Door County’s Eagle Tower comes down, piece by piece

Eagle Tower dismantling
(Photo: Tad Dukehart)

PENINSULA STATE PARK, Wis. (WBAY) – Door County said good-bye Tuesday to an iconic landmark. Crews finished deconstructing Peninsula State Park’s Eagle Tower in Ephraim on Tuesday.

Once standing 75 feet tall and 108 steps to the top, the Eagle Tower is gone from Peninsula State Park’s skyline.

Crews started taking apart the iconic viewing tower Monday morning.

“It’s a very emotional subject for many people. It’s an iconic structure. Families, generations of families and park users come to climb the tower. It provides incredible views of the Door County landscape and waters of Green Bay,” Park Superintendent Kelli Bruns said.

Crews dismantled it in three sections. The process was supposed to take several days, but, “It went a lot more smoothly and we got it done in one day,” Missy VanLanduyt of Capital Development said.

The DNR closed the viewing tower in 2015 after an inspection found rotted and cracked wood and unsafe stairs, and planned to tear it down.

A group of nearby property owners launched a petition drive to repair and reopen the tower, and eventually led an effort to fund building a new tower that will be nearly identical.

Madison-based Forest Products Lab will analyze all the pieces of the wooden structure to see what condition they’re in.

“They’re going to determine whether it can be structurally used in future structures or whether it can be used non-structurally in elements like kiosks, benches or signage or whether it can’t be used for anything and needs to be removed,” VanLanduyt said.

Even though there’s an empty space where the Eagle Tower once stood and it’s tough to say goodbye, the community and the superintendent here at the park say they’re looking ahead to what’s next.

“We kind of look at it as another chapter in the story of Peninsula State Park,” Bruns said. “There was a tower here prior to this one. We’re hoping we’ll have another tower after Eagle Tower comes down.”

The Friends of Peninsula State Park are trying to raise $750,000 to build the new tower, which they hope to see gracing the landscape in 2018.

 

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