Door County, Wisconsin
|Door County, Wisconsin|
Door County Government Center
Location in the state of Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Door Peninsula|
|Largest city||Sturgeon Bay|
|• Total||2,370 sq mi (6,138 km2)|
|• Land||482 sq mi (1,248 km2)|
|• Water||1,888 sq mi (4,890 km2), 79.7%|
|• Density||58/sq mi (22/km²)|
|Time zone||Central: UTC-6/-5|
The county is named after the strait between the Door Peninsula and Washington Island. The dangerous passage, which is now scattered with shipwrecks, was known to early French explorers and local Native Americans. Because of the natural hazards of the strait, where the waters of Green Bay meet the open body of Lake Michigan, they gave it the French appellation Porte des Morts, which in English means "Death's Door."
The Door County peninsula has been inhabited for about 11,000 years. Artifacts from an ancient village site at Nicolet Bay Beach have been dated to about 400 BC. This site was occupied by various cultures until about 1300 AD.
The 18th and 19th centuries saw the immigration and settlement of pioneers, mariners, fishermen and farmers, with the first white settler being Increase Claflin. Economic sustenance came from lumbering and tourism.
During the 18th century, Door County was actually referred to as "Death's Door territory" by the French, the water strait between what is now the Door Peninsula and Washington Island is very hazardous for navigating ships. This led to (and continues to cause) many vessels being damaged and shipwrecks, hence the name.
During the 19th century, various groups of Native Americans occupied the area that would become Door County and its islands. Beginning in mid-century, these Indians, mostly Potawatomi, were removed from the peninsula by the federal government under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Later in the 19th century there was a fairly large-scale immigration of Belgian Walloons, who populated a small region in the county.
A Civilian Conservation Corps camp was established at Peninsula State Park during the Great Depression. In the summer of 1945, Fish Creek was the site of a German POW camp, under an affiliation with a base camp at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. The prisoners engaged in construction projects, cut wood, and picked cherries in Peninsula State Park and the surrounding area. Eagle Bluff Lighthouse was constructed in Peninsula State Park in 1868 on orders from President Andrew Johnson, at a cost of $12,000. It was restored by the Door County Historical Society in 1964, and opened to the public.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,370 square miles (6,100 km2), of which 482 square miles (1,250 km2) is land and 1,888 square miles (4,890 km2) (79.7%) is water. It is the largest county in Wisconsin by total area. The county also has 298 miles of shoreline. Locals and tourists alike refer to the area as the "Cape Cod of the Midwest". The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula. With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881, the northern half of the peninsula, in actuality, became an island.
Limestone outcroppings of the Niagara Escarpment are visible on both shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the Green Bay side as seen at the Bayshore Blufflands. Progressions of dunes have created much of the rest of the shoreline, especially on the easterly side. Flora along the shore provides clear evidence of plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat or rolling cultivated land. Soils overlaying the dolomite bedrock are very thin in the northern half of the county; 39% of the County is mapped as having less than three feet to bedrock. Beyond the northern tip of the peninsula, the partially submerged ridge forms a number of islands that stretch to the Garden Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The largest of these islands is Washington Island. Most of these islands form the Town of Washington.
Outcroppings at Newport State Park approximately 10 feet (3 m) from Lake Michigan
- Kewaunee County, Wisconsin - South
- Oconto County, Wisconsin - West
- Marinette County, Wisconsin - Northwest
- Menominee County, Michigan - Northwest
- Delta County, Michigan - North
National protected areas
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,961 people, 11,828 households, and 7,995 families residing in the county. The population density was 58 people per square mile (22/km²). There were 19,587 housing units at an average density of 41 per square mile (16/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.84% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 39.4% were of German and 10.3% Belgian ancestry. A small pocket of Walloon speakers is the only Walloon-language region outside of Wallonia and its immediate neighborhood.
There were 11,828 households out of which 26.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.10% were married couples living together, 6.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.40% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.10% under the age of 18, 6.10% from 18 to 24, 25.40% from 25 to 44, 27.70% from 45 to 64, and 18.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 97.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.50 males.
Although Door County has a year-round population of about 28,000, it experiences a tourist explosion each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as the Lake Michigan spring gives way to a three month summer. Most businesses are targeted to visitors, and close during the off-season. In the summer, the population of Door County can reach as high as 250,000. The majority of tourists and summer residents come from the metropolitan areas of Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, Green Bay, and the Twin Cities. The area is known as "the Cape Cod of the Midwest".
Door County is home to five of Wisconsin's state parks: Newport State Park, northeast of Ellison Bay; Peninsula State Park, along more than six miles (10 km) of the Green Bay shoreline; Potawatomi State Park, along Sturgeon Bay; Rock Island State Park, off the tip of the Door Peninsula; and Whitefish Dunes State Park, along Lake Michigan. These five parks are known as the "five jewels in the crown." They offer visitors recreational opportunities that include sightseeing, hiking, camping, swimming, fishing, and snowmobiling. Many small businesses surrounding these parks offer moped or bicycle rentals.
Door County has 10 lighthouses. Most were built during the 19th century and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places: Baileys Harbor Range Lights, Cana Island Lighthouse, Chambers Island Lighthouse, Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, Pilot Island Lighthouse, Plum Island Range Lights, Pottawatomie Lighthouse, and Sturgeon Bay Canal Lighthouse. The other lighthouses in the county are: Baileys Harbor Lighthouse, Sherwood Point Lighthouse, and the Sturgeon Bay Canal North Pierhead Light.
Fish boils, offered at many Door County restaurants, are a popular meal for tourists. Potatoes, onions and whitefish from the local waters are cooked in a large kettle over a wood fire. At the end of the cooking, the cook throws fuel oil or kerosene on the fire, often exciting the crowds! This "flame up" causes the water to boil over. The fish and vegetables are served with melted butter. This meal is traditionally followed by cherry pie, a traditional dessert in the area.
Door County prides itself on its cherry orchards, and a history of cherry growing that dates back to the 19th century. Soil and weather conditions (especially long, cool but frost-free springs, and summers of warm days and cool nights) influenced by Lake Michigan and Green Bay have created an ideal environment for growing these fruits. Many of the cherry orchards offer "pick your own cherries" along with more traditional pre-picked containers. Today with around 2,200 acres (8.9 km2) of cherry orchards and another 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of apple orchards, Door County is filled with blossoms in the spring and richly decorated with the fruits in the late summer and fall. Montmorency cherries are usually picked from mid-July to early- to mid-August. Early varieties of apples, such as Paula Reds, are harvested as early as late August. Golden Delicious are harvested through mid-October. Cherry and apple stands can be found along many of Door County's country roads when in season. A variety of cherry products can be found in retail outlets in the county.
The unique growing conditions found in the Door County wine region has given rise to 8 award winning wineries, Tasting rooms, 3 microbreweries, a distillery and a French-style Cider house.
- Door County Cherryland Airport (KSUE), located 3 miles west of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- Ephraim–Gibraltar Airport (3D2), located 1 mile southwest of Ephraim, Wisconsin
City, villages, and towns
- Baileys Harbor
- Clay Banks
- Egg Harbor (town)
- Egg Harbor
- Forestville (town)
- Liberty Grove
- Sister Bay
- Sturgeon Bay
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- Door County's First Settler, Hjalmar Holand, History of Door County, Wisconsin (1917)
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 108.
- "POW Camps in the USA"
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
- Lyttle, Bethany (2008-09-11). "‘The Cape Cod of the Midwest’". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- Apple & Cherry Orchards: Door County Wisconsin
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Door County, Wisconsin.|
|Green Bay||Lake Michigan|