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Rock Island: Door County, Wisconsin’s Ghost Town

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Rock Island: Door County, Wisconsin’s Ghost City
Up to date on September 26, 2012 Don A. Hoglund moreContact Author I labored at Rock Island, Illinois but I used to be unaware of this Rock Island till I ran throughout it in a e-book Ghost Towns of Wisconsin, by William E. Stark. For the large part once we think of ghost towns we consider the boomtowns of the gold rush within the western states. Those are the ones which are promoted the most, however there are ghost towns all through the nation.

Wisconsin’s Door County as described by Stark is a”…rugged seventy-mile long peninsula which juts into the cold waters of Lake Michigan.” Rock Island is a half-mile from the north shore of Washington Island, which in flip is a forty-minute ferry experience from the tip of the Door County peninsula.

Like most issues, geography has a lot to do with the historical past of this island, which is now a state park. Stark’s guide describes it as “ important stepping stone between Mackinac, Inexperienced Bay and the areas south and west.”

Moon Wisconsin’s Door County (Journey Information) Purchase Now Rock Island Origins
Archeological findings show that Indians lived on Rock Island as early as 600 B.C. In the mid-1600’s Indians from the Huron tribe or Ontario came to the island and settledthere. Aboutfifty years later the Potawatomi dominated the island and built a palisade village, that is, a village surrounded by stakes pushed into the ground for defense.

Explorers and missionaries from Europe used it as a cease alongside the Grand Traverse route, which was between Upper Michigan and Wisconsin. The first everlasting European settlement in the Door Peninsula was small fishing village on the japanese shore of the island. These settlers later moved to nearby Washington Island and abandoned the original village. There are nonetheless some grave markers of a few of the unique settlers and Lilac bushes planted by the original settlers still bloom near what remains of the previous properties.

From the 1830’s till the 1860’s 100 individuals of so lived here, but before these white fishing villagers there was population on Rock Island. Frenchman Jean Nicolet went to Canada in 1618 and turned an Indian interpreter beneath Samuel de Champlain. He was commissioned by the French authorities to discover the west in 1634 when he was thirty-six years previous. It’s unknown whether or not he really visited Rock Island but he was certainly close to it.

In August of that 12 months he, together with a number of Indians, left Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay in a canoe. They passed and possibly stopped at Rock Island on the solution to Green Bay they landed about ten miles north of the current metropolis of Green Bay.

There are both archeological and documentary indications that French explorer Cavalier de La Salle’s males spent the winter of 1678 there whereas their ship, which was the primary on the good Lakes, was lost. In recent years wood plank from the original Potawatomi palisade and a few buttons from a French officer’s military greatcoat and British clay pipes have been found stone island liquid reflective jacket green in recent years.

As the fur commerce grew to become less vital in Wisconsin within the 19th Century the French had been no longer there and after the Struggle of 1812 the British left as properly. There was nonetheless an Indian village on the island in the first part of the nineteenth century however not many whites visited or lived on the island. In 1830 the territory had a inhabitants of about forty,000 Indians and about three,000 whites.

Ships, lighthouse and commerce on the great Lakes
By 1832 thirty different house owners and captains of vessels on the northern Nice Lakes petitioned the United States Congress for a lighthouse on the Isle of Pou or Pottawattamine Island (names for what is now often known as Rock Island) on the entrance of Inexperienced Bay in Lake Michigan.

A government crew came to the island 4 years later and constructed a forty-foot mild tower. A home for the keeper was constructed as properly. It was the first lighthouse in Wisconsin. It was 1836 and Wisconsin turned Wisconsin Territory.

When the primary census was taken the one white residents of Rock Island had been Louis Labute and his wife. With the completion of the lighthouse some summer time residents settled there permanently. They were principally fisherman and a few trappers. Apart from Green Bay it was the primary settlement in northeastern Wisconsin.

Tensions and decision
Based on stark in his ebook, the whites and Indians have been getting alongside Ok if not shut. Then a near outbreak of hostilities occurred over a children’s squabble.

Some Indian boys had been teasing the son of a widowed nurse about having to peel potatoes. The boy turned annoyed on the Indian boys outside his window and threw a potato at them. Because the potato flew by way of the glass window glass splinters caught the seven-yr-old son of a chief in the eyes.

A pacesetter of the colony took the mother of the boy who threw the potato to visit the Indian chief. He explained to the chief what had happened. The nurse mother helped the Indian boy to relieve pain. The Indian boy did lose sight in that one eye, but a severe confrontation was prevented. Relations between the Whites and the Indians really improved after the incident

Decline of Rock Island
The island was declining in mid-century. The primary components of Door County were starting to be more populated. There was a lack of good harbors and isolation tended to make life on the island less attractive and progressively the settlers went to Washington Island or the mainland.

In 1863 a log schoolhouse was constructed but it surely was a bit late as there have been solely seven households left on the Island withthat had school age youngsters. The chief of the group, John Boon, died and the last of the resident fishermen left the island in 1890. For the following decade only the lighthouse keeper was a permanent resident.

Chester Thordarson
An inventor and manufacturer Thordarson and his wife got here to go to the Icelandic colony of Washington Island, as his father had been an immigrant from Iceland. They have been very impressed with the Inexperienced Bay islands and bought all of Rock Island aside from the lighthouse reservation. It was 1910 and they bought about eighty acres for a bit of over $5000.

He had an previous body house rebuilt within the fishing village, which was now deserted. He also had a stone water tower built. A boathouse and great hall value a quarter or one million dollars and resembles an ancient Viking corridor. Twenty masons took three years to construct it.

A number of stone cottages and a lodge constructed of logs have been also constructed. Thordarson entertained quite a lot of celebrities on the island.

