Kewaunee County Attractions
Stretching from the western shore of Lake Michigan to the eastern shore of Green Bay, Kewaunee County was inhabited by the Native American Potowatomi for more than three hundred years before Jean Nicolet set foot on the Kewaunee shore in 1634. The name "Kewaunee" is Potowatomi for "We are lost". Indians lost in the fog offshore would cry out "Kewaunee, Kewaunee" hoping to be guided to safety by answering calls from the shore.
With communities founded by immigrants from many nations, including Bohemia, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Ireland, Luxemburg and Poland, Kewaunee County contributes to the largest concentration of widely diverse oldworld settlements in the United States, and is included as part of the Wisconsin Ethnic Settlement Trail. Communities established by 19th century European pioneers maintain and share their ancestors' traditions, customs, crafts, and cuisine. Unique old-world foods, music, and crafts are still enjoyed in Kewaunee County homes, shops, and restaurants, holiday get-togethers, church socials and year-round ethnic festivals.
The countryside is dotted with steeples of churches established by the early settlers. Many have been rebuilt or reconstructed over the years and continue to serve the descendants of their original congregations. Area history is also well-preserved and displayed in more than 100 restored historic homes, churches, and commercial buildings, from 18th century log cabins to elegant Victorian mansions and a unique 19th century dungeon and jailhouse museum, full of artworks, artifacts and displays that bring life to the county's exciting past.
Kewaunee County's two Lake Michigan harbors, Algoma and Kewaunee, have enjoyed a long and colorful maritime past, serving military, commercial and passenger vessels of many nations for more than six centuries. Vessels built by Kewaunee County shipbuilders have sailed the Great Lakes and the seven seas. From the turn of the 20th century through the 1940's, the area's commercial fishing fleet harvested great netsfull of fish from Lake Michigan
Today, its charter fishing fleet provides Lake Michigan sports fishing thrills with trophy trout and salmon catches for back-home dining and bragging. Kewaunee County harbors and marinas offer shelter, repairs, outfitting, fuel, food and anchorage to thousands of recreational Great Lakes boaters and sailors annually. The county's maritime history is preserved and on display in museums, historic vessels, fish shanties, century-old docks, piers and lighthouses.
Kewaunee County's inland lakes and streams, and the waters of Lake Michigan offer swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing, scuba-diving, water-skiing; almost every watersport imaginable. The quiet, uncrowded atmosphere, peace and tranquility of the Lake Michigan shoreline, inland lakes and wetlands invite visitors to stroll along sandy beaches where the deep blue waters stretch to the horizon; discover unique plant and animal communities in inland marshlands and river banks; observe shorebirds and all manner of waterfowl fishing, floating, diving, chasing waves, calling, courting and nesting in wetlands along the Lake Michigan shore. Fishing in Kewaunee County lakes yields Rainbow Trout, Perch, Bluegills, Crappies, Bass, and Bullheads. Some Tiger Muskies are also found in East Alaska Lake.
Canoeing is a popular way to get in close touch with the shorebirds, waterfowl, amphibians, fish, and fur-bearing animals that inhabit the wetlands and waters of the Kewaunee and Ahnapee Rivers. Launching facilities and rentals are available on both rivers, and guided trips are available on the easy-going, no-whitewater upper portion of the Kewaunee River. The county's scenic rural roads and the Ahnapee State Trail offer miles and miles of safe cycling, hiking, and cross-country skiing for close contact with the area's scenic beauty and wildlife. The Crescent Beach Boardwalk offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the Algoma shoreline; and the Nature Walk, a 1,500-ft. wooden walkway along the Kewaunee River north of Kewaunee, leads to an observation deck with a breath-taking view of the river.
Kewaunee County provides a wide range of dry-land sports facilities; two public golf courses, a bowling center, indoor and outdoor Field Archery Ranges, a 5-Stand Sporting Clay Range, two Trap Ranges, a Rifle Range, outdoor tennis courts, an 18-hole miniature golf range, miles of cross-country ski trails, ice-skating rinks, a park with T-Bar Lift for downhill skiing and a tubing run, and 123 miles of snowmobile trails.
Kewaunee County merchants offer shoppers an exciting mixture of unclaimed treasures; century-old antiques and brand-spanking new creations, old world crafts and modern works-in-process; whimsical one-of-kind novelties and fine art pieces. Area specialty food shops, farmers' markets, roadside stands, orchards and historic winery outlets offer taste samples and sell some of the best apples, cherries, berries, chocolates, maple sugar, old world sausages, wines, ethnic foods, baked goods, cheeses, and dozens of varieties of fresh, dried and smoked fish from nearby waters.
Kewaunee County restaurants are a diner's delight, featuring freshly caught fish, ethnic cuisine, just-picked local fruits and vegetables, homemade frozen custard, ice cream and pastries. Great food offered at some of the best value pricing in the state.
After a day of fun, exploration and discovery, Kewaunee County visitors can choose from many different accommodations, including hundreds of campsites from primitive to full service electrical sites, an elegantly restored Victorian Hotel, charming bed-and-breakfast inns, full service lodges and luxurious inns.
Located 95 miles north of Milwaukee, Kewaunee County is easy to get to, great to visit and hard to leave.
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Museums and Historic Sites
Old Jail Historical Museum
Courthouse Square, Kewaunee
Built in 1876 as the sheriff's residence and county jail, this unique building now houses the Kewaunee County Historical Society Museum. Inside the museum are three floors of fascinating local history exhibits and displays, including a group of life-size basswood statuary depicting Pere Jacques Marquette's 1674 landing in Kewaunee; a model of the U.S.S. Pueblo an electronic surveillance ship built and launched in Kewaunee in 1944 and captured in 1968 by the North Koreans; "Custer's Last Stand" -- a monumental three-dimensional, wood carving and a truly fine work of art; and, of course, the original 1876 jail with dungeon-type cell block of 5' X 6' cells secured with riveted strap-iron lattice-work doors and partitions - it is one of the last remaining examples of the kind in the United States. Open daily 10:30 am. - 4:30 pm.
