Sturgeon Bay Sidewalk Stones Tour

Sturgeon Bay’s old wooden sidewalks were replaced by concrete shortly after 1900. F. B. Palmer, with partner Mr. Rothe, did many of them and placed his brass plaque on the concrete. The stones at the corners were incised with the street names at that intersection. Some business people also marked their business location or home with their own names. By 1943, the city had grown, especially during the World War II years when Sturgeon Bay was a hub of shipbuilding for the war effort. As the city expanded, street names had been added haphazardly and it was very confusing. Many buildings did not even have house numbers. After a year of discussion, it was decided to change the street names to a consistent alphabetical and numerical format and to use poles with street names on the corners. The old names, however, remained in the concrete until future sidewalk work would cause concrete to be replaced. Now, more are disappearing each year as the utilities do work underneath. The museum staff decided to document as many as possible using photographs while this evidence of the past remains. Since many original historic homes from the early 1900's still stand near the marked corners, some research was done on those too to complete the picture.

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Entries on this tour

Sidewalk Stone #1: J. M. Long, Shoemaker - Home
213 Louisiana Street / 60 N 2nd Avenue John Long (1820-1906) was an early shoemaker in the city of Sturgeon Bay having begun his business in the late 1850s on the corner of Cottage and Main Streets (now Louisiana and Second). As with several other businessmen, he had his name cut into the block in front of his shop. An old photo shows that the house has not changed much since those early days. The one-story addition shown in the older and newer photo, was added sometime after the original building. The name is found on the sidewalk on the Second Avenue side of the structure.
Sidewalk Stone #2: F.J. Stroh, Wallpaper - Home
444 Louisiana Street Frank Stroh (1872-1939) had a painting and decorating business at his home on Cottage Street (now Louisiana). Like several other businessmen he had his name incised on the sidewalk in front of his business between the present 4th and 5th Avenues. In addition to the decorating business, Frank was the Fire Chief for 40 years. In the Door County Historical Museum, you can visit the fire station to see photos of Mr. Stroh, three fire trucks and displays of old firefighting photos and equipment.
Sidewalk Stone #3: Charles Reynolds / Clyde M. Stephenson - Home
462 Louisiana Street This home at the corner of Louisiana & N. 5th (formerly Cottage & Church), was built in 1900 by Charles Reynolds, a lumberman, businessman and dealer in real estate, on the site of a previous house owned by W.L. Damkoehler. It was sold in 1919 to Clyde M. Stephenson, a longtime cashier at the Merchant’s Exchange Bank and later an insurance underwriter. After C. M. Stephenson’s death in 1948, his son, C. M. Jr. and wife ran the business out of the home. Notice the F.J. Stroh house in the background.
Sidewalk Stone #4: Dr Joseph Henry Soper - Home
23 N. 5th Avenue The former home and office of Dr. J. H. Soper at the corner of 5th and Louisiana (formerly Church and Cottage) was built in 1881. Dr. Soper practiced medicine in Sturgeon Bay from 1879-1905. The home was made of “Artificial Stone” or the earliest concrete. Now the office of the Door County Land Trust, former owner Dennis Statz remounted the corner block just inside the present corner stone when it was scheduled to be replaced.
Sidewalk Stone #5: Dr. Albert Chandler - Home - Architect F. D. Crandall
551 Louisiana Street Dr. A. H. Chandler was a dentist in Sturgeon Bay in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His home at the corner of N. Sixth and Louisiana (formerly Sherman and Cottage) was designed by architect F. D. Crandall, who designed many local buildings. Dr. Chandler was well known for his sense of humor, known to play practical jokes and tell tall tales about all his fishing buddies. Occasionally the tables turned and there would be an amusing story about Dr. Chandler in the newspaper. The Chandler name is on the sidewalk on the Louisiana side of the house.
Sidewalk Stone #6: Cochems / Bassett - Home
607 Louisiana Street This home on the corner of Louisiana and N. 6th (formerly Cottage and Sherman) was built in 1890 and was the early home of the Matthias Cochems family. By 1913, their daughter Lillian Cochems and her husband, Clark Bassett resided there. Matthias was the owner of Farmers’ Cheap Cash Store, which opened in 1879. Clark Bassett was the owner of Bassett’s Drugstore from about 1904 to 1950.
Sidewalk Stone #7: Stiles / Spalsbury - Home
613 Louisiana Street This home at the corner of Louisiana and N. 7th (formerly Cottage & Grant) was first built circa 1900 for H. A. Stiles, a Sturgeon Bay druggist. By 1919, it sold to the family of Dr. James A. Spalsbury, dentist, who occupied it until sometime after 1947. Notice the Cochems/Bassett house next door.
Sidewalk Stone #8: Noble-Schultz / Dr. Norden / Draeb - Home
612 Louisiana Street This property on the corner of Louisiana & 7th (formerly Cottage & Grant) was owned in the late 1800s by school teachers, Ula Noble and Louise Schultz. It was rebuilt in 1905 for Dr. H. A. Norden’s family, and by 1928, it belonged to the George Draeb family who lived there for many years. In the late 1960s or early 1970s, it became the parsonage for the First Methodist Church. It is currently a private residence. Recent residents had the corner block moved to the space between the sidewalk and the street in front of their walkway when sidewalks were being replaced.
Sidewalk Stone #9: Lawrence / Palmer / Berg - Home
