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The Stavkirke

Step onto the Stavkirke property and be transported to a simpler and more pastoral time. Walk over the bridge, through the woods, and into the clearing to find yourself aside a peaceful medieval stave church. But the Stavkirke is more than a beautifully designed and expertly crafted Norwegian church in the woods of Washington Island. It’s a tribute to a people, to a heritage, to a way of life that, though waning in the modern age, persists in small pockets all across rural America. You just have to know where to look—whether in the culinary traditions and cultural celebrations, in the surnames and place-names, or in the slightly out-of-the-way temples in the woods.

Wooden building in a clearing of trees

The Stavkirke is located on Washington Island in a beautiful forest setting with abundant trees and wildflowers and a short walking trail.

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The structure is based on drawings of one built in Borgund, Norway in 1150 AD.

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The Stavkirke was built throughout the late 1980s and finished in 1995 by a local pastor who wanted to honor Washington Island's Scandinavian heritage.

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The medieval look of the church is thanks to its mostly wood and stone construction and intricate carvings and accents. The interior has a strong and pleasing aroma of fresh wood.

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'Stavkirke' translates to "Church of Staves" in Norwegian.

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Two hands presenting a plate of food

The Lawyer You'll Love

You've likely tried cod, perch, whitefish, bluegill, or even smelt. But have you tried deep-fried lawyer on a Friday night? It's favorite on Washington Island.

Birds in the Trees

The woods that surround the Stavkirke are filled with the trees, plants, birds, and wildlife of Washington Island.

Small white stone chapel

Explore these Humbler Houses of Worship

Belgian chapels are a fairly common sight on the side of the road in Door County. Now protected monuments to past religious traditions, many can be visited and experienced in person.