Sheboygan and City Green: the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and the State Trunk Tour Podcast

John Michael Kohler Arts Center

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) offers a variety of concepts and directions in contemporary art with particular consideration of craft-related forms, installation works, photography, new genres, ongoing cultural traditions, and the work of self-taught artists.  They have an impressive collection of permanent exhibits and a dynamic series of rotating ones.  Their ARTspace gallery offers international collections and exhibits.

The JMKAC has a world-renowned Arts/Industry program, considered one of the most unusual ongoing collaborations between arts and industry in the country (the Kohler Corporation’s involvement is, of course, one reason for this.)

Plenty of events are hosted at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center too, check our Event Calendar for those or the JMKAC Event Calendar!

You’ll find the JMKAC in downtown Sheboygan at 6th & New York Avenue, just a short hop away from where Highways 23, 28, and 42 all meet… and end.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, 10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.
Saturdays, Sundays, 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Closed major holidays

John Michael Kohler Arts Center Address:

608 New York Avenue
Sheboygan, WI 53081
(920) 458-6144

FREE parking is available across the street on the south side of New York Avenue.
Admission to the Arts Center is by voluntary donation.

Pelicans on Lake Michigan - Visit Sheboygan

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Historic Washington House, home of the ice cream sundae

Built as an immigrant hotel and saloon in the 1850s, the Historic Washington House lays claim to inventing the ice cream sundae.  There are seven rooms and an old ballroom to explore, all filled with items of historic interest.

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You’ll find the Washington House one block east of Highway 42 along Jefferson Street; the marker is along 42 one block north. Stop in for a sundae; they’re as good as you might imagine!

1622 Jefferson Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 793-2490

Door Peninsula Winery & Distillery

The Door Peninsula Winery started back in 1974 in a former two-room schoolhouse built in 1868. Taking advantage of the abundant and legendary cherry orchards nearby, they started out with cherry wine. Numerous expansions since have added on more wine storage and production space, a restaurant, and finally new distillery in 2011 where gin, whiskey, brandy, and bitters are made. Cherry moonshine recently debuted, too; we have yet to try that but we’ll head there again soon!

You’ll find the Door Peninsula Winery right along Highway 42 in Carlsville, about five miles north of Sturgeon Bay.

5806 Highway 42
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
(920) 743-7431

Door County Historical Museum

This museum looks small from the outside but the inside is extensive. The Door County Historical Museum tracks the extensive and colorful history of the peninsula, complete with an original jail cell, a fire truck you (and the kids) can sit in, and even a nature section illustrating the variety of plants and animals you’ll find throughout the area. The Chicago Tribune even named it the “Best Small Museum in the Midwest.”

The museum is free, although a $2 donation is suggested.

You’ll find it on 4th Street in downtown Sturgeon Bay, one block east of where Business Highway 42/57 veers onto 3rd Street.

18 N. 4th Avenue
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
(920) 743-5809

Door County Maritime Museum

Located right along the waters on the “mainland” side of Sturgeon Bay, the Door County Maritime Museum offers four galleries showcasing model ships, shipwrecks, lighthouses, the shipbuilding companies in the region, and an in-water exhibit of the restored tug John Purves from 1919, which was restored in the 1960s and continued to serve until 2000. You can use a submarine periscope to spy on Bay Shipbuilding across the bay (the largest in the area) as they busily build more ships. The museum is right next to the historic Steel Bridge, which opened in the 1930s and served as the only road connection across the bay for four decades, taking Highway 42 and 57 between southern and northern Door. Today, the Oregon Street bridge provides another downtown connection while the mainline 42 and 57 use the bypass bridge a mile to the east.

The Door County Maritime Museum is open year ’round, although tug tours of the John Purves are only available from May through October (that water gets old in those other months, you know.) Admission is $13 for adults, $10 for kids 5-17, and free for kids 4 and under, although the tug tour for the little ones will run $6.

120 N. Madison Street
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
(920) 743-5958

Ahnapee Brewery

Making use of Algoma’s earlier name, the Ahnapee Brewery is a resurrection of an original that lasted from 1868 to 1886. Located next to the Von Stiehl Winery, Ahnapee came back in 2013 with a brewery just outside of town that supplies in their in-town tap room with fresh craft beer.

Ahnapee’s revolving list of brews includes styles like the Pain in the Rye (a blonde Roggenbier), Helles in Red, Fun Guy (a mushroom brown ale brewed with actual North Woods mushrooms), the Two Stall Milk Stout, the Wild 100 sour, and more. Their tap room features eight lines always offering either their own crafts or other Wisconsin-based brews, along with “gourmet” pizzas made in-house. They’re open Wednesday-Sunday, always opening at noon while closing at 9pm Wednesday and Thursday, 10pm on Friday and Saturday, and 5pm on Sunday.

Ahnapee Brewery’s Tap Room is adjacent to the Von Stiehl Winery along County S in downtown Algoma, just east of Highway 42 and north of the eastern terminus of Highway 54, within a few hundred yards of Lake Michigan.

