2016 February-March News  

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 County.

President’s Message

By: Jay Zahn

            The New Year is underway and with it some new events for your Door County Historical Society.

We had a wonderful luncheon at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club in January in celebration of our 90th anniversary.  It was most interesting to learn about the founding of the society and a little bit about Hjalmar Holand. As with many of early Door County residents he seemed to be quite a character!

Our next outing takes us on the road for our Historic Tavern Tour of Door County. You will ride in comfort of a coach bus, have a great lunch, and it also includes two drink tickets.  It looks to be a fun day so I hope you will sign up.

In March we hear from the Madden brothers and they will fill us in on “Tools of the Past”. They have been collecting tools and equipment and often give each other presents of their “finds.” As their interest and collections grew, Mike, Pat and Steve wanted to share the intriguing and unique ingenuity of the hand tools of farmers, wood workers, homemakers, and loggers. They have dedicated hundreds of hours to building the Tool Museum at the Heritage Village and will show us some of the equipment that was used by the early settlers of Door County. This event features a buffet lunch at Stone Harbor. You are also invited to bring any tools you may have in your tool collections and see if you can “stump the experts”.  You’ll also preview very special toolboxes from early Door County father and son boat builders, Palmer and Hans Johnson.

I hope you will attend the “Tools of the Past” event since it is a fund raiser for the start of an Endowment Fund for the Door County Historical Society. We will have raffles and drawings in support of this effort that is very important for the upkeep of all the buildings we support both at the Village and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Your support will be a living legacy that will support the upkeep of these valuable assets.  Event tickets are $25; dress code—plaid flannel shirts are optional! Donation jars will be available, too! Make your reservation today and invest in the Society’s future.

On another note, please keep the Econo Food receipts coming! We will receive $110  by your saving receipts over the last few months.

I look forward to seeing you at these upcoming events.


Moment in History…

This story appeared on August 28, 1891 in The Iron Port News, Escanaba Michigan in a column called The Reaper.
…”Died, at his residence in the township of Nahma, on Tuesday, August 25, John B. Washo, Sr. He was of the aboriginal race and was born in Door county, Wisconsin, in 1805, so that he was 86 years old at the time of his death. He had lived many years (just how many we are not told) on the shores of the Big bay de Noquette, and was well known to those who lived or visited there. The facts are given us by his son John Washo, Jr.”


Thoughts from the Director…Celebrating 90 Years!

By: Trudy Herbst

Society friends encouraged me to recapture my year via a holiday letter. I tried this exercise, but my monthly highlights seemed blasé in comparison. Instead, I thought to share this story.

Shortly after my Mom’s passing in January 1998, we received a call from a Sturgeon Bay friend telling us that a nice house was coming on the market and we should call the owner at once. I followed his advice and came to visit our home on Vine Court. Unfortunately, Jay was traveling overseas and was unable to accompany me to preview the home. I made an offer that was accepted by the seller, but the sellers said they would feel much better if Jay, too, could see the property. I called Jay that evening and we made arrangements for him to fly into Sturgeon Bay. While chatting, I shared with him that the house met all of his requirements: on the water, a pier, and a three-car garage. Two items were missing and I assured him I could get them installed quite quickly after closing: a garage sink (for cleaning fish) and a fire pit (a Wisconsin boy at heart). Jay’s response was, “Are you content?” To which I answered enthusiastically, “Yes!” Then Jay said, “Well honey, if you’re content; I’m content.”

So instead of listing all the things that we’ve done or this year’s accomplishments, I thought you might like to know that I am content. Content in work: I am able to use my skills to help the Door County Historical Society prosper and meet its vision. I live in a fantastic place, my version of God’s country. This small town is a five-minute drive in any direction to see the beauty of farms, nature or water. Content in my home: I have a wonderful and caring husband who can still make me laugh. I am content with my community: very caring and creative. And, I am content to call you a friend: whether near or far, making cards, going to a play or performance, out to lunch, dinner, history programs or meetings.

I wish you a fabulous 2016 and can only hope that you experience the type of contentment I have discovered and all the joy that it brings.


Need a Ride or Give a Ride!

