History of the Potawatomi Tower
The 75-foot tall Potawatomi Tower was completed in 1931. It was financed by an organization known as the Sawyer Commercial Club, which promoted economic development in the Village of Sawyer, the original name for Sturgeon Bay’s west side before it was annexed in the late 1800s. The club donated $500 and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did the actual work.
In December of 2017, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources closed the tower based on findings by the Forestry Department of significant wood decay, creating unsafe conditions.
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation, Inc. felt that the DNR’s study was limited to damage and deterioration, and it did not provide restoration alternatives to determine the feasibility of saving it. In 2018, SBHSF retained Wood Research Development (WRD) out of Oregon to perform a new study which included alternatives for restoration.
In January 2019 the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation, Inc. was thrilled to be working with the DNR and the renowned firm of Wood Research and Development lead by Dr. Tingley and were excited to give this iconic structure the in-depth approach it deserves toward preservation.
Currently the DNR is providing a third-party engineering review of WRD’s report, which outlines a preferred in-place restoration of the tower. Results from the third-party review are expected within the next few months.
With your help, we can continue to try and save this iconic, timber-framed, historic structure.
The Tower is at the eastern terminus of the 1,200 mile long Ice Age National Trail, one of 10 national hiking trails.