105 Navarino Street
Algoma, WI 54201
(920) 785-0822

World's Tallest Grandfather Clock, Kewaunee

World’s Tallest Grandfather Clock

The World’s Tallest Grandfather Clock showed up as a bicentennial gift for the City of Kewaunee. Towering 36 feet above the Ahnapee State Trailhead on the north side of downtown, this (working) Colonial-style redwood grandfather clock was built by Jake Schlies and his son Rodney on behalf of Svoboda Industries, a local business, which donated it to the city in 1976.

It was moved in 1984 to the new “Top of Hill Shops” along Highway 42 north of downtown. It stood there for over three decades before the shop closed and the clock, while staying there, fell into disrepair. The building was sold in 2013; the clock was then dismantled and moved back downhill to a location on the north edge of downtown.

Parts were reconditioned and the World’s Tallest Grandfather Clock went back up in its current location on August 27, 2014. It now serves downtown with accurate time and towers above the trailhead for the Ahnapee State Trail, which runs west through the farmlands and woods of Kewaunee County on its way north towards Algoma. A pavilion and sound system were added in 2015, and now you can not only see the clock, you can hear it as it chimes every 15 minutes and has specialty music for various seasons and events.

The World’s Tallest Grandfather Clock is just north of Highway 29, at the intersection of Highway 42 and Miller Street. The Tug Ludington, a historic jail, Kewaunee’s beautiful marina and harbor with its Pierhead Lighthouse, Parallel 44 Winery, and Bruemmer Park & Zoo are all nearby.

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum

The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton’s collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world. The Museum is also home to an amazing array of advertising cuts from the 1930s through the 1970s, and all of the equipment necessary to make wood type and hot metal type.

Located between the East and West Twin Rivers on Lake Michigan, the Hamilton Manufacturing Company (right behind the Historic Washington House, home of the ice cream sundae) was the largest wood type producer in the country, when virtually everything was letterpress printed. The company was founded in 1880, and along with wood type they manufactured medical office furniture, light tables, the first gas powered clothes dryer and more. Hamilton is still around; over 130 years old now, they make steel lab equipment.

The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum relocated to the former Formrite Company building, where they doubled their space and have a nice view of Lake Michigan. You’ll find it just off Highway 42 at 10th & Madison, just south of Highway 310.

1816 10th Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 794-6272

Historic Washington House Museum

Built as an immigrant hotel and saloon in the 1850s, the Historic Washington House lays claim to inventing the ice cream sundae. Around 1881, they dished up ice cream and chocolate sauce, but only in sodas. One customer started asking for a dish of ice cream topped with the sauce and they began selling it that way, but only on Sundays. Shortly thereafter, a 10-year-old girl requested a dish of ice cream with “that stuff on top” on a different day of the week, suggesting they could “pretend” it was Sunday. Between that and the long canoe-shaped dishes in which the ice cream was served being known as “sundae dishes,” the ice cream sundae was born.

Today, the Washington House serves up sundaes but also history, with seven rooms and an old ballroom to explore, filled with items of interest from military to 19th century doctors’ and dentists’ offices to historic knick-knacks. The building itself is well-preserved and even has its original decorative tin ceiling.

The ice cream parlor is a must of course, so order one up and dig in! There are 18 different sundae flavors to choose from. The Washington House is open seven days a week from 9am until 5pm (summer hours ’til 9pm). You’ll find it one block east of Highway 42 in downtown Two Rivers, right near the ends of Highways 147 and 310.

1622 Jefferson Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 793-2490

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Lighthouse

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village

Anchoring Two Rivers’ historic district, Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village showcases the long and colorful history of Two Rivers’ commercial fishing industry – the longest such history of any city on the Great Lakes. Calling commercial fishing “America’s most dangerous profession,” this complex offers an incredible look at the 175+ years of history, techniques, boats, and even shipwrecks (hence the “dangerous”) while offering the chance to climb the North Pier Lighthouse, built in 1886.

Statue at Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village

Rogers Street Fishing Village features a museum, the original 1936 tugboat Buddy O that you can climb on and explore, a French-Canadian-style fisherman’s home, original 19th century engines, boardwalks and plenty of artifacts.

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Boardwalk

Speaking of shipwrecks, the waters in Lake Michigan just off Two Rivers have had their share and you can see actual remnants of ships like the Vernon (which sank in 1887) and the Rouse Simmons (which sank in 1912) that were recovered and are now on display… right down to gauges from the ship and photos of the deceased – it gets real. Native American murals and artifacts also explore the era prior to European arrival in the area.

Rogers Street Fishing Village, recovered Windlass off the Francis Hinton ship

The Francis Hinton sank in 1909; you can see the windlass recovered from the steamer, among other amazing pieces from sunken ships, inside the Rogers Street Fishing Village Museum.

You’ll find Rogers Street Fishing Village just off Highway 42 in Two Rivers, near the endpoints of Highways 147 and 310, bordering the East Twin River. The museum is open from mid-May through mid-October.

Historic Rogers Street Fishing Village Address:

2102 Jackson Street
Two Rivers, WI 54241
(920) 793-5905