Third Avenue Historic District

Roughly bounded by Kentucky St., N. 2nd, N. 3rd, and S. 3rd Aves., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Downtown area of Sturgeon Bay on the Northeast shore of the bay


Third Avenue

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in September 2015




This part of Sturgeon Bay began to develop in the mid 19th Century with a plat laid out in 1855. A fire in 1880 destroyed several of the buildings including the fire department. The fire sparked in interest in more fireproof materials, including bricks and quarried stone.

A canal was dug to connect Sturgeon Bay to Lake Michigan. The channel would cut over 100 miles from the journey from Green Bay to Chicago and avoid the dangerous channel that separates the mainland peninsula from Washington Island, known as Porte du Mort, or Death's Door.

Sturgeon Bay became an important port of