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Rock Island: Door County, Wisconsin’s Ghost City

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Rock Island: Door County, Wisconsin’s Ghost Town
Updated on September 26, 2012 Don A. Hoglund moreContact Creator I stone island jeans 28 worked at Rock Island, Illinois but I was unaware of this Rock Island till I ran across it in a book Ghost Towns of Wisconsin, by William E. Stark. For the large part when we think of ghost towns we consider the boomtowns of the gold rush in the western states. Those are the ones which can be promoted probably the most, however there are ghost towns all through the country.

Wisconsin’s Door County as described by Stark is a”…rugged seventy-mile lengthy 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 turn is a forty-minute ferry ride from the tip of the Door County peninsula.

Like most issues, geography has much to do with the historical past of this island, which is now a state park. Stark’s e-book describes it as “..an vital stepping stone between Mackinac, Green Bay and the areas south and west.”

Moon Wisconsin’s Door County (Journey Guide) 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 constructed a palisade village, that’s, a village surrounded by stakes driven into the bottom for defense.

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

From the 1830’s until the 1860’s a hundred folks of so lived right here, but before these white fishing villagers there was population on Rock Island. Frenchman Jean Nicolet went to Canada in 1618 and became 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 is unknown whether or not he truly visited Rock Island however he was actually near it.

In August of that yr he, along 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 while their ship, which was the first on the nice Lakes, was lost. In recent years wooden plank from the original Potawatomi palisade and a few buttons from a French officer’s army greatcoat and British clay pipes have been discovered in recent times.

Because the fur trade became much less important in Wisconsin within the nineteenth Century the French have been now not there and after the War of 1812 the British left as effectively. There was still an Indian village on the island in the primary a part of the nineteenth century but not many whites visited or lived on the island. Stone Island Jackets In 1830 the territory had a population 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 Great Lakes petitioned the United States Congress for a lighthouse on the Isle of Pou or Pottawattamine Island (names for what is now often called Rock Island) on the entrance of Inexperienced Bay in Lake Michigan.

A government crew got here to the island 4 years later and built a forty-foot mild tower. A house for the keeper was built as nicely. It was the first lighthouse in Wisconsin. It was 1836 and Wisconsin became 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 have been principally fisherman and some trappers. Aside from Green Bay it was the first settlement in northeastern Wisconsin.

Tensions and decision
In response to stark in his book, the whites and Indians were getting along Ok if not shut. Then a near outbreak of hostilities occurred over a children’s squabble.

Some Indian boys have been teasing the son of a widowed nurse about having to peel potatoes. The boy became annoyed on the Indian boys exterior his window and threw a potato at them. As the potato flew by means of the glass window glass splinters caught the seven-yr-previous son of a chief in the eyes.

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

Decline of Rock Island
The island was declining in mid-century. The principle components of Door County have been starting to be more populated. There was a lack of fine harbors and isolation tended to make life on the island much less enticing and regularly the settlers went to Washington Island or the mainland.

In 1863 a log schoolhouse was built nevertheless it was a bit late as there have been only seven families left on the Island withthat had school age youngsters. The chief of the neighborhood, John Boon, died and the final of the resident fishermen left the island in 1890. For the subsequent decade only the lighthouse keeper was a everlasting resident.

Chester Thordarson
An inventor and manufacturer Thordarson and his spouse 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 purchased all of Rock Island aside from the lighthouse reservation. It was 1910 and so they bought about eighty acres for somewhat over $5000.

He had an outdated body house rebuilt within the fishing village, which was now deserted. He additionally had a stone water tower constructed. A boathouse and nice corridor value a quarter or one million dollars and resembles an historic Viking corridor. Twenty masons took three years to construct it.

Several stone cottages and a lodge constructed of logs have been additionally constructed. Thordarson entertained quite a few celebrities on the island.

The College of Wisconsin, in 1929, awarded him an honorary diploma 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 obtainable however the park is primitive. There are no amenities on the campground corresponding to showers, flush toilets or stores. No autos are allowed so campers should carry their gear about 1/3 mile to the campground from the boathouse landing. Flush toilets can be found at the state park places of work at Jackson Harbor.

Convey your individual water, food, ice and anything you need. Campfire wood could be bought from the park.

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

Enable time. It’s a two-hour drive from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Except you may have your personal boat the one method to get there is on the Washington Island Ferry Line.

