(November 10th: Please visit this page for updated information on Saving the Granary)
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society (SBHS) is pleased to announce that a donor family has committed $1,250,000 toward the repair, restoration and future maintenance of the historic 1901 Teweles & Brandeis grain elevator, situated on the City of Sturgeon Bay’s westside waterfront, for public benefit.
The $1,250,000 commitment, facilitated by the Door County Community Foundation, stipulates that the City of Sturgeon Bay, owner of the property, and SBHS work in collaboration on future plans for the structure. It also stipulates that a portion of the gift be set aside in an endowment for the granary’s ongoing care.
In early 2017, SBHS submitted an application to the Wisconsin Historical Society to have the granary listed on the Wisconsin Registry of Historic Places. In August of 2017, the listing was made official at a ceremony in Madison. The granary is expected to be added to the National Registry of Historic Places within the coming weeks.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, “The Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator is an excellent, highly intact example of a grain processing and storage building of a type that was once frequently encountered in communities in Wisconsin and in many other Midwestern states….It is now the only surviving historic resource in the city that can attest to the city’s historically important role in agriculture production in Door County.”
In 2013, the City of Sturgeon Bay hired the Minneapolis-based engineering firm Meyer Borgman Johnson (MBJ) to conduct an extensive analysis of the structure’s suitability for reuse. The firm concluded that, “the existing elevator is in generally good condition and retains sufficient capacity to support this intended use, with some modifications.”
SBHS has offered to fund a follow-up analysis by MBJ to determine if its 2013 findings remain relevant. SBHS is committed to public safety and to procuring the data necessary to do a full assessment of the structure’s soundness.
SBHS looks forward to working with the City of Sturgeon Bay and the greater community. “Our goal,” states SBHS president, Christie Weber, “is to stabilize and restore the grain elevator so that it can continue to tell the story of Sturgeon Bay and Door County’s agricultural past. Exactly how that happens will depend on a lot of community input. We have a talented community and a talented City staff. We hope that the details will be worked out in the coming months, but we’re thrilled that this generous gift ensures that, no matter what else happens with the surrounding property, the grain elevator will remain an iconic structure on the westside waterfront and a symbol of this community’s commitment to its history.” SBHS is open to partnering with other entities in developing the grain elevator’s future.
Sturgeon Bay’s Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2010, states, “Cultural resources... provide the City of Sturgeon Bay with a sense of heritage, identity, and civic pride…and can also provide economic development opportunities for the City and its residents.”
SBHS will be asking the Door County community to contribute additional funds as the restoration project proceeds. Weber notes that, “In addition to dollars and ideas, we are interested in any stories and photographs people have related to the grain elevator.” For more information, and to make a pledge of support to SBHS and the granary, please visit: www.centerlineforum.org/historic-granary.
The mission of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is to preserve Sturgeon Bay’s living history, which defines our community character and our cultural evolution, for future generations.
Read the Door County Community Foundation's letter to the City.