Sturgeon Bay granary placed on state historic registry

Liz Welter

STURGEON BAY - The city's iconic granary along the waterfront will be listed on the State Register of Historic Places after the Wisconsin Historical Society approved including the building Aug. 18.

Former granary along west side waterfront in Sturgeon Bay Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

"The Teweles & Brandeis grain elevator is an excellent, highly intact example of a grain processing and storage building of a type that was once frequently encountered in communities in Wisconsin and in many other Midwestern states," according to a news release from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Changes in agriculture product processing and manufacturing, along with land use changes in Door County and other communities resulted in the demolition of many granaries, the release said.

"As a result the Teweles & Brandeis grain elevator is now the only surviving historic resource in the city that can attest to the city's historically important role in support of Door county's agricultural production. The elevator's significance is further strengthened by its highly original exterior and interior," the release said.

The State Historic Preservation Officer will forward the board’s findings to the federal Department of the Interior, which will evaluate the granary for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, said Christie Weber, president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society.

“National designation would also help a future not-for-profit user, because the building’s rehabilitation creates another fundraising objective they can use to attract support," Weber said

The building’s distinctive profile and waterfront location make it attractive for a range of public, private and nonprofit uses, Weber said.

The building was declared a health hazard in June after an inspection by the city's fire department and Door County sanitarian. Fire Chief Timothy Dietman ordered the city to fence off the granary to prevent anyone from going inside.

The city also reviewed possible options and related costs for the building for the City Council. After reviewing the options and costs, the City Council voted Aug. 1 to raze the granary. The council also agreed that the building wouldn't be demolished until after Jan. 1, 2018, to allow time for a person or group to raise the funds to restore the granary.

"The Historical Society is working to get a handle on the building’s renovation requirements and clarity about what the Sturgeon Bay City Council needs to become confident that adaptive reuse is the best strategy for the granary and the city,” Weber said.