September 2012 Newsletter  

DOOR COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
1926 – 85 YEARS PRESERVING DOOR COUNTY HISTORY – 2011
MEETING NOTICE AND NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER, 2012
Website: doorcountyhistoricalsociety.org
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 24, 6:30 p.m.
COUN’S C CLUB, BRUSSELS
$17.00
MENU: Chicken, tripp, mashed potatoes, dressing, coleslaw, vegetable and Belgian pie
RESERVATIONS DUE BY SEPTEMBER 17

PROGRAM: Belgian Roadside Chapels presented by Barb Chisholm and Sue Havel

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Dear Members,

It’s hard to realize that it’s already September. This year your Board begins brain storming. Subject: what will our Society need to do in order to sustain interest in our organization and the services we provide our membership and visitors. Our docents at the Lighthouse at Eagle Bluff with our partners at the DNR are working together to give our visitors a memorable experience. While the Village is doing better each year, more needs to be done to attract more visitors. Starting this fall and through opening in the spring of 2013, we need to look at our operation. One accomplishment will be the installation of a sign along Highway 42/57.

We have a splendid selection of period buildings – each one has a story to tell. Very few societies have these kinds of assets, besides being along the most traveled stretch of road in all of Door County. We realize that we need income to maintain buildings, as well as payment for a small staff. If you have ideas, let us know. Call a Board member or write a letter. We are willing to listen. Yes, we might be 85 years old but next spring there will be some surprising new ideas at the Village. Maybe it will become a real Folk Architecture Park, the only one in Wisconsin. What do you think of that?

Be sure to visit our attractions. Not much good weather left in 2012.

George Evenson, President
DCHS

(If the label on your envelope has been highlighted, your 2012 dues have not been paid.)
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DINNER RESERVATION FORM
We must receive your reservation by September 17

NO REFUNDS OR PHONE RESERVATIONS, PLEASE

NAME _________________________________________________________________
SPOUSE/GUEST_________________________________________________________
PHONE __________________
NUMBER ATTENDING _____ X $17.00 DINNER AMOUNT ____________
2012 MEMBERSHIP FORM
INDIVIDUAL MEMBERSHIP: $15.00 ________________________
HUSBAND/WIFE MEMBERSHIP: $25.00 __________________
INDIVIDUAL LIFE MEMBERSHIP: $150.00 __________________
I (we) would like to make an additional
donation to the DCHS __________________ TOTAL ENCLOSED: ____________________
MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: DOOR COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SEND TO: PO BOX 71, STURGEON BAY, WI 54235

News from the Historical Village

We have had a remarkable season at the Village. As of September 2 our 2012 total Sunday attendance (YTD) finally pulled ahead of last year. I suspect this would have happened sooner if we had not been scorched with unbearable heat early in our season. From my own observations and comments from others, the programs have been well presented and well received. It seems hard to fathom that our season is drawing to a close so quickly. Our first ever “Home-made Craft and Produce Day” on September 16th will include about 15 vendors with all manner of items. This is a good start to something I hope we could make into an annual event. We have extended the Village Hours on the 16th from 1:00-5:00 pm to give adequate time for the vendors to make their presence worth their time. Stop on by! I am most proud of the volunteers who give so willingly of their time in a “labor of love” to make the Village experience happen and come alive to our visitors. I would dare say that all our visitors go away impressed with all the astounding work that makes the Village “the place to visit” in Door County!

Cordially,
Dan G Olson
Village Manager

Notes from the Curator

In 1960, the Door County Historical Society began the tedious and tiresome job of restoring Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Working under a license to operate, the DCHS invested thousands of donated dollars and volunteers labored thousands of intensive hours to restore, renovate, and refurbish the abandoned 1868 lighthouse.
Well, maybe abandoned is a rather strong word…how about deserted? No, well, in any case, the lighthouse was in shambles. Unloved since the lamp was automated in 1926 and the third and final keeper, Peter Coughlin retired, the lighthouse on the bluff rapidly deteriorated. During its 34 years of abandonment, yes, I prefer that word, the lovely little Cream City brick building suffered from the wear and tear, as well as abuse, of occasional renters and squatters.
For the record, the lighthouse was built by the Federal government. Suffering from neglect following Keeper Coughlin’s departure, the lighthouse had become an eyesore. In consideration of its value, the Federal Government deeded the building to the State of Wisconsin. In the early 1930s the Wisconsin State Conservation Commission was granted a quit claim deed for 10.98 acres of the original 12 acres and the acreage became part of Peninsula State Park.
The Lighthouse Bureau, not yet the USCG, then leased the remaining 1.02 acres including all buildings excluding the lantern and light tower, to the State of Wisconsin. The transfers were complete on May 9, 1936. Snugly located in Peninsula State Park, the lighthouse was occasionally occupied by park employees, although the building was most often vacant.
Following a re-organization and revitalization of the Door County Historical Society, the membership sought a worthy restoration project. A variety of sites was suggested, but in the end the lighthouse at Eagle Bluff was selected. And so the paperwork was signed, sealed, and delivered granting the DCHS permission to restore the building and open its doors to visitors. On September 1, 1963, the public was invited to tour Eagle Bluff Lighthouse for the very first time.
Unfortunately, years of cold winters and hot summers have taken their toll. In 2010 two rooms remained wallpapered. The paper was falling from the walls, plaster was peeling, and the painted walls reflected dirty hand prints and chips. And without a named park superintendent, I could not move forward to complete repairs and restoration of the lovely building. But coming to my rescue was the new super Kelli Bruns. Like a princess on a white charger, Kelli came to our rescue. I wrote up detailed descriptions of the repair projects, and Kelli submitted them to the State of Wisconsin. She followed the progress of the submissions and kept me in the loop.
And then one beautiful day late last month, the good news arrived…the money was coming and with a big smile, Kelli told me to call Bob Ryan and Travis Price, and tell them to “come on back.” Sweetest news I could have received! Yes, we are dusty and messy and disheveled. But soon we will be looking mighty pretty, all white and sparkly. Come by for a visit…the door is always open!!

Patti Podgers
Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Curator/Manager

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