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“You can do it!” “You’re almost there!” “C’mon!”
…came the kind words of encouragement from strangers at the top of the tower as they noticed my wife struggling to do the last 5 steps at the top platform. I had to help move her feet up those last few stairs, but she was determined to get to the top of that tower.
One, two, three, four, five. Victory! “Hooray!” “You did it!” Those folks don’t know the memories they helped create that day.
My wife’s Multiple Sclerosis (MS) made this the last time she could go up the tower. It’s now years later, and the memory of that day comes back whenever we watch our grand kids make memories as THEY conquer the tower. New tower---new memories!
Chris and Nore, New Berlin, WI
Our family heads up to Door County 2-3 times a year and a stop at the tower is always on the list each visit! My 87 year old father-in-law is often with us on these trips and hikes up the tower every time! "Papa" is in great health and very active - he is usually less out of breath than the rest of us! We are all very excited to see the new tower and can't wait to get "Papa" up to the top again!
Kelly, Cedarburg WI
It was a frigid January day in 2005, and I told my girlfriend at the time, Wendy, that we were going to take a ride somewhere. We were both students at St. Norbert College in De Pere. My family and I had been traveling to Peninsula State Park my entire life to camp each summer, and I had introduced Wendy to our tradition a year prior. On our ride, she eventually realized we were heading towards Door County. She then asked what I had planned, and she even said, "Well I know you're not going to propose. One of your loud-mouth friends would have spilled those beans." I was then very nervous, because I had a diamond ring in my pocket.
We entered Peninsula State Park, and I headed for the road that lead to Sven's Bluff. She loves sunsets, so I had planned to propose on Sven's Bluff at sunset! Little had I forgotten, the road to Sven's Bluff is always closed in the winter months! Thinking quick on my feet, I proceeded to Eagle Tower.
Once there, we got out of my car, and I grabbed a backpack that I had stuffed with a bottle of champagne and glasses. We made our way to the top of the tower, and I told her I was surprising her with a sunset.
Once at the top, I realized I hadn't thought this all through. It was about 20 below with the windchill. It was cold. We were both frozen, so I decided to skip the sunset part and get down on my knee and proposed. Once she said yes, I told her about the champagne, but told her it wasn't getting popped until we got back to a warm car. So back down we went!
Those days were well before selfie-phones, and no one else was there to take a picture. Every time we returned to the park we always said we had to get to the top again to take our picture--even though years kept going by. Unfortunately, that picture never happened. I cannot wait for a new tower to be built. The first time we can, I want to climb to the top--this time with our son--to get that picture on top of the tower.
- David, Black Creek WI
Over 60 years ago, it was a summer highlight when our mom and dad drove us over from Sister Bay to climb the tower. It was a special event for my sister and me with our dad and mom. I remember nighttime Tower Events from my teenage years that I dare not speak about. Nighttime in the Park was an adventure beyond words. Those of you who may have been part of the fun will always remember. The Tower is a regional treasure. The "good old days" will never be repeated, but new memories will become the treasure of our grandchildren if we support the re-building of the Tower.
- John, Peoria IL
We have been coming to Peninsula State Park for many years and have enjoyed many trips to the top of Eagle Tower. We wanted to do our part in the effort to rebuild it. Hopefully the next time we are back there it will be there again. Look forward to the return of this great vista.
- Ed and Julie, Madison WI
It took three times to convince my girlfriend Amy to climb to the top of Eagle Tower. Finally one cold and rainy October day, Amy's daughter Samantha and I convinced her to go to the top. After the slow climb once we arrived the clouds broke and the sun slowly peeked out as she looked out over the bay and the various islands I reached into my pocket and pulled out a ring and she said Yes! The tower will always be special in heart and cannot wait to make the climb after it’s re-built.
- Jim, Janesville WI
Growing up in Wisconsin, visits to Door County were a much anticipated adventure for my family. My first climb to the top of the tower was as a teenager during a camping trip in the 1970s. Since then, my husband, son, and other family members have all ventured up the stairs of the tower many times as part of our yearly visits to Peninsula State Park. As I've gotten older, the climb has become more challenging and scary (blame that on the aging process!!), but still a ritual part of our Door County vacations.
- Marian, Ellisville MO
I started visiting Peninsula State Park with my family when I was a small child, with countless picnics and camping trips. Each and every time, a major highlight was the trip up the Eagle tower. In 1962, when my mom was 40 and I was 5, she climbed the tower with her 6 children (dad stayed on the ground), and once at the top declared "I am not climbing this tower again until I am 80." Well, children have very long memories and 40 years later, on my mom's 80th birthday all 6 grown children accompanied mom up the tower. She took it slowly and step by step and she make it to the top. Mom was so proud and happy.
Mom is too old to make it up the tower now, but all her children and grandchildren continue to enjoy one of our favorite family traditions
- Lisa, Ripon WI
Our family has been visiting Door County since 1960. We stayed at Larson's cottages in Ephraim for many of those years but also camped in the park for nearly a decade in the 70's. Rides and hikes through the park made our vacations complete and climbing the tower was required. My initials and my children's are carved in the railing at the top where we enjoyed so many wonderful views. I remember enjoying the wonderful water we hand pumped from the well at the base of the tower, a welcome refreshment for many. I can't imagine this park without a tower, let's get a new one built for the generations to come!
