Growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, my family often took short vacations in Door County. We frequently stayed in the waterside Village of Egg Harbor which, like many places in Door County, is a summer hot-spot. However, it wasn’t always brimming with resorts and tourists from all over the world. While it may be difficult to imagine, Egg Harbor has been home to many native residents long before it received its current name. Evidence suggests that people have inhabited this area since 10,000 B.C.E., while nomadic peoples have briefly settled the land as early as 12,000 years ago and about 2,000 years ago people have made permanent settlements in Egg Harbor and around Door County. The dominant tribes of the area include the Potawatami, the Winnebago, the Ojibwe, the Sauk, the Menominee, and the Ottowa.
There are many stories that go along with how Egg Harbor received its name. Some say it was derived from the story of the first outsider to settle in Egg Harbor. They reportedly found an egg upon landing on the beach; others say it was because local seagulls nested on the shore. However, a more exciting story involves a food fight between four boats who were racing toward the land. The trailing boats began throwing food from their food baskets at the leading boat and in turn the food was flung back. The food fight continued until all the eggs were gone and thus the name Egg Harbor was given to the town. Soon after, Egg Harbor became an important lumbering area. People from all over the world began to establish their lives in the town, further developing housing, shops, saloons and restaurants.
Egg Harbor became the 10th organized town in Door County in July of 1861. The Village of Egg Harbor was created in August of 1964. As Egg Harbor developed, changes to the community came as well. In the 1950’s and the 1960’s Egg Harbor became a seasonal destination and many shops followed suit, only opening for the warmer months. Many buildings that stand today are sites of the first business owners that began their lives in Egg Harbor.
Despite my family’s frequent vacations to Egg Harbor, I thought I had seen everything this village had to offer, however, looking at Egg Harbor from the water as the sun is setting is a whole new experience. You can discover Egg Harbor like you’ve never seen it before when you’re paddling. Door County Adventure Center at Egg Harbor Beach offers both guided tours to watch the sunset and rentals so you can explore the harbor at your own pace! Book your tour today HERE. You can also check out Egg Harbor Village to see all it has to offer HERE.