National Register Listings in
Door County, Wisconsin

ADVANCE shipwreck (Barge) Anderson Dock Historic District AUSTRALASIA (wooden bulk carrier) Shipwreck Baileys Harbor Range Light Baileys Harbor Town Hall-McArdle Library Bouche, J.B., House Bullhead Point Historical and Archeological District Cana Island Lighthouse Carnegie Free Library Chambers Island Lighthouse CHRISTINA NILSSON (shipwreck) Church of the Atonement Clearing, The Cupola House Draize, August, Farmstead Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Ephraim Moravian Church Ephraim Village Hall Falque, Joachine J., House Free Evangelical Lutheran Church-Bethania Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation Gibraltar District School No. 2 Globe Hotel GRAPE SHOT (schooner) Shipwreck HANOVER (schooner) Shipwreck Hillside Hotel IRIS (Shipwreck) Jacksonport Wharf Archaeological District (Boundary Increase and Additional Documentation) Jacksonport Wharf Archeological District Jischke's Meat Market Joint Brussels and Garner Dristrict School Number One JOYS (Shipwreck) LAKELAND (steam screw) Shipwreck Larson, L. A., & Co. Store Louisiana Street/Seventh Avenue Historic District Monfils, Joseph, Farmstead Murphy Farms Number 1 Namur Belgian-American District Noble, Alexander, House OCEAN WAVE (Shipwreck) Peterson, Peter, House Pilot Island Light Plum island Life-Saving and Light Station Plum Island Range Rear Light Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower Pottawatomie Lighthouse Rock Island Historic District Sherwood Point Light Station Sturgeon Bay Bridge Sturgeon Bay Canal Lighthouse Sturgeon Bay Post Office SUCCESS (scow schooner) Shipwreck Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator Third Avenue Historic District Thordarson Estate Historic District Thorp, Freeman and Jesse, House and Cottages Vangindertahlen, Louis, House Vorous General Store Water Tower Welcker's Resort Historic District Zachow, William, Farmstead Zahn, Albert, House Zahn, August, Balcksmith Shop and House
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The first kindergarten in the United States was started in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 by a German immigrant named Margarethe Meyer Schurz.
Door County, Wisconsin, located on a beautiful peninsula jutting out into Lake Michigan, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The area was originally inhabited by the Potawatomi and Menominee Native American tribes, who relied on the waters and forests for their sustenance. European explorers first arrived in the late 17th century, with the French claiming the region as part of New France.

In the early 19th century, the United States gained control of the area through the Treaty of Chicago. The first permanent European settlers arrived in the 1830s, drawn to the fertile soil and abundant fish and wildlife. Settlements quickly sprang up along the coast, with fishing, farming, and shipbuilding becoming key industries. The name "Door County" is believed to have originated from the treacherous passage between the peninsula and Washington Island, known as "Death's Door," due to the numerous shipwrecks that occurred there.

By the late 1800s, Door County had become a popular vacation destination due to its natural beauty and cool summer climate. Wealthy Chicago and Milwaukee residents built summer cottages along the coast, many of which still stand today as charming bed and breakfasts or historic sites. The tourism industry flourished, fueled by the picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and the opportunity to enjoy water-based activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming.

Over the years, Door County has continued to evolve while preserving its natural, small-town charm. The region has become known for its thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, theaters, and festivals celebrating local talent. Today, Door County is a popular year-round destination, known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant cultural scene, and warm hospitality. Whether visitors come for the beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, or to experience its rich history firsthand, Door County offers something for everyone.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Door County, Wisconsin.

  • 1634: French explorer Jean Nicolet is the first known European to explore Door County.
  • 1781: British fur trader John Lawe establishes a trading post on Washington Island.
  • 1817: The United States establishes a fort on Washington Island to protect its interests in the fur trade.
  • 1836: Door County is created as a separate county in the Wisconsin Territory.
  • 1853: The first permanent settlers establish homes in the county, including Hagen and Jacobsen families.
  • 1857: The first lighthouse on the Great Lakes is built on Rock Island, marking the entrance to Death's Door passage.
  • 1870s: Tourism begins to develop in Door County, with vacationers attracted to the natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • 1893: The Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal is completed, improving shipping access to the county.
  • Early 1900s: Cherry orchards become a major industry in Door County, with the area becoming known as the "Cherryland USA."
  • 1949: The Door County Maritime Museum opens in Sturgeon Bay, celebrating the county's rich maritime history.
  • 1965: The Door County Historical Museum opens in Sturgeon Bay, preserving and showcasing the county's history.
  • 1986: Peninsula State Park is named one of the top 10 state parks in the nation by Money Magazine, further boosting tourism in the area.
  • 2000s: Door County continues to thrive as a popular tourist destination, known for its charming small towns, picturesque landscapes, and cultural attractions.