-Chuck, Mequon WI
This is the 7th year my daughter has done a 3D canvas for the Mosaic Project at the Hardy Gallery in Ephraim. An artist statement is always included with the canvas and this is her story. Since 1914 some version of "The Tower" has dominated the Eagle Bluff skyline. It has been apart of the view from our family's cottage across the bay for nearly that long. But the Tower - built in the 1930's has been declared unsafe and is being taken down this (2016) summer. So this canvas is my way of keeping my memories of it alive.
It was always a must see for visiting friends and relatives - but trips up the Tower were not limited to showing it off to tourists. In the days before Park stickers and permits, it was a frequent destination by car or on bikes. For a few summers, climbing to the top of the Tower was the first thing our group of friends did every evening before going on to the drive-in, mini golf or whatever we'd decided to do. It was the perfect place for watching the late August meteor showers. And trips to the top in fall and winter gave the familiar landscape a whole new perspective. We never tired of sailing up under the cliff and waving to people on the Tower - always a bit amazed that they could see us from up there. (Though we, in turn saluted boaters on the bay when it was us at the top.) I can't even remember the first time my parents guided my baby feet up the worn and hollowed stairs. But it will always be a landmark in my memories of Ephraim (and like the scene in the lower right of this canvas) casts a long shadow.
- Anne, Ephraim WI
My family have been camping in the park for 43 years. No trip would be complete without climbing the tower. My sister and brothers and their children and now their grandchildren. Soon great grandchildren will be coming. I hope and pray that they will be able to enjoy the same wonderful family tradition. It is a special reminder of history and it was hard that for two years we have missed out on climbing it. I hope it reopens again soon because a new batch of our descendent are on the way and I would hate to have them never get to climb it.
- Judy, Milwaukee WI
The Eagle Tower has been in my family for generations. I’m sure other families think of it as part of their heritage as we do. My mother was born in Jacksonport in 1896. She met my father in Chicago, and they were married there in 1921. He made his first trip to Door County the following year and fell in love with this beautiful place. The happy couple climbed Eagle Tower together in 1922, when it was fairly new, and talked about it for decades as a special moment in their lives.
My parents took my older sister and me there. My husband and I took our son and daughter. Years later, we took our oldest grandsons. That’s four generations that have enjoyed the challenge of climbing the tower and enjoying the splendid view from the top. We’d like to take our younger grandchildren, now that they are big enough, and in a few years our great grandchildren when they are the right size. We hope the tower will be there for the fifth generation of our family.
- Phyllis, Jacksonport WI
Every summer and fall since I was born ('66), my family would camp at the park in Tennison bay or Nicollet bay (the sandbox ). 603 campsite was our preferred spot. My favorite memory of the tower was with my wife and four year old son in a backpack carrier watching the July 4th fireworks, and everyone else up there chuckling at him saying "oooh " every time a charge went off.
- Steven, Pickford MI
Countless terrific dates, views, visits, loiterings, epiphanies, rushes, raptures, memories . A terrific, ongoing experience. For me, for almost 65 years, a landmark in my mind and in my life as much as a landmark at a place. The tower is one of those totemic items that, once experienced, a person gets attached to, wants to share, hates to lose, an item that stands for something in his or her life. My story with the tower may not be an outright love affair, but it's not unlike one, either. And it's at least a warm, affectionate, and steadfast friendship.
As a young child, my family would often frequent Peninsula State Park for a day of fun at the beach and hiking the wonderful trails. No trip would be complete without a stop at the tower, especially after hiking Eagle Trail. During my college years, I was able to work for Peninsula State Park's visitor services. The day I interviewed for the position I visited the tower. While working there, I have many fond memories of biking to the Tower to catch beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Now as a mom of two young children, I love taking my kids to Door County and sharing with them my memories and making new memories. The tower is always a highlight. We recently relocated our family to Marinette and are excited to take the boat over to Door County. It is my hope to see the landmark tower along the shoreline and be able to take my kids there for years to come.
- Rebecca, Marinette WI
We love the tower. We can see it from our dock, on North Shore Road, Ephraim. This is my 76th summer in Ephraim and I have many memories about the tower. One of the "traditions" we have continued with our children was to climb the tower, after summer when it was needed to calm down and tire out our children. We would say, "lets go to the town and climb it." My two sisters and I would go to the tower and climb it quickly. When we came down, often mother of father would "who wants to go again?" We continued this with our children and grand children. Our hope is we will be able to do this again for many generations.
- Jim, Ephraim WI
When we moved to Door County in 2007 I decided to celebrate every New Years Day by climbing Eagle Tower. I never missed a year until 2016 because it was closed. I am not getting any younger, I am 68, so I hope that I will be able to climb the tower at 70!
- Gary, Ellison Bay WI
The first time I was blessed with the view from the top of this structure was in 1988...It has been many decades since then and now...So it is my hope that (at minimum) another structure of similar size and character will replace it...The view from this wonderful structure has graced many of us...We are obligated to preserve such heritage for our future generation's pleasure, enjoyment and experiential learning...
- Jay, Menomonie WI
A favorite memory is of standing at the top of the tower on the night of July 4 (I don't remember the year) and watching the fireworks of at least five different towns all at once. It was magical! :)
|Eagle Tower - PENINSULA State Park||
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