Sturgeon Bay, Wis. (December 4, 2023) – The Door County Historical Society invites everyone to step back in time and embrace the enchantment of an old-fashioned Christmas. Join us at Heritage Village at Big Creek for the inaugural Glimpse of Christmas Past, a delightful event destined to become an annual tradition. Throughout the month of December, the Village has been magically transformed into a festive wonderland, inviting everyone to experience the charm and nostalgia of holidays gone by.
Heritage Village at Big Creek comprises eight historic structures that authentically capture the essence of a rural community in Door County between 1880 and 1910. Typically operational from May to October, the Door County Historical Society deviates from its regular schedule during December, offering visitors the chance to explore these time-honored buildings on Friday and Saturday evenings. In a special Christmas-themed event, local nonprofits have adorned each building in historically-appropriate holiday decor, competing for the prestigious title of Best Decorated Building. Guests are invited to immerse themselves in the festive ambiance, wander through the beautifully adorned historic structures, and participate in voting for the Best Decorated Building. Votes are tallied through donations to each building, with the collected funds being distributed among all participating nonprofits.
A Glimpse of Christmas Past aims to celebrate the rich history of the region while ushering in the holiday spirit with creative and enchanting decorations. Participating organizations include Door County YMCA, Sunshine Resources, Operation Not Alone, Sturgeon Bay Historical Foundation, and Crossroads at Big Creek. Each brings their unique flair to the challenge, creating a visual feast for visitors.
Sturgeon Bay Historical Foundation Decorates the Chapel
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Foundation decorated the chapel at Heritage Village for this event. The requirement of the Door County Historical Society to use historically accurate decorations encouraged creativity for some. “We focused on bringing the elements of the natural world into our decor,” commented Kelly Catarozoli, of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Foundation. “We gathered what’s around us and also incorporated handmade ornaments using techniques and practices from the late 1800’s and earlier.” Catarozoli added that the decorations will also highlight what was going on at that time in Sturgeon Bay by including printed Christmas advertisements from the newspaper archives. “There’s a fun whimsical surprise waiting for visitors.”
As well as providing a unique holiday experience for visitors, A Glimpse of Christmas Past provides a side benefit for everyone involved. “This is a great opportunity to highlight the wonderful buildings at Heritage Village, the tremendous work of the Door County Historical Society, and our own organization,” commented Catarozoli. “It is also a fun way to get into the festive spirit and invite others to appreciate the holidays from an historical perspective.” She added, “We hope visitors will learn more about the efforts of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, energize others to be active in preserving our past.”
The Chapel at Heritage Village is a three-fourth’s size replica of the first church built in Door County. Patterned after the Ephraim Moravian Church, built in 1853 by Rev. Iverson, the Door County Historical Society built in the chapel in 2001, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its founding. The interior of the chapel includes an altar and pastor’s chair that are copies of originals built by Pastor Iverson and recreated by Dr. Ted Attril. The Moravian Star, the Bethlehem Star, points people to Christ.
Early European settlers in Door County joined with other people of the same language, culture, and religion, building a community to meet their needs. These immigrants almost immediately built a church–first log and later a frame building–so that their children would learn and keep the traditions, morals, and faith in God that they had known in Europe.
About the Door County Historical Society:
The Door County Historical Society, founded in 1926, is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation, and sharing of the heritage of Door County. The organization operates two interpretive sites: the Heritage Village at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay and the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse Museum in Peninsula State Park. DCHS offers a variety of programs, events, and exhibits that highlight the history and culture of the Door County peninsula.