September 2011 Newsletter  

Our Mission: The Door County Historical Society strives to collect, maintain and share the history and heritage of Door County through preservation, education and programming.
Our Vision: We envision a Door County Historical Society that is committed to keeping history alive for future generations through collection, preservation and sharing of the heritage of Door Co

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 6:30 p.m.
MENU: Chicken, tripp, mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, vegetable and Belgian pie

PROGRAM: The History and Preservation of the former St Mary’s Church in Namur presented by Bill Chaudoir and Allen and Theresa Alexander
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Dear Society Members,
The week of the 20th of August we were privileged to host Mr Ellsworth Brown, the President of the State Historical Society. The visit was arranged by Director Glenn Timmerman. We toured the facilities operated by our Society.
Our first stop was the Village and the Collins Center. Jerry and Coggin did a great job showing the buildings, explaining our programs and giving some history of the buildings. Next stop was the Hanson House where Jim Maki and his crew are cleaning up and removing the additions that were added in the 1920s. We then visited the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse where Patti gave Ellsworth and his wife and Glenn and Barb Timmermann a grand tour. As your President, I was proud of our facilities, the great staff and the remarkable things we have accomplished over the years.
Remember to stop in at the Village on weekends. You will find great programs and the volunteers will be happy to see you.
George Evenson, President, DCHS

Bring family and friends. Open each day, 1:30-3:30; Special events every Sunday.

September 18 – Blacksmith demonstration. Watch (or purchase) items while they are being created. Hear how blacksmiths enhanced the life of our farming ancestors. — Caramel apples sale
September 25 -The Door County lumber industry of the mid to late 1800’s is an important part of our history. Large scale timber harvest, small scale family operations, and the transport of timber products was an economic and social influence that can be seen and felt today. Lumberjacks Pat and Mike Madden will display and demonstrate tools of the trade used during this exciting era. Bring an interesting tool or family lumbering story to add to the celebration of our history. –Cinnamon Roll Sale
Oct 2 – Lee Somerville, landscape historian and master gardener, will be on hand to discuss and sign copies of her recently published book, “Vintage Wisconsin Gardens, A History of Home Gardening.” The theses she recently completed as a part of being rewarded her Master’s Degree in landscape architecture serves as a basis for the book. She heads up the team that cares for the Village Garden. – Hot cranberry/Apple Cider sale (continued on reverse side)

(If the label on your envelope has been highlighted, your 2011 dues have not been paid.)

Oct. – 9 Peshtigo Fire as it burned Door County, by Barb Chisholm. – Volunteer’s Bake Sale
Oct. -16 Blacksmith demonstration – Pumpkin Pie sale
Many of you have donated items to display, and many of you have given money for the Historical Village. Thank you. Our next steps in the Schopf House will be to add wainscoting and interior wood trim on windows and doors. We are short about $2000 to do this, so small or large gifts will be helpful. We hope to begin furnishing the downstairs this fall, so we can begin interpreting the immigrant Lautenbach family that first built the log house. The next need for the village Maintenance Fund is to paint the front end of the Vignes School, which is too high for our volunteer painters. The Village Committee is grateful that every elected member of the Board of the Historical Society has offered their financial support. We hope that more members of the Society will join this effort.

Notes from the Curator…
As fall peeks out from around the corner, I am taking a minute to review the last few months at Eagle Bluff. It seems as though we just opened for the season! We are experiencing a wonderful year and it is due in large part to the excellence of my staff. Following their initial training, I encouraged each of them to personalize the basic tour, highlight some bit of lighthouse history.
And I followed my own advice. As a historian, the role of the woman in keeping the light burning intrigued me. Married to men dedicated to the sea, its capriciousness and unpredictability a constant challenge, these women learned to survive loneliness and unimaginable hardship in lighthouses from Maine to California, Florida to Washington.
They raised their children alone while their husbands manned the light on isolated stony cliffs. Gathering their skirts about them, the women carried kerosene up winding stairs to their men waiting in the glow of the lamp. Cooking over a wood-burning stove, the wives and mothers worked long into the night as their men-folk scanned the horizon for ships in harms-way.
Oft times, when a keeper was disabled or passed while in service, their wife was appointed as replacement. Mary Terry, the wife of Sand Point Lighthouse’s first keeper, served for 18 years following the death of her husband John. The victim of consumption, John passed before the lighthouse construction was complete. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Escanaba lighthouse was first operational the same year as Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, 1868.
According to an article in the Escanaba newspaper Iron Port, Mary “was a very methodical woman, very careful in the discharge of her duties and very particular in the care of the property under her charge.” And that quote lends suspicion to the manner in which Mary died in 1886. A fire swept the lighthouse; evidence indicated a forced door lock. The Iron Port reported the coroner’s jury ruling that Mary “came to her death from causes and by means unknown.”
One of the first women keepers on the Great Lakes, Mary served valiantly. Well-known for her factiousness, the town’s populace believed foul play in her death. The case was closed, however, in the absence of any other information.
The Sand Point Lighthouse was deactivated in 1939, its fourth order lenses extinguished. A simple lighthouse, relatively small, one of its interesting structural features is the placement of its tower, which strangely faces away from the water, possibly an error. The lamp, first ignited on May 13, 1868, was a fixed red light. Eight lighthouse keepers and their families maintained the lamp until the US Coast Guard took command of all lighthouses in 1939. It was that year that the Lighthouse Service was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Guard.
As we guide visitors through their Eagle Bluff tour, we emphasize two important facts. First of all, lighthouses are very unique to their location. No two lighthouses are the same. Secondly, lighthouses are Federal property and the keeper is a Federal employee. Each lighthouse tells its own story…and each story is one of courage, bravery, and dedication.

Patti Podgers, Curator/Manager

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