St. Agnes By The Lake
Before the Algoma lighthouse was constructed in 1893, the steeple on St. Agnes, then known as Grace Church, served as a navigational guide for ships on Lake Michigan. Designed by the founder of the Institute of Architects, Richard Upjohn, the church was built in 1877 and burned just 7 years later. The intricately carved altarpieces were salvaged and an exact replica of the church was constructed on the original foundation.
Art Dettman Fish Shanty
Church and N. Water St., Algoma
Once the place where the largest commercial fishing fleet on Lake Michigan brought much of its harvest for shipping and processing, the Art Dettman Fish Shanty is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic places.
von Stiehl Winery
115 Navarino St., Algoma
Wisconsin's oldest winery, the von Stiehl winery, was built in the 1850's and is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The winery offers guided tours, from 9 am. to 5 pm. daily, May 1 - October 31; it is open until 6 pm. in July and August; and offers tasting and sales during open hours May through October. Hours are 11 am. - 5 pm. November-December, and 11 am. - 4 pm. January through April.
Marquette Historic District
The Victorian era is on display in the City of Kewaunee's Marquette District. Here, visitors will find more than 40 homes, from the late 1800's and early 1900's, featuring old time elegance lovingly tended and restored. Several of the larger homes have been converted into bed and breakfast establishments and a hotel built in 1858 has been restored. A walking tour map may be obtained from the Kewaunee Tourist Information Center.
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Parks and Nature Centers
Kewaunee Nature Walk
This 1,500 ft. boardwalk path over the marshlands is a birders' paradise where all kinds of waterfowl congregate. Located one-quarter mile north of the City of Kewaunee, the walkway meanders through the wetland habitat along the Kewaunee River, ending in an observation deck with a breathtaking panoramic view of the
Red River Park
Located two miles north of Dyckesville on State Hwy. 57, this county park provides access to fishing and boating on Green Bay, with playground, picnic tables, grills, shelters and restrooms.
Little Scarboro Fishing and Wildlife Areas
Scarboro Creek is a Class III trout stream stocked annually with brown trout. The Little Scarboro Fishing Area is open to the public. An inland trout stamp is needed, but anglers can catch stocked and native brook and brown trout along some native brook trout in this area. The Little Scarboro Wildlife area is open to public hunting. Rabbit, grouse, deer and squirrel hunting are permitted in season with licenses available from the Department of Natural Resources and local licensing agents. Special tags are required for pheasant hunting in this
Ahnapee State Trail
Algoma to Sturgeon Bay
The Ahnapee State Trail is a 15.3-mile hiking, bicycling, horseback and snowmobile trail that stretches from Algoma to Sturgeon Bay along the Ahnapee River. The trail passes through meadows, rolling farmland and cedar glades teeming with wildlife. The railroad bridge has recently been replaced and the Kewaunee County portion of the trail has been newly resurfaced.
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Points of Interest
Kewaunee Nuclear Plant
State Hwy. 42, Kewaunee
The Kewaunee Nuclear Plant tower is a landmark for visitors entering and leaving the county. At 535 megawatts, the plant's generator is Wisconsin's largest. Since its 1974 start-up, the plant's operating and safety record has been rated outstanding by industry analysts. Fishing around the plant is so good that anglers are always there, no matter what the weather may be. The plant has no arrangement for visitors. For a fascinating discovery tour of the nuclear power industry, visitors are encouraged to visit The Point Beach Energy Information Center, located on Nuclear Rd. south of Cty. Hwy BB.
St. Joseph Parish Church
Hwy. 29, Pilsen
The first Czechoslovakian settlers came to Kewaunee County in 1863 and named their community Pilsen after their original home in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. They build their first church in 1874 and the present one in 1912. During the week you may be able to see the church's old world interior by calling at the
C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Fish & Wildlife Area and Anadromous Fish Facility
N. 3884 Ransom Moore Ln., Kewaunee
Nestled in the scenic valley of the Kewaunee River, the new Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Fish Collection Facility began operation in 1990. Here anadromous fish - species that swim upstream for reproduction - are directed up a fish ladder into a collection pond for spawning. Two large underwater viewing windows allow visitors to observe large lake trout and salmon thrash and leap up the ladder to the spawning pond. Peak activity is in spring, late summer and fall when spawn is collected to raise fingerlings to stock the Lake Michigan sports fishery. Enjoy the quiet beauty of the river, the frenzied activity in the ladder, and the restful walkways around the pond.
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Special Things to Do
Farm and Flea Markets
Taste, enjoy and take the flavors of Kewaunee County home from the Algoma Farm and Flea Market, where the area's best; bedding plants, flowers, vegetables, apples, cherries, berries, tomatoes, cheeses, home-made sausages, fresh, smoked and frozen fish, poultry, baked goods and more are found side-by-side with collectibles, antiques, curiosities and surprises. Area Markets are:
Scenic Lakeshore Drive
Take a leisurely drive along this scenic road from Kewaunee north to Algoma, winding through beautiful dairy country along a high plateau above Lake Michigan. The views are spectacular.
Crescent Beach Boardwalk
For a panoramic view from shoreline to the horizon, stroll along Algoma's Crescent Beach Boardwalk from the Visitor Center to the Marina. Or walk along the beach from the boardwalk and out to the north end of the pier to Algoma's century-old red lighthouse for a landward view of the city shoreline.