Jul 25, 2019
Come see how accidental tourism growth in a tiny lumbering community built Fish Creek.
Door County is a great place to find amazing food, outdoor activities and fun shops, but when you visit Fish Creek, you get a little something special – a glimpse into bygone era!
Fish Creek’s historic structures reflect the character and lifestyle of its pioneers. From the logs used to build one of our founder’s cabins, to the carefully gathered stones on the walls of the Stenzel gas station, it truly is ‘Charming, Artistic, Timeless. Fish Creek originally became a regular stopping place for steamboats and slowly grew during the 19th Century. Our historic buildings were built in the 1860’s through the turn of the century, with the center of our village featuring more than 20 buildings that harken back to our colorful heritage.
Our early tourist business was the result of accidental growth. Large homes with a bedroom to spare became rooming houses for overnight guests. Several buildings downtown are still from the original resort town, including Whistling Swan, the White Gull Inn, several cottages near the end of Main Street, Founder’s Square, Juniper's, The Noble House, Thorp House Inn, two general stores, the Lundberg Stores and The Hill Store. Some of the original buildings are still owned by descendants of the original settlers.
The Alexander Noble House is an authentic example of a Greek Revival farmhouse. There are tours of the 10-room house, which show you what domestic life was like in Door County at the turn of the century.
There are several other guided tours that can take you through some of our beautiful history as well.
The Gibraltar Historical Association offers both museum and walking tours to learn about our history. The museum tours are at the Alexander Noble House. The walking tours begin at the Alexander Noble House and take you past many of the historic structures throughout Fish Creek.
There are also self-guided audio tours available. All you have to do is stop by the Alexander Noble House Museum or the Fish Creek Information Center to get your copy of the self-guided walking tour, which is a card with the tile numbers, building names and addresses, along with a map of locations and history of more than 20 of our historic buildings. When you see a blue tile number on a Fish Creek building, all you have to do is call 920-365-3711 and then enter the tile number followed by the “#” key for the information.
Another historic place you won't want to miss is Fish Creek's Eagle Bluff Lighthouse. Situated on a bluff overlooking Green Bay, the lighthouse was constructed for $12,000 in the midst of the growing demand for navigational aids and was officially operational on October 15, 1868. In addition to Cream City brick shipped from Milwaukee, materials and supplies arrived by water from Chicago and Detroit.
The Eagle Bluff Light Station is open for tours seasonally from May 17 through October 18, 2019. The light station is open during the season from 10:00 am – 3:30 pm; tours are available on the hour and half-hours. The last tour begins at 3:30 pm. Please call (920) 421-3636 to check for open tour slots or to make a reservation.
The Door County Maritime Museum also hosts a Lighthouse Festival twice a year that features land-based, boat, and adventure tours that bring you to the 11 treasured lighthouses of Door County. Many of the tours are unique to the Lighthouse Festival weekends and give visitors exclusive access to several lighthouses not typically open to the public.
Come visit us and discover the tiny lumbering and fishing port that became a popular boom-town resort community now known as Fish Creek.