Sturgeon Bay Historical Society formed and submits nomination for Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator

On October 27, 2016, members of the executive committee of a new nonprofit announced news of incorporation. Committee members Kelly Catarozoli, Hans Christian, Shawn Fairchild, Ame Thorson, and Christie Weber announced that the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society (SBHS) is in the process of incorporation, at the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront second annual Fall Social. (Two additional founding members, Laura Kayacan and Elaine Carmichael were not present.) According to Fairchild, “There are many organizations devoted to preserving Door County’s history, but none solely focused on Sturgeon Bay. We feel there is a need to support efforts to preserve and celebrate our history, including the preservation and restoration of historic structures.”

Toward that end, the group has submitted a professionally prepared application to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) for designation of the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator located on the westside waterfront. Historic preservation consultant Tim Heggland prepared the application and has successfully submitted over 100 NRHP applications. The application was pre-approved by the State before being submitted to the federal agency. Application materials are available here.

County Historian George Evenson applauded the group’s action. “The grain elevator, which was built in 1902, is a treasure. It’s the last surviving structure that tells the story of our agricultural past.”

Weber noted that SBHS will also seek to have the historic Cardy Paleoindian site on the City’s west side incorporated into the Ice Age Trail that runs just blocks from it. The Cardy site is one of the state’s most significant Ice Age-related sites and is listed on the Wisconsin and National Registers of Historic Places.

-- Laurel Hauser

Added history of former grain elevator within today's Sawyer Park

A local source added to the historical narrative of the Teweles & Brandeis Granary, noting that there were actually four elevators on the Sturgeon Bay waterfront, not three. The fourth, smaller, elevator was part of the Bay View Roller Mill, located where the Sawyer Park launch ramp is now. This elevator was torn down in the 1970’s. The City erected a historical marker that includes this facility as part of the markers within Sawyer Park.

“The Bay View Roller Mill was established in 1885 by Charles Whiteside, L.C. Thorkildson, & A. Shaw on what was then the shore of the bay. In 1899 the adjoining granary on the left was brought to this site by water from Little Sturgeon in the southern part of Door County. The picture (ca. 1920) shows the mill when it was operated by the Bushman Milling Co.  A mainstay of the Sturgeon Bay waterfront during the late 1800’s and first half of the 20th century, the mill buildings were removed after the city acquired the property in 1975 for parkland. They stood in what is now the parking lot for the Sawyer Park Boat Launch.”

This photograph shows a ship unloading at the Bushman Dock (the next dock over from Teweles & Brandeis’ Sawyer Dock). The Teweles & Brandeis elevator is visible in the background. In fact the Lyons Bros. elevator is also shown behind and to right of the Teweles & Brandeis elevator. Estimated circa 1950s.

- added by Nancy Aten from information received from a local source

"Agriculture built this city" (George Evenson)

Community members have met twice and will continue to meet, to discuss the historic value of the Teweles & Brandeis Granary on the westside waterfront and how to best protect it and share its stories. See a wealth of information about our historic granary.

A Vision for the Granary

The mission of the (not yet formed) Historic Granary Collective is to explore and discuss the most appropriate way to honor, protect, preserve and sustain the historic Teweles and Brandeis Granary on Sturgeon Bay’s westside waterfront. As the last remaining waterfront icon to our agrarian past, the Granary embodies the struggles and ingenuity of Door County’s early settlers and represents an important chapter in our history. The Historic Granary Collective will also assess the best ways to communicate and celebrate the legacy and stories of the Granary and the people who relied upon it.

We think you will enjoy reading the stories of the granary, and please let us know if you would like to be involved.

Nancy Aten


Humble Icon of Agricultural History seen as Center of Granary District


Sturgeon Bay -  In response to the City of Sturgeon Bay’s RFP (Request for Proposals), a proposal has been submitted for development on the West Waterfront that envisions a public and private partnership to repurpose the Teweles and Brandeis Granary making it once more an economic and iconic center of Sturgeon Bay. Under the proposal, the repurposed Granary would be a magnet for vibrant community activity (entrepreneurial and recreational) and create a new “Granary District” or “Granary Neighborhood” in Sturgeon Bay’s west side.  