Rock Island, WI – Rock Island, Washington, WI, USA get instructions
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sendingAuthorDon A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids
anniebetty, thanks for including your details about Rock Island, Wisconsin. The title attracted my attention because I used to work at Rock Island, Illinois. I hope you proceed to enjoy the island.

anniebetty 4 years ago from Pennsylvania
We spend all of July on Washington Island, Wisconsin, every year and have spent countless hours on Rock Island. It is funny, I’ve by no means thought-about it a ghost town, however I discover your HUB attention-grabbing. We largely hike on Rock Island, but we now have additionally spent fantastic time on the sandy seashore. Sadly, lake ranges are so low now that one can just about walk to Rock Island. We have been in a position to take our little fishing boat over final July, but I’m unsure what this July will convey. Anyway, thanks for this nicely organized, acurate and informative HUB!

Ghost towns, I think, reflect one thing of the tradition and historical past of a location. As such, they might differ in places.Typically they have been short-term to start with, akin to mining towns. Thanks to your comment.

Anaya M. Baker 5 years ago from North Carolina
Fascinating historical past! I used to be in a position to go to a ghost town in New Mexico just a few months in the past, which was fairly an attention-grabbing expertise, although most likely fairly different from the town you describe!

cabmgmnt, thanks for reading my hub and commenting. There are lots of fascinating issues in our past.
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 mother serving to the Indian boy. charming hub!

AuthorDon A. Hoglund 5 years in the past from Wisconsin Rapids
Hello Peggy,

Thanks for coming again and sharing.
Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hello Don,
Got here again in order that I might hit the SHARE with my followers in order that extra people can study of this island by your writing.

beckyz,
I am glad I may offer you some info you did not have.Wisconsin is my adopted state although I have lived most of my life in neighboring states.

toddwertz,
Thanks for the comment.Sorry I didn’t answer sooner but I missed the notification. I’m glad you loved the hub.

beckyz 6 years ago
Thanks for the fascinating history lesson. I’ve worked as a volunteer tour information on the Pottawatomie lighthouse on Rock Island, which was rebuilt in 1858. It is good to have extra info about the Indians and the fishing village. I’m conscious that some lighthouse keeper’s wives taught school on the lighthouse, however hadn’t heard a couple of log schoolhouse on the island. Thanks once more for an fascinating article.

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

I heard about Rock Island. It was from a ebook that i learn or a movie that i noticed. The place must be very lovely. Thanks for sharing about this Island.

Glad you loved it.Thanks for commenting.
toddwertz 6 years in the past

I’m actually loved this hub, thanks for sharing “dahoglund”
Door county is a very fashionable place for guests. I think you’ll enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

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

I’ve even been in door county many instances without realizing Rock Island was there.Having worked on another Rock Island for many years I felt compelled to write about it. Thanks for studying it, kittythederamer.

Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether
Wow, I had no concept this place even existed! It seems like a beautiful place to visit. Voted up and beautiful, dahoglund!

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

so much to learn so much to see if one can. thanks for showing all this to us who can’t. 🙂 hugs to you and yours 🙂

That’s right.Since a person needs time to look around it’s best to go early.Thanks for additional commenting.

Sure, I’d think about so just because it is an island and possibly the scheduling back and forth isn’t that frequent…or is already fully booked.

Ironically we have now been up in that space more than as soon as however time factors didn’t lend themselves to going that far. It does take some scheduling.Thanks for commenting and voting.

Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas
What a beautiful review concerning the history of Rock Island in Wisconsin. Could be an excellent place to go to sometime. Voted helpful and up. Thanks!

I recognize the comment.I’m glad you loved it.
prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

This was so stunning hub. I love something about beautiful place. You describe this well and also you make it intimately. Full with the historical past. I got new information from this hub. Thanks for writing and share with us. You bought my VOTE. God bless you!

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

Thanks for studying and commenting. There may be a difference in terminology between the United States and the UK. Rock Island is a state park as opposed to a nationwide park. It’s the state of Wisconsin that that helps and maintains it.

CASE1WORKER 6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Garment-Dyed Cotton Effect Bermuda Shorts In Blue

sounds a tremendous place- in fact there are uninhabited islands in Scotland, but for this for use as a nationwide park is great, especially with entry by boat.

Thanks for an illuminating historical past and outline of the island

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