Joyous emotions overcame a gathering at the Door County Maritime Museum celebrating years of hard work and funding. A crowd enjoyed a beautiful day for an outdoor ceremony christening the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower in Sturgeon Bay. The ten story tower features the Baumgartner Observation Deck which offers views of the entire waterfront overlooking the waters from Green Bay to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.
A list of speakers shared thoughts and gratitude, and Board of Directors President Terry Konnelly shared that the 118 feet high structure is the tallest building in Door County and the fifth tallest in northeast Wisconsin. Over four-hundred donors contributed funds up to $5.8 million to the construction capital campaign. The most notable donation was from the George F. Kress Foundation, which was a $1 million dollar gift. A $250,000 investment grant was also awarded to the campaign.
Will Kress, the son of the tower’s namesake Jim Kress, spoke to the crowd and reflected on his decision years ago to begin donating to the museum after receiving a postcard asking for donors. He then spoke of his decision to have the foundation pledge seven figures.
The day ended with the historic John Purves tugboat and other vessels in the area participating in the Master’s Salute, commemorating National Maritime Day. The day also represented four years to the day that the board and museum went public with the campaign to build a lighthouse tower in Sturgeon Bay.