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Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Sister Bay has gained a reputation for being the food, dining, and beverage hub of the county. Options include supper clubs, pubs and taverns, waterfront dining, seafood, bakeries, pizza, craft beer, breakfast spots, and way, way more.


The 19th and 20th centuries saw the immigration and settlement of pioneers, mariners, fishermen, loggers, and farmers. The first white settler was Increase Claflin.[8] In 1834, a federal government-operated quarry operation at the mouth of Sturgeon Bay shipped its first stone blocks; they were used for a harbor breakwater in Michigan City, Indiana.[9] In 1851, Door County was separated from what had been Brown County.[10] In 1853, Moravians founded Ephraim after Nils Otto Tank resisted attempts at land ownership reform at the old religious colony near Green Bay.[11] An African-American community and congregation worshiping at West Harbor on Washington Island was described in 1854.[12] Also in 1854 the first post office in the county opened, on Washington Island.[13] In 1855, four Irishmen were accidentally left behind by their steamboat, leading to the settlement of what is now Forestville.[14] In the 19th century, a fairly large-scale immigration of Belgian Walloons populated a small region in the southern portion of the county,[15] including the area designated as the Namur Historic District. They built small roadside votive chapels, some still in use today,[16] and brought other traditions over from Europe such as the Kermiss harvest festival.[17]

Shortly after the 1831 Treaty of Washington,[18] the federal government surveyed what is now Door County to determine the value of the timber and to divide up parcels for eventual sale.[19][20] Following the treaty, land in what is now the county was sold or granted to private citizens. Lots from 40 to 320 acres (16 to 129 ha) were sold at 50 cents an acre.[21] From 1841 to 1932, 1,661 land patents were issued to private citizens.[22] Of these, 774 were bounty-land warrants to veterans authorized by the Scrip Warrant Acts of 1842, 1850, 1852, and 1855.[23] The other patents concerned the sale of land: 711 patents were filed under the Land Act of 1820,[24] 139 patents were filed under the Homestead Act of 1862,[25] and 37 patents were filed under the Morrill Act of 1862.[26]

At the time the Homestead Act of 1862 was passed, most of the county's nearly 2,000 farmers were squatters earning most of their revenue from lumber and wood products. The most common product was cordwood; a cord of maple sold for 37 and a half cents. The remaining portion of the population consisted of about 1,000 fishermen and their families. The fishing industry centered on Washington Island, which at 632 persons was the most populated area at the time. Sturgeon Bay had a population of 230 people. Fishermen caught lake trout and whitefish, which were sold for two cents per pound. Out of the total population of 2,948 people, 170 fought in the Civil War. Most enlisted in 1861 or 1862. The entire assessed valuation of the county that year was $395,000, with an average of $8.00 in tax assessed to each family. It was difficult to earn enough money to pay taxes, which were often delinquent. There were 25 school districts, but staffing was a challenge due to delinquent taxes. Highway 42 between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor had 27 chronic mudholes, some more than 3,000 feet (910 m) long and passage by wagons was at times unfeasible.[27]

When the 1871 Peshtigo fire burned the town of Williamsonville, fifty-nine people were killed. The area of this disaster is now Tornado Memorial County Park, named for a fire whirl which occurred there.[28][29][30] Altogether, 128 people in the county perished in the Peshtigo fire.[10][11] Following the fire, some residents decided to use brick instead of wood.[31]

In 1894 the Ahnapee and Western Railway was extended to Sturgeon Bay, with the first train arriving on August 9.[40] In 1969, a train ran north of Algoma into the county for the last time,[41] although trains continued to operate farther south until 1986.[42]

From 1865 through 1870, three resort hotels were constructed in and near Sturgeon Bay along with another one in Fish Creek. One resort established in 1870 charged $7.50 per week (around $160 in 2021 dollars). Although the price included three daily meals, extra was charged for renting horses, which were also available with buggies and buggy-drivers.[43] Besides staying in hotels, tourists also boarded in private homes. Tourists could visit the northern part of the county by Great Lakes passenger steamer, sometimes as part of a lake cruise featuring music and entertainment.[44] Reaching the peninsula from Chicago took three days. The air surrounding the agricultural communities was relatively free of ragweed pollen because grain crops matured slowly in the cool climate and were harvested late in the year. This prevented late-season ragweed infestations in the stubble, which was especially attractive to those with hay fever in the city.[45][46]