842 Louisiana Street The house at the corner of Louisiana and N. 9th (formerly Dewey & C) was built for the A.W. Lawrence family circa 1902. After their deaths in 1939, the Don Palmer Sr. family lived there, then pharmacist, Bill Berg’s family for 42 years. Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Palmer were both involved in the horticulture and orchard business. Mr. Berg owned Bassett’s Drug Store after Clark Bassett retired.
Sidewalk Stone #10: Stroh / Baudhuin / Weber - Home
908 Rhode Island This home was built by Joseph Stroh in about 1910 at the corner of Rhode Island and S. 9th(formerly Fourth and C Streets). Mr. Stroh was a longtime building contractor and merchant who also built the Stroh Block at 45 S. 3rd Ave (formerly Cedar St) which still stands with his name on top. Other owners of the home included Sylvan Baudhuin who sold it to Gordon and Grace Weber in 1952. It is still owned by Weber family members.
Sidewalk Stone #11: John Ryan - Home
332 Pennsylvania Street This home, with the same footprint, first appeared on maps by 1898 in the third ward on the corner of Portage and Court Streets (now Pennsylvania and S. 4th). It was owned by the John Ryan family for over 50 years. Mr. Ryan worked as a foreman for several nearby lumber companies.
Sidewalk Stone #12: Peter Leonhardt - Home
222 S. Fourth Avenue According to old maps, this building first appeared at this location between 1919 and 1928. It was likely the large bungalow with a full basement built by John Gabert for Peter Leonhardt in 1924 (Door County Advocate 22 August 1924). Mr. Leonhardt was a representative for the International Harvester Co.
Sidewalk Stone #13: Unknown - Building
Corner Pennsylvania and S. 5th No building seems to have been on the corner lot until 1919 when a small building is shown, possibly a garage (auto), though the two adjacent houses where the parking lot is now were there by 1891, as was the house across Pennsylvania (Portage) that appears to be nearly the same now. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps are a good locator of old buildings as they cover many early years and have details the insurance companies needed to estimate damages after fires occurred.
Sidewalk Stone #14: Thorp / May - Home
130 S 5th Avenue The home on the corner of S. 5th and Oregon (formerly Church and Forest) belonged to Rudolph T. and wife, Nancy Thorp from 1889 to 1918 when John A. May purchased it and moved his family there from the west side of Sturgeon Bay. Mr. Thorp was an early livery man who also ran a stage line between Sturgeon Bay and Menominee MI. Mr. May was a realtor and City Assessor for many years. All stones cannot be saved without breaking although the owner of this home is going to try piecing the broken pieces on top of the home’s side porch in order to preserve some of the history.
Sidewalk Stone #15: Will Reynolds / VanNatta - Home
111 S. Seventh Avenue This home at the present sharp corner of Nebraska and S. 7th near Michigan Street, was built in 1898 for William S. Reynolds, who with his brother, Edward S. started the Reynolds Preserving Company that began with processing peas, then went on to cherries. In 1929, it was purchased by J. A. VanNatta, Superintendant of the local schools. It is currently the Reynolds House Bed & Breakfast.
Sidewalk Stone #16: Unknown - Home
456 Michigan Street - formerly Spruce and Church The brown house near the corner of Michigan and N. 5th, and the one next to it first appeared sometime between 1928 and 1944 (Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps). Not much more has been found about the property, though it is known that until July of 1904 when it burned, the old high school building was still on this spot. The City of Sturgeon Bay then sold the property to blacksmith, Michael Dohearty who died a year later. The space then remained empty until these two homes appeared. The narrow sidewalk near the birch trees at one time led to a trailer house that was parked there during the 1950s.
Sidewalk Stone #17: Lot
841 N 5th Avenue - formerly Church & Bradley This corner (currently N. 5th & Delaware) is a part of a 22 acre section of land that was owned by Zelo “Edward” and his wife Dora M Birmingham in the late 1800s. Ed was a well driller who subdivided the property. This corner lot was first sold to Lyon Brothers & Co. in 1898 who owned it for a short time. They built the grain elevator at the west end of the bridge in 1893, later the Fuller Goodman Grain Elevator and farm produce warehouse. Since then the property has had many owners. It is not known when this or any previous house was built, though Ed Birmingham and family lived somewhere nearby. In the late 1800s, Bradley Street had been Second Street.
Sidewalk Stone #18: St Peter’s Lutheran Parsonage
314 W. Maple This building, now at the corner of Maple & Joliet in West Sturgeon Bay (formerly Maple & Little Sturgeon Road), was built as the St Peter’s Lutheran parsonage in 1896 and enlarged in 1913. In 1929, a cellar was put under the house, and the sunporch was donated. Information taken from History of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church (1891-1966) by Jo Benzow. Maple Street was the only street in the city that retained its old name.
Sidewalk Stone #19: W. Long - Home
15 N 6th Avenue (formerly Sherman Street) The W. Long sidewalk stone is a mystery. Research has found that no person by that name ever lived here. The property and home were owned beginning in 1882 until 1964 by several generations of the Lavassor family. Information from census records and phone books show that Lavassors lived there through the years. J.M. Long, shoemaker, at Station 1 on Louisiana Street had a son, William Long. We don’t know where he lived. Was the stone moved here later and why would it have been moved if no one by the name of W. Long lived there? Perhaps someone rescued it and placed it here to protect it and make us wonder?

This tour was created by Door County Library User on 12/06/18 .

This tour has been taken 54 times within the past year.

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