Sturgeon Bay's Waterfront History: An Historic Coast Guard City

© Photographed May 28, 2015
Erected 2014
Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin
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Sturgeon Bay's Waterfront History
An Historic Coast Guard City
For over 140 years, the city of Sturgeon Bay has enjoyed a long and productive relationship with the United States Coast Guard and its processor services. In 1873 the Lighthouse Establishment began setting buoys to mark the treacherous Dunlap Read in the heart of the city's historic port. The Lighthouse Board decided to construct a set of lighthouses in 1880 to mark the reef and serve as range lights to guide mariners safely to the city's rapidly expanding waterfront. The establishment of that Dunlap Reef Light Station in 1881 began the legacy of Coast Guard Guardsman calling Sturgeon Bay home. Over the decades that followed, the addition of three more lighthouses, a life-saving station, several cutters and scores of marine inspection and port security personnel would bring thousands of Coast Guardsmen to the shores of Sturgeon Bay. This wonderful legacy continues as today and men and women of Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay and Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay call the city their home.

Of the many local Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard units, perhaps none is more symbolic than the city's enduring relationship with that Coast Guard than Station Sturgeon Bay. Knowing locally "the canal station," Station Sturgeon Bay stands steadfastly as the head of Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal on the very location personally hand-picked by legendary U.S. Life-Saving Service General Superintendent Sumner Kimball in 1883. U.S. Life-Saving Service Station Sturgeon Bay would become U.S. Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay when Revenue Cutter Service and Life-Saving Service merged in 1915 to form the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard Cutters of Sturgeon Bay
Several Coast Guard cutters that have called Sturgeon Bay home and scores of others that have visited the port over the years as they went about their official duties. The archives of local newspapers chronicle with great price the numerous Revenue Cutter Service vessels and Lighthouse Service tenders that called on the port in the days of sail and steam. A separate informational plaque nearby provides more detail on the cutters of Sturgeon Bay.
The marker is located at Sawyer Park on South Neenah Avenue, south of its intersection with Oregon Street, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin 54235.

Click here to view all markers at Sawyer Park.

The U.S. Coast Guard traces its roots to 1790 when the first Congress authorized the building of ten vessels known as "cutters" to enforce the new nation's trade and tariff laws. One of the Nation's five armed forces, the U.S. Coast Guard is simultaneously and at all times a military force and federal law enforcement agency dedicated to safety, security, and stewardship. Sturgeon Bay is truly a Coast Guard city, sharing a long, rich heritage with the local Coast Guard units and the many Coast Guardsmen and their families who have called Sturgeon Bay home during their tours of duty. The City celebrates its ongoing relationship with the U.S. Coast Guard annually during Maritime Week in late July.
Sturgeon Bay's many shipyards have spawned a long and fruitful relationship with Coast Guard marine inspectors dating back to the days of the Steamboat Inspection Service. The Coast Guard personnel from Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay are the latest in a "long blue line" of maritime safety and security experts to call Sturgeon Bay home.

The marker is near the red-roofed building to the left.

The marker is located at Sawyer Park Boat Launch.

The marker is located at Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

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