Northport is an unincorporated community in the town of Liberty Grove in Door County, Wisconsin, United States. It is the northern terminating point of WIS 42 and the location of the peninsula-side ferry dock of the Washington Island Ferry Line.
View of the Northport dock from the water.
Northport wasn’t always the primary location of the peninsula-side ferry dock. Gills Rock, which lies one and one half miles to the west, was the primary dock for many years. The Ferry Line switched over to the permanent dock at Northport in 1984. This was not until a substantial amount of money was spent in dredging, upgrading the dock for the newer type Ferry Boats and constructing protective breakwaters.
The Ferry "Washington" is loading for the trip across Death's Door to Washington Island.
Northport was used as an alternate dock for the Ferries especially when a strong north wind was blowing as Gills Rock was completely unprotected from the north. There are some very alarming memories to some of us which can be recalled during the boarding and unboarding procedures from the days at Gills Rock. Sometimes, just making it on the Ferry Boat with your automobile was more than half the battle. When winter service started on the Island in 1957, Northport dock was used for icy conditions.
Winter at Northport Dock circa 1960? Notice the tail end of the Blatz beer truck.
1935, back when men drove their vehicles across the ice during the frigid winter months, the Island basketball team was returning to Washington Island after participating in a game on the peninsula. Somewhere out in Death’s Door, the vehicle broke through the ice and all seven members of the team were lost. It is said that the “good ice” was marked with Christmas trees to guide the way but later the vehicle’s tire tracks had ventured away from the beaten path which lead to the tragic event. I can only imagine the grief the “Islanders” had to endure for a long time to come.
Northport dock circa 1935?
Thanks again to the Washington Island Ferry Line for letting us place this cache on their property.
*** Congrats to RJ McKenzie for the FTF ***
|I am a proud