sledding much quicker.

Courtesy:  Wisconsinhistory.org

In 1865, an outbreak of diphtheria occurred due to a ship carrying an entire sick crew pulled into the logging town of Little Sister Harbor.  All would die from the disease except for one because the medicine in the camps were very primitive.  The dead were buried in a makeshift cemetery not far from what is now Pebble Beach.  The community abandoned the area after the disease and the village of Sister Bay would soon move two miles up the shoreline to the north.  

The loggers of 1875, worked long days.  The camps were packed and had no running water or bathroom facilities.  On top of it, pay wasn’t very good either.  I can only imagine what they would think of accommodations today in Door County! 

Loggers came from the Eastern states, but many were immigrants from Sweden, Belgium, Germany and Norway hoping to find a new life in the states.  For many, the sawmill was the only opportunity to make money to built their home.  Settlers working for the sawmill would take out what amounted to a mortgage from their employer.  A settler would get supplies from the sawmill’s general store on credit, and at the end of the year would be paid the difference for their purchases.   This was great for the lumber company, as it provided a loyal workforce.   

By the 1890s the forests had been cleared and the lumber industry faded.  The former loggers began building barns and planting crops.  Orchards throughout the peninsula became a defining symbol for Door County.  Some of the old logging camps turned into resorts and cottages.

Many trees over the years were harvested, however, you can view some trees that were left behind at Toft’s Point in Baileys Harbor.  The Toft family left 740 acres which includes one of the largest stretches of old-growth white pines on the shore of Lake Michigan.  You can find out more information on the 740 acres at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor.  

Posted By:  Jill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE HARVEST OF 1945

Are you aware that during 1945 and 1946 German prisoners of war were employed in Door County?


Courtesy: Door County Historical Museum

I was surprised to learn that in the beginning of November 1942, many World War II prisoners of war (POWs) were housed in the United States.  Almost every state, except Nevada, North Dakota and Vermont had at least one POW camp with the majority of prisoners from Germany.  At its peak in May 1945, a total of 425,871 POWs were held in the US, which included 371,683 Germans, 50,273 Italians, and 3,915 Japanese.

 

In 1945, the government decided to establish Camp Sturgeon Bay.  The POWs were coming primarily to help cherry orchard owners.  This is all due to the lack of a labor force due to the war.  Camp Sturgeon Bay contained 2,140 German POWs.  

Courtesy:  Door County Historical Museum

 

In Wisconsin, POWs were housed on two base camps and in 38 branch camps.  The state having by 1945 about 20,000 of the more than 425,871 POWs in the U.S.    

Courtesy:  Door County Historical Museum

POWs were employed by private business owners after their military base work was met.  In Wisconsin, they worked in agriculture, manufacturing and the lumber industry with most of their work in agriculture.  The POWs were paid for their work.  They were paid in “camp scrip” so they could purchase items on the military base.  The money was basically worthless anywhere else just in case they tried to escape.  POWs were allowed to start savings accounts redeemable upon being sent back to their own country.

In 1945, most of the POWs were sent to Michigan and Illinois.  About 100 remained in Door County into 1946, continuing to help with harvesting and processing of fruits and vegetables in Door County.  Overall, POWs picked approximately 20 pails per day per man.  

Most residents of Door County thought the German POWs were pleasant and kind.  By 1940s, one-third of Wisconsin’s population had German ancestry.    The majority of POWs remained in the states until June of 1946. 

Courtesy:  Door County Historical Museum

The German POWs were young men that I assume would have rather pick cherries than fight in a war. By 1946, the POWs returned to their countries.   All a part of Door County’s history!   

Posted by:  Jill

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