In door county,
what's old
is new again

Door County’s history is both familiar and unique. It shares an agricultural and maritime history with the rest of Wisconsin, while offering a Belgian heritage and ecological history unlike anywhere else. Experience Door County history and museums to get a taste for the people and places that set the course for the area we know and love today. Check out our 72-hour Door County Historical Tour Itinerary


Local history buffs have spent their lives preserving the tradition of Door County in local museums. From local historical societies designated for each unique community, to the broad maritime and cultural collections that cover everything that made Door County what it is today, there is much to learn and enjoy.

Five Must-See Historic Landmarks

While museums bring everything under one roof, sometimes you really have to get out there to experience history for yourself. Check out these five historic landmarks on your tour around the county.

Tornado Memorial Park: Though the Great Chicago Fire was recognized for its damage to a major city, the Great Peshtigo Fire that broke out the exact same day in 1871 was the largest and deadliest in our country’s history. Why name a park after a different natural disaster? The site was described as being “tornadoes of fire.”

Cana Island Lighthouse: Wind down a rustic road through old-growth forest, then cross a causeway for a chance to capture one of Door County’s most popular photographs at one of the most iconic lighthouses in the country.

Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal: Completed in 1882, the canal dug to connect Lake Michigan to Green Bay changed the face of Great Lakes shipping, for ships could now avoid the treacherous waters of Death’s Door. The canal is best experienced by water, or on a public property maintained by the Door County Land Trust.

Thordarson Boathouse: Serving as the entrance to Rock Island State Park, the Thordarson boathouse was the creation of Chicago inventor Chester Thordarson in 1910 and now remains as one of the most iconic places in the county.

The Farm: This living history of rural America is the perfect place for the family. Featuring the agricultural history of the region, it also offers nature trails and bottles to feed baby goats.


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