Are you no longer able to drive? Please call Trudy at (920) 421-2332 if you need a ride or are willing to provide a ride to our members for any of our programs!


If you are not a member, please consider joining us!

Membership, Donation, & Volunteer Form

I am committed to keeping history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation & sharing Door County heritage.

Names: ______________________________                       Address: _____________________________

City: ________________________________                        State, Zip: ____________________________

Phone: ______________________________                        Email: _______________________________

Membership Levels (Circle One)

Individual                                                                                                        $25

Family (one household: two adults & children ages 17 & under)                  $40

Business or Organization                                                                                $75

Nonprofit Organization                                                                                  $25

Individual Life Membership  ($200 is placed in the Endowment Fund)        $250

Donation—Annual Fund         $_________                _____Volunteer:  Please contact me about volunteer opportunities!

The Door County Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization; your gifts are tax deductible!

P. O. Box 71, Sturgeon Bay, WI  54235          920.421.2332 Director.DCHistoricalSociety@gmail.com

Please Note: This newsletter is for February & March


I would like to attend the narrated bus tour of Door County’s Historic Taverns “There’s a Tavern in the Town” on Saturday, February 27. Tour includes lunch, transportation and 2 beverage tickets. Reservation Deadline is Saturday February 20 or until the bus sells out. Bus departs 10:00 am, Sturgeon Bay City Parking Lot, 4th & Michigan.

Participant’s Names:      1) ________________________________      2) ________________________________

3) ________________________________      4) ________________________________

Historic Tavern Tour Members Attending ________   X  $60.00 =                 _______

Historic Tavern Tour Guests Attending _______   X $65.00 = ___________

I would like to attend Tools of the Past, an Endowment Fund Benefit, on Saturday March 12. Program begins at 11:00 am; we will break for lunch at noon; and the program resumes at 1:00 pm. Stone Harbor Resort,  Reservation Deadline March 5.  Dress Code: Plaid Flannel Shirts Optional (casual)! Bring a tool to try and stump the experts!

Participant’s Names:      1) ________________________________      2) ________________________________

3) ________________________________      4) ________________________________

Number Attending ______ X $25.00 = ___________

                                                                                                                               TOTAL ENCLOSED:          $  _______                _______

MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO:  DOOR COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, P.O. BOX 71, STURGEON BAY, WI 54235-0071 and include your Tadych Econo Food Receipts!


February 27, Saturday: History Mystery Tour—There’s a Tavern in the Town

Pull up a barstool as the Society embarks on “There’s a Tavern in the Town!” Each rural crossroads had three things in common: a church, a school and a tavern. Within a stone’s throw, you could get education, salvation, and…damnation! (Thank you, George Evenson for this history tidbit). On this year’s excursion we will board a bus for a narrated tour of Door County’s historic taverns. Stopping at five old time saloons, you will explore Wisconsin’s tavern history as featured in author Jim Draeger’s “Bottom’s Up!” and have a wonderful lunch, too. This is a history mystery tour; you’ll be surprised by the stories of the places you visit as well as those taverns along the way. The bus departs from Sturgeon Bay City Hall parking lot (corner of 4th & Michigan) at 10:00 am and will return about 3:00 pm; please plan to arrive 15 minutes early. Guests will enjoy a family style baked chicken and ham luncheon with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, salad, dressing, bread, coffee and dessert. You will have two beverage tickets for sampling and a “hoppy time.” Register today; the next newsletter will be in April. Registration deadline is Saturday, February 20 or until the bus sells out!


Artifact Wish List

gun powder horn                                            washstand                                           Volunteers to repair:

wood box                                                         wooden silverware tray                      · table board

gold pocket watch chain                                 Feather pillows, clean                         · sewing machine treadle

perfume bottles with glass stoppers              pitcher and bowl, chamber set           · rough woodwork on bed



Welcome, New Members!

John Horton                                                     Barbara Buckingham—Egg Harbor    Sue & Dale Crass—Brussels

Pete & Jelaine Horton—Sturgeon Bay           Betty Thomas—Baileys Harbor

Nell Herlache—Sturgeon Bay




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