“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Historic Sturgeon Bay

Downtown Historic District

Historic Sturgeon Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, September 17, 2008
1. Historic Sturgeon Bay Marker
Inscription.  The Downtown Historic District includes over forty late 19th and early 20th century commercial, civic and converted buildings. It is located along the three block long heart of Sturgeon Bay's traditional downtown. The District grew as a casual grid of stump studded streets on the higher land above the bay for which the city was named. A formal plat of the District was not prepared until 1855.

The District was the commercial "crossroads" of Sturgeon Bay since the city's founding. It was the most logical place for shops, saloons, banks and offices to serve the growing community. The District developed at a narrow point of the bay, which helped ease crossing, yet was located far enough inland to accommodate the growing lumber mills and shipyards on the waterfront. It developed along the major road called Cedar Street (now Third Avenue) that served the entire east shore area.

A major fire in 1880 consumed twelve downtown buildings including the village hall and firehouse. This sparked the architectural tradition of brick and stone in evidence today. This period was also the heyday of prosperity and commercial development caused
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by the completion of the Sturgeon Bay-Lake Michigan Canal. The canal cut 100 miles of treacherous waters from the Green Bay to Chicago journey. Sturgeon Bay became an important port city and eventually attracted the sizable maritime industry which is present today.

The older buildings which comprise the Downtown Historic District were designed in a variety of local interpretations of the Italianate, Queen Anne and Classical Revival styles that were in vogue during the District's primary period of development – 1880 through 1910. The frequent use of locally quarried gray limestone is of particular interest. The District continues to reflect a strong turn of the century architectural character and tradition.

The Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington DC in 1983.


Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1855.
Location. 44° 50.164′ N, 87° 22.666′ W. Marker is in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in Door County. Marker is at the intersection of North 3rd Avenue and Kentucky Street on North 3rd Avenue. Marker is at the northeast corner of the intersection. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sturgeon Bay WI 54235, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of
Historic Sturgeon Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Keith L, September 17, 2008
2. Historic Sturgeon Bay Marker
Marker is to the left of the bell tower.
this marker. ‘Old Bell’ Tower (here, next to this marker); Hay Hardware (within shouting distance of this marker); 110-114 North 3rd Avenue (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Merchants Exchange Bank (about 700 feet away); Public Library (about 700 feet away); Masonic Temple (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sturgeon Bay Bridge (approx. half a mile away); Propellers from the tug John Purves (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sturgeon Bay.
Clock Tower image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Robert L Weber, June 13, 2011
3. Clock Tower
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on January 25, 2010, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,302 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 25, 2010, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   3. submitted on June 13, 2011, by Bob (peach) Weber of Dewey, Arizona. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 20, 2024