Even after the Ahnapee and Western extended service to Sturgeon Bay in 1894, many tourists continued taking the railroad to Menominee, Michigan[a] to embark on steamships bound for communities in Door County. This route over Green Bay bypassed poor road conditions in the northern part of the county, which persisted until the early 1920s. Only after crushed stone highways were built did motor and horse-drawn coaches become popular for transportation between Sturgeon Bay and the northern part of the peninsula.[47][10] By 1909 at least 1,000 tourists visited per year,[48] a figure which grew to about 125,000 in 1920,[49] 1 million in 1969,[50] 1.25 million in 1978,[51] and 1.9 million in 1995.[52] In 1938 Jens Jensen cautioned about negative cultural impacts of tourism. He wrote, "Door County is slowly being ruined by the stupid money crazed fools. This tourist business is destroying the little bit of culture that was."[53]

The Wisconsin State Employment Service established an office in Door County in 1949 to recruit Tejanos to pick cherries. Work was unpredictable, as cherry harvests were poor during certain years and workers were paid by the amount they picked. In 1951, the Wisconsin Department of Public Welfare conducted a study documenting conflict between migrant workers and tourists, who resented the presence of migrant families in public vacation areas.[65] A list of recommendations was prepared to improve race relations.[66] The employment of migrants continues to the present day. In 2013, there were three migrant labor camps in the county, housing a total of 57 orchard laborers and food processors along with five non-workers.[67]

In the fall of 1901, passenger pigeons were seen in Forestville, "in quite large flocks". This is the last reported sighting in the county.[68] Before the forests were cleared away, myriads of passenger pigeons nested in the woods of the Door Peninsula, and during periods of migration they would frequently and effectually cloud the sun in their flight.[69]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,370 square miles (6,100 km2), of which 482 square miles (1,250 km2) is land and 1,888 square miles (4,890 km2) (80%) is water.[85] It is the largest county in Wisconsin by total area.

In general the shoreline is characterized by the scarp face on the west side. On the east side peat is followed by dunes and beaches of sand or gravel along the lakeshore.[86] During years with receding lake levels, flora along the shore demonstrates plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat with some rolling. There are three distinct aquifers and two types of springs present in the county.[87][88]

The county covers the majority of the Door Peninsula. With the completion of the Sturgeon Bay Shipping Canal in 1881,[89] the northern half of the peninsula became an artificial island.[90] This canal is believed to have somehow "caused a wonderful increase in the quantity of fish" in nearby waters[91] and also caused a reduction in the sturgeon population in the bay due to changes in the aquatic habitat.[92] The 45th parallel north bisects the "island," and this is commemorated by Meridian County Park.[93][94]

Dolomites in the county have been separated by the different patterns marking the rocks. Each pattern is thought to represent a different general marine habitat from their formation. One layer has relatively straight and flat marks in the rocks, and is accompanied by fossils indicating a tidal flat, especially ostracods. The second layer of rocks has ripple marks and wavy patterns. Since the corals and shells in this layer are broken, the layer is inferred to have formed farther down along the reef shelf, where the corals and shells were exposed to the pounding of the waves. The third layer has rocks full of fossil burrows from marine animals. This layer formed in a still-deeper part of the middle reef under mostly calm conditions. Here, calm waters protected an abundant number of burrowing animals. Along with the fossil burrows are corals, brachiopods, and echinoderms. Yet the rocks in the third layer are interspersed with broken and disturbed material, indicating periodic storms. Each of these three layers is divided into smaller and more detailed sublayers.[97]

Areas overlooking the scarp face are attractive locations for houses and communications towers, and the stone of the escarpment is quarried.[102] A former stone quarry five miles northeast of Sturgeon Bay is now a county park.[103] Many caves are found in the escarpment.[104][105]

The county has 298 miles (480 km) of shoreline. In 2012, 268 miles (431 km) of the shoreline along Lake Michigan and Green Bay was surveyed and characterized by type. 42.9 miles (69.0 km) of the shore was made of artificial materials, while the remaining 225.1 miles (362.3 km) was natural. Of the natural shorelines, 167.8 miles (270.0 km) consisted of bedrock and boulders, 39.3 miles (63.2 km) was sandy, 17.4 miles (28.0 km) were covered in smaller stones such as shingles, pebbles, and cobbles, and 0.6 miles (0.97 km) was silty or mucky. Out of the total area surveyed, 101.0 miles (162.5 km) consisted of a flat coast, 88.9 miles (143.1 km) consisted of 2-to-10-foot (1 to 3 m) bluffs, 68.8 miles (110.7 km) consisted of 2-to-10-foot (1 to 3 m) dunes, and 9.3 miles (15.0 km) consisted of high bluffs taller than 10 feet (3 m).[106] 041b061a72


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