The College of Wisconsin, in 1929, awarded him an honorary degree in structure.
Rock Island State Park

The island is now a state park. Vacationers can sightsee, hike on trails, swim or visit the lighthouse and boathouse.

For the extra rugged there may be camping accessible however the park is primitive. There aren’t any services on the campground similar to showers, flush toilets or shops. No autos are allowed so campers should carry their gear about 1/3 mile to the campground from the boathouse touchdown. Flush toilets can be found at the state park workplaces at Jackson Harbor.

Carry your individual water, food, ice and the rest you need. Campfire wood can be bought from the park.

Campsites must be reserved either on-line or by phone. The state park office quantity is 920-847-2235.

Permit time. It’s a two-hour drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Unless you’ve gotten your own boat the one strategy to get there’s on the Washington Island Ferry Line.

Rock Island, WI – Rock Island, Washington, WI, USA get instructions
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sendingAuthorDon A. Hoglund four years ago from Wisconsin Rapids
anniebetty, thanks for including your details about Rock Island, Wisconsin. The identify attracted my consideration because I used to work at Rock Island, Illinois. I hope you continue to enjoy the island.

anniebetty four years ago from Pennsylvania
We spend all of July on Washington Island, Wisconsin, yearly and have spent countless hours on Rock Island. It’s funny, I’ve never thought-about it a ghost city, but I find your HUB interesting. We largely hike on Rock Island, but we’ve got additionally spent fantastic time on the sandy seashore. Sadly, lake levels are so low now that one can pretty much stroll to Rock Island. We have been capable of take our little fishing boat over final July, however I am undecided what this July will bring. Anyway, thanks for this well organized, acurate and informative HUB!

Ghost towns, I feel, mirror one thing of the culture and history of a location. As such, they would differ in places.Usually they have been non permanent to begin with, such as mining towns. Thanks to your remark.

Anaya M. Baker 5 years in the past from North Carolina
Fascinating history! I was ready to visit a ghost town in New Mexico a couple of months in the past, which was fairly an attention-grabbing experience, though most likely quite totally different from the city you describe!

cabmgmnt, thanks for reading my hub and commenting. There are many attention-grabbing issues in our previous.
Corey 5 years in the past from Northfield, MA

Very informatiove hub. I loved the tid bit about the boy throwing the potato out the window and his mom serving to the Indian boy. charming hub!

AuthorDon A. Hoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids
Hello Peggy,

Thanks for coming again and sharing.
Peggy Woods 5 years in the past from Houston, Texas

Got here again in order that I could hit the SHARE with my followers so that extra people can be taught of this island by your writing.

I am glad I may give you some information you didn’t have.Wisconsin is my adopted state though I have lived most of my life in neighboring states.

Thank you for the comment.Sorry I did not answer sooner however I missed the notification. I am glad you loved the hub.

beckyz 6 years in the past
Thanks for the attention-grabbing history lesson. I have worked as a volunteer tour information at the Pottawatomie lighthouse on Rock Island, which was rebuilt in 1858. It is good to have extra data about the Indians and the fishing village. I’m conscious that some lighthouse keeper’s wives taught faculty on the lighthouse, however hadn’t heard a couple of log schoolhouse on the island. Thanks again for an interesting article.

Door county is a popular place in Wisconsin for guests.Thanks for commenting.
Carolina 6 years ago from Switzerland

I heard about Rock Island. It was from a book that i learn or a film that i noticed. The place have to be very lovely. Thanks for sharing about this Island.

Glad you enjoyed it.Thanks for commenting.
toddwertz 6 years ago

I am actually loved this hub, thanks for sharing “dahoglund”
Door county is a very popular place for guests. I believe you’d take pleasure in it. Thanks for commenting.

sharmanlow 6 years ago
oh, i would like to go to rock island.

I’ve even been in door county many occasions with out realizing Rock Island was there.Having labored on another Rock Island for many years I felt compelled to put in writing about it. Thanks for studying it, kittythederamer.

Nicole Canfield 6 years in the past from the Ether
Wow, I had no idea this place even existed! It seems like a stupendous place to visit. Voted up and lovely, dahoglund!

Thanks for taking the time to learn it and remark.
Sa`ge 6 years in the past from Barefoot Island

a lot to be taught so much to see if one can. thank you for showing all this to us who cannot. 🙂 hugs to you and yours 🙂

That’s proper.Since an individual needs time to look around it is best to go early.Thanks for further commenting.

Yes, I’d imagine so just because it’s an island and doubtless the scheduling back and forth isn’t that frequent…or is already absolutely booked.

Ironically we’ve got been up in that area more than once but time elements did not lend themselves to going that far. It does take some scheduling.Thanks for commenting and voting.

Peggy Woods 6 years in the past from Houston, Texas
What a beautiful evaluation concerning the historical past of Rock Island in Wisconsin. Could be an awesome place to go to someday. Voted useful and up. Thanks!

I respect the remark.I am glad you enjoyed it.
prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

This was so stunning hub. I like one thing about lovely place. You describe this effectively and you make it intimately. Complete with the history. I received new information from this hub. Thanks for writing and share with us. You got my VOTE. God bless you!

AuthorDon A. Hoglund 6 years in the past from Wisconsin Rapids

Thanks for studying and commenting. There could also be a distinction in terminology between the United States and the UK. Rock Island is a state park versus a nationwide park. It is the state of Wisconsin that that supports and maintains it.

CASE1WORKER 6 years in the past from UNITED KINGDOM
sounds a tremendous place- of course there are uninhabited islands in Scotland, however for this to be used as a national park is great, especially with access by boat.

Thanks for an illuminating historical past and outline of the island

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