Door County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin.
Door County courthouse
As of 2000, the population was 27,961.
county seat is Sturgeon
Door County is a popular vacation and
tourist destination, especially for residents of eastern Wisconsin,
Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and northern Illinois.
is named after the strait between the
Door Peninsula and Washington
The dangerous passage, which is now
scattered with shipwrecks
, was known to
early French explorers and local Native Americans
of the natural hazards of the strait, they gave it the French
appellation Porte des Morts
, which in English means the "Door to the Way to
Death," or simply, "Death's
The county has a total area of . of it is land and of it (79.63%)
is water. The county also has more than of shoreline, more than
almost any other in the country. This is one of the reasons that
locals and tourists alike refer to the area as the Cape Cod of
. The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula
. With the completion of the
Sturgeon Bay Shipping
in 1881, the northern half of the peninsula, in
actuality, became an island. Limestone outcroppings, part of the Niagara Escarpment, are visible on both
shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the
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
middle of the peninsula is mostly flat or rolling cultivated land.
Soils overlaying the dolomite
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
Image:DoorCountySign.jpg|Door County Sign on Highway
57Image:CavePointPark.jpg|Cave Point County ParkImage:NiagaraEscarpmentOutcroppings
LakeMichiganShore.jpg|Outcroppings at Newport State Park approximately from Lake Michigan
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
The 1700s and 1800s saw the immigration and settlement of pioneers,
mariners, fishermen and farmers. Economic sustenance came from
lumbering and tourism.
During the 1800s, 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.
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
in 1964, and opened to the public.
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Door
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
, and 0.69%
from two or more races. 0.95% of the population were Hispanic
of any race. 39.4% were of
German and 10.3% Belgian ancestry according to Census
2000. 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.
Door County Fairgrounds
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 cold gives
way to a brief but comfortable summer.
Fish Boil platter
Many businesses are
specifically targeted to visitors, and close during the "off
season". Throughout 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, and the Twin Cities.
The area is known as "the Cape Cod of the
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 "five jewels in the crown". They offer visitors
recreational opportunities that include hiking, camping, swimming,
fishing, and snowmobiling.
Door County has 12 lighthouses. Most were built during the 1800s 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:
Harbor Lighthouse, Boyer Bluff
Light, Sherwood Point Lighthouse, and the Sturgeon
Bay Canal North Pierhead Light.
, offered at many Door County
restaurants, are a popular meal for tourists. Potatoes, onions and
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. 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
1800s. Soil and weather conditions - warm days and
cool nights - influenced by Lake Michigan and Green Bay have created an ideal environment for growing these
Today with around of cherry orchards and
another of apple orchards, Door County is filled with blossoms in
the spring and is richly decorated with the fruits in the late
summer and fall. Montmorency
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.
through mid-October. Cherry and apple stands can be found along
many of Door County's country roads when in season. Door County has
and one microbrewery
City, villages, and towns
Door County, Wisconsin from the 1895 U.S.
- "POW Camps in the USA"
- Apple & Cherry Orchards: Door County
"Door County Wisconsin Wineries & Breweries"