In exploring possible uses for the Granary, the project supporters recognized the need for information from professional and respected architects, developers, artists and builders. Is it feasible to repurpose a 1901 structure built for a specific use? “To answer this question, we began with the belief that sound input from professionals in the field would inform dialogue and might inspire ideas beyond those presented so far. With the help of investors, the project team hired The Kubala Washatko Architects (TKWA), an award-winning firm of Cedarburg, to provide the renderings and Middleton Consulting and Contracting (MCC) to provide cost estimates” said Laurel Hauser, Project Principal.

The other project principal, Dan Collins, offered that “Built elements can positively affect the fabric of a community for generations to come. This proposal tries to offer a contemplative mode of building that respects Sturgeon Bay’s unique history, the laws of the State regarding public trust benefit, and the desires of the Sturgeon Bay community.”

The proposal offers a two-stepped vision, the first step activates the Granary by stabilizing the building, removing all the walls on the ground floor leaving a small “forest” of posts creating public space for picnics, weddings or gathering all with views to the water and the tug boats.  The second step activates the upper portions of the Granary making three floors with small “wood walled” office space made from the grain bins which would be available to incubate artists, non-profits or technology ventures.  The top floor and Granary head house may offer meeting space with a view.  

“Think of an iconic destination in a city or town, it had a strong theme or icon to anchor and identify the neighborhood. Someday you will say, “meet me at the Granary” and it will be this neighborhood between the bridges” said Collins.

A copy of the proposal can be found on the website.  The principals have indicated that collaborators are welcome.   

Media contact:
Laurel Duffin Hauser
Project Principal


Image: The Kubala Washatko Architects for Hauser/Collins

Granary Taking Giant Step Toward Historic Preservation

The application process for listing the Granary on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is taking another giant step forward. Professional Nomination Consultant Tim Heggland has been hired to complete a nomination for submittal to the Division of Historic Preservation. The overall process can take about a year and application does not mean the outcome will be a successful listing on the NRHP; however, Tim has a great track record.

Tim has been active in historic preservation as both a private consultant and as a preservation planner since 1979. During this period he prepared 150+ successful NRHP nominations and 54+ successful Determinations of Eligibility (DOE) throughout Wisconsin. From 1980-1984 and again from 1993-1995, he was also employed as the Assistant Preservation Planner for the City of Madison, Wisconsin and served as the Acting Planner for the City during 1990.

See for the history of the granary.

- Dan Collins

Key Components of Eau Claire's Success: A Report on Center Line Community Forum's April 24 Tour of Eau Claire's Phoenix Park and Downtown Redevelopment

Sturgeon Bay’s newly-formed Center Line Community Forum sponsored a trip last week to tour Eau Claire, WI’s award-winning Phoenix Park and downtown waterfront redevelopment. Center Line’s mission is to strengthen community, encourage civic engagement and explore ways in which smart growth has been successfully implemented in other communities.

A group of eleven interested citizens was greeted by Eau Claire’s City Council President, Kerry Kincaid, and spent three hours touring Phoenix Park and hearing presentations by Eau Claire officials including the Redevelopment Authority Chair, Economic Development Director, City Attorney and Public Works and Parks and Recreation Director. In addition to City representatives, the group heard from developers and staff of companies that have invested heavily in downtown Eau Claire. Finally, the group met the director of the Farmers Market Association, a citizen group working in partnership with the City.

In recent years, the City of Eau Claire has turned a brownfield site (once home to the Phoenix Steel Company and an Xcel Energy gas plant) into the cornerstone of a vibrant, revitalized downtown that includes the world headquarters of Royal Credit Union, JAMF Software, Riverview Terrace Apartments, Phoenix Park and Farmers Market. Eau Claire recently received the prestigious National Civic League’s All-American City Award, among others, not only for the 50 million dollar valuation they’ve injected into their downtown economy but for the process they used to do it.

The following points summarize key components of Eau Claire’s success.

Community Input: Over the space of 1 – 2 years, Eau Claire held 57 meetings to solicit community input and ensure that proposed changes met with public approval and were in line with the city’s strategic plan and vision. According to City Council President Kerry Kincaid, “It was not without difficulty. It took patience on everyone’s part, but we can now say that we made the right decisions.” She adds, “Our redevelopment is saturated with public input and support.”

Citizen Advocates: A Farmers Market and Labyrinth were on the community’s wish list. The city worked with “citizen advocates” who raised substantial funds to make each happen. The Farmers Market draws up to 7,000 visitors a week to the downtown.

Natural Resources: According to Kincaid, the Eau Claire community cares strongly about its river. “You need to ask yourselves what relationship you want to have with your most important natural resource? That’s where we started. People value the water, and we are working to give the public as much visible and physical access to it as possible.” Eau Claire’s many city parks are connected by over 29 miles of hiking and biking trails, second only in the state to Madison. Eau Claire is actively engaged in extending its already significant public space.

Private/Public Partnership: In reference to the point above, Royal Credit Union (RCU) first intended to build its world headquarters directly on the river. After hearing from the community, they voluntarily moved just off the river, allowing space for Phoenix Park. RCU was founded by a “home town boy,” Charlie Grossklaus, who is emotionally invested in Eau Claire’s success and wanted to do what was best for the community. According to RCU’s Randy Beck, “When we found out people wanted a park, we figured out a way to make that happen. A thriving community is good for business.” RCU and next door neighbor, JAMF Software, now overlook an attractive green space filled with people. Bikers and walkers are visible on the repurposed railway bridge that spans the Chippewa River and JAMF Software has even installed an air pump that’s available to the tubers who float past their office. Eau Claire calls JAMF a “home run” for the city because it is nonpolluting, high growth and pays high wages. JAMF brings energy to the downtown with a young work force that embodies “new urbanism.” JAMF is a dog-friendly office and many of the employees walk or bike to work.

Downtown Residents: Riverview Terrace Apartments built three new structures across from Phoenix Park. The 111 apartment units enjoy a near 100% occupancy rate. (At the time of our meeting, only 2 were vacant.) When asked what part the park and water view played in their decision to invest, developer Stuart Shaefer said, “It was all about the park. People want to live near the park.”

TIF Districts: Phoenix Park was funded, in part, by tax incremental financing (TIF). Eau Claire has had ten tax incremental districts (TIDs) and has successfully completed five. Steve Nick, City Attorney, stressed the need to make sure development is consistent with city goals, to do background checks on developers and, if possible, to get developers’ lenders to the table. He and other city officials emphasized the need for a good fit and asked “Who are you going to sell your valuable land to?”

By all accounts, Eau Claire’s hard work has paid off. On the day of Center Line’s visit, school children laughed and chased each other over the boulders that line the river’s shoreline. Walkers and bikers were out en masse enjoying the views at the confluence of the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers. Shiny, attractive-side and street-level retail establishments serviced the people who live and work in the area.

For all their success, Nick acknowledges that there have been some detractors. “There will always be some. It means you’re making things happen. When nothing was happening, no one was protesting the brownfield. But, if you’re doing what the community wants, the detractors will be a minority. There will be many more supporters.” His thoughts echoed those of Council President Kincaid: “Encourage civic engagement, let the natural beauty of the area speak to you and be patient with each other.”

Center Line thanks the Janning Family, Bob Papke, Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard and Virge Temme for sponsoring the Eau Claire Tour.

- Laurel Hauser

A Tour of the City of Eau Claire's Phoenix Park

Center Line Community Forum presents…
A Tour of the City of Eau Claire’s Phoenix Park
Friday, April 24, 2015 (Please register by Friday, April 17th - details here)

Fellow Wisconsin community Eau Claire is receiving national attention for the design and process used in redeveloping its waterfront and downtown. Eau Claire was recently awarded the National Civic League’s All-America City Award for “innovation, inclusiveness, civic engagement, and cross-sector collaboration.” It was also awarded a General Design Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Park Design Award of Excellence from the Wisconsin Park and Recreation Association.

Eau Claire’s redevelopment project centers around Phoenix Park and the North Barstow/Phoenix Park Neighborhood. Phoenix Park is a 6-acre public park and former brownfield site that sits at the confluence of Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers. It offers a walking labyrinth, a natural amphitheater, and a year-round farmer's market. The park is owned and operated by the City of Eau Claire.

The Phoenix Park Neighborhood is a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly area with buildings designed to echo downtown Eau Claire’s architecture. Retail shops occupy the main buildings’ ground floors and offices and loft apartments occupy the floors above. Community forums and resident input were key factors in Eau Claire’s process. Before the first residential buildings were open, there was a waiting list of 70.

Phoenix Park sits on the site vacated by the Phoenix Steel Company. The site was vacated in 1971 and leased for warehousing and storage. In 1981, the city of Eau Claire took ownership of the tax-delinquent site. The Wisconsin DNR worked jointly with the city to remove soil contamination from almost a century of industrial operations. Phoenix Park and other related projects have been funded through a mix of federal funding, community development funds, private contributions, non-profit contributions and Tax Incremental Financing.

Center Line Community Forum, a group committed to strengthening community, encouraging civic engagement and formulating vision for smart growth, is offering a trip to Eau Claire on Friday, April 24. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and ask questions of Eau Claire’s Economic Development Director Mike Schatz. Mr. Schatz, who has been with the City of Eau Claire for over 30 years, also serves as the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority and the Executive Director of the non-profit group, Downtown Eau Claire. He will share their project’s successes and lessons learned along the way. In addition to the presentation by Mr. Schatz, participants will tour Phoenix Park and meet with representatives of the year-round farmer’s market.   

Space is limited. Please register by Friday, April 17.  For details, including how to register, see our Tour Details.

Anyone interested in Sturgeon Bay’s future and wishing to better educate themselves on redevelopment issues is encouraged to attend!

- Laurel Hauser

The Idea of a Community Forum

Center Line Community Forum is a new initiative designed to offer the Sturgeon Bay and greater Door County community access to local, regional and national speakers on topics related to strengthening community, encouraging civic engagement and formulating a vision for smart growth. Speakers will share creative ideas that have been successfully implemented in other locales. According to Charolette Baierl, co-chair of Center Line, “Our goal is to celebrate our unique identity and explore ways we can proactively embrace the opportunities and challenges of the future. It is meant to spark ideas and generate discussion.” Co-chair, Kelly Avenson, agrees. “Amidst the turmoil over recent action on our westside waterfront, we’ve seen a number of positive things occur. We want the positive momentum to continue.”

Center Line’s first offering is a bus trip to visit Eau Claire’s award-winning Phoenix Park downtown redevelopment effort and meet with Economic Development Director Mike Schatz on Friday, April 24. Future events being planned address the topics of Young Entrepreneurs and Repurposing of Historic Structures among others.

Center Line is offered in partnership with the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC). Bill Chaudoir, Executive Director of DCEDC, applauds the group’s mission. “We have a great community here, but we should all strive to make it even better.  I look forward to learning more from some of the best.”

Artists Jeremy Popelka and Stephanie Trenchard are business owners in downtown Sturgeon Bay and helped formulate Center Line Community Forum’s name and logo. Popelka explains, “Center line is a nautical term, which is fitting for Door County. It’s the imaginary line that runs down the middle of a ship and it’s the most stable point. It’s where the most valuable cargo would be stored. If you lean too far away from that center line, you put the ship at risk.” Popelka designed a logo that’s suggestive of the east and west downtown Sturgeon Bay shorelines connected by two bridges. “We’ve got really powerful images to work with here in Sturgeon Bay.”

Center Line is co-chaired by Kelly Avenson, Charolette Baierl and Laurel Hauser. Steering Committee members include Nancy Aten, Bret Bicoy, Laurel Brooks, Rob Burke, Bill Chaudoir, Dan Collins, Heidi Hodges, Caitlin Oleson, Jeremy Popelka, Shirley Senarighi, Virge Temme and Stephanie Trenchard. Tax-deductible contributions to Center Line’s Speakers Fund may be sent to Center Line, c/o DCEDC, 185 E. Walnut St, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.

- Laurel Hauser