May 2014  

Words From the President
By: George Evenson

There are a lot of things going on at the Society, we may be 88 years old, but we are not showing our age. You know about our Heritage Village, the Hanson House and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, but there are other things too.
For example, we help other historical and educational organizations. We assisted Door County in funding the purchase of the current Archives Building, assisted the folks at Namur in securing the startup funding for the Old Church which is becoming a significant Belgian Historical Center. Collaboration with the Heritage Alliance, which is a group of the local historical societies provides us with great possibilities for historical education and collaboration. And, as part of the Door County Non-Profit Group, we share resources, educational opportunities and services.
This proves that often a small helping hand can make a big difference!
Please encourage your friends to join our Historical Society, try volunteering, we have interesting things to do.

News from Heritage Village at Big Creek
By: Dan Olson, Curator/Manager

The Village Committee has decided that it would highlight the history of, and news about, our buildings. Since the Greene General Store is undergoing the most transformation (with the exception of the Hanson House) we’ll begin there. It is also generally the first stop on the visitor’s tour of the Village. There is an attraction to the Store because it was, and is still is, the hub of activity on a typical day. It’s reasonable to assume General Stores everywhere had the same lure when the original Greene Store opened its doors for business around the turn of the 20th Century. That store served Sturgeon Bay until sometime in the mid-1950s and was located generally across Third Avenue from Door County Hardware. The structure at our Village is probably more representative of the rural stores which took in produce from farmers on a barter system. The general store of “Our Time” had the means to avail itself of more specialty items. It wasn’t uncommon for the “The Store” to be the Village’s center for communication, news, “Mrs. Knutson’s bout with the gout”, and a whole lot of gossip!
The first “Mr. Greene,” was Harry Greene. He was joined later by his son, Stanley. The collective local Door County history this Father-Son duo possessed has become legendary. They were obviously committed to serving friend and neighbor by both serving terms as Mayor of Sturgeon Bay.
Stanley’s wife, Jane, was equally knowledgeable of Door County history. Jane Greene, who worked at the Door County Library for many years, was also dedicated to generations to come by becoming the primary benefactor who made the construction of our present “Greene Store” possible. Strong and resilient community is made possible by our forebears who were visionary and focused people. A building, a store, a structure brings to mind the very real story of people.
Welcome to the Greene Store!

Glenna Stephenson
Barbara Grishaber

What’s New at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse…
By: Patti Podgers, Curator/Manager

What a bummer…as I write this note it is snowing…on April 17! What the heck is going on?? I was planning a trip into Peninsula State Park to check on the lighthouse this past Tuesday, and the road is still closed…and we are due to open in exactly a month. Needless to say, I am not wearing a happy face. But this too shall pass—someday—and although we might miss a long pleasant spring, maybe we will enjoy a warm balmy summer.
In October, 1868, the exact date is in question, keeper Henry Stanley of the United States Lighthouse Service lit the lamp for the first time at Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Continually manned by the keepers until 1926, the year the light was automated, Eagle Bluff was an important lighthouse on the Green Bay side of Door County. And the keepers who operated the lighthouse were vital to the safety of shipping and passenger service through the Strawberry Islands. Their job was huge and they worked 24 hours a day.
In 1939, on the eve of WWII, the U.S. Lighthouse Service was absorbed into the U.S. Coast Guard. It was not a happy decision for the keepers who loved their independent service. The deed was completed, none the less, and today all active lighthouses are maintained by the U.S.C.G. And they do a great job. Every summer the “coasties” appear unannounced at Eagle Bluff to maintain our solar light. They are polite, respectful, and very nice…handsome, too!
I received the following announcement via email and I wanted to share the following information with our members…“Sturgeon Bay—On January 23, 2014, after a 90 day review by the United States Congress, Admiral R. J. Papp, Jr. the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard signed a proclamation designating the City of Sturgeon Bay a ‘Coast Guard City.’ The entire community is invited to celebrate this prestigious honor at an official proclamation ceremony scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 10th at Sawyer Park on the City’s waterfront. Sturgeon Bay is one of only sixteen communities nationwide to be named a Coast Guard City and is the first, and only, in Wisconsin.”

This is very exciting and I hope many of you can attend this special event honoring our coasties and our community. Other important dates: Eagle Bluff Lighthouse will open for the season on Friday, May 16. We will be open for two weekends including Memorial Day Monday, and will be open daily on May 30 through October 19. Bring your DCHS membership card for a complimentary tour.

Just a reminder, Chris Weidenbacher is our new lighthouse site manager. He has a full plate, but I am confident he will do a great job.

MEMBERS: This is YOUR newsletter, if there is anything you would like to see in this newsletter please let us know! If you have pictures to share and can email digitally that would be terrific! Email them to: Linda Sealey:

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014 – 6:30 PM
(NOTE DATE CHANGE: Meeting will be one week earlier due to Memorial Day)

PROGRAM: Early Travel in Door County, presented by Paul Burton
DINNER: Meat loaf, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh grilled vegetables, dessert; OR Vegetarian lasagna

PHONE __________________ Email:
MEMBERS & THEIR GUESTS – Number Attending _____ X $18.00 =
NON-MEMBERS _____ X $21.00 = __________
MEAL CHOICE: ________ (#) of Meat loaf
________ (#) of Vegetarian Lasagna
I (we) would like to make an additional donation to the DCHS:
ANNUAL MEMBERSHIPS ARE DUE IN SPRING. Please note – If You Have Not Paid Your Annual Dues Please Take A Moment And Do So Today.

May 19, 2014 – Early Travel in Door County, presented by Paul Burton – Leathem Smith Lodge
June 23, 2014 – Searching For Marquette, presented by Ruth Nelson – Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club
July 28, 2014 – Postcards from the Past, presented by Richard Lauder – The Mill Supper Club
August 25, 2014 – Cherries, Cherries, Cherries presented by Dale Seaquist – Mr. G’s
September 22, 2014 – 335 Years of Clay Bank’s History in 20 Minutes presented by Doug Weimer – Coun’s C Club
October 27, 2014 – Farming in Door County presented by George Evenson – Moravian Church
November 24, 2014 – Thordarson and Rock Island presented by Richard Purinton – Prince of Peace Church

1) Volunteers – we are in need of people to help at the Village to mark artifacts and various other small projects and helping man the Greene Store (training provided) when tours are being conducted. If you can spare an hour or two a month we’d appreciate it – let us know what you’d like to do
2) Docents – if you love history and enjoy people this is the place to be! A couple of hours in the afternoon to greet visitors and show them around the village (training is provided).
Please contact Dan Olson at 920-421-2332 as soon as possible so we can include you in training which will be scheduled for late May and/or early June.
The Village is hoping to acquire the following – if you have some, please phone Nan Krause at 746-0628
• Lace or Muslin material to make curtains in Schopf House
• canned food items in canning jars so if you have any wheat grain, home canned items like tomatoes, pickles, apples, green beans, corn, sauerkraut, cherries, etc. We would appreciate what you could spare.
• The old lids and rubbers which could fit over the newer style lids.
• Antique children’s clothing, or items for children to use to play house, and hand wash clothes by using a wash board, clothes line, and such items as aprons, dish or bath towels, dish cloths, underwear, or other washable clothing items.
• old time baseball bat and ball and straw hats for the boys

Leave a comment

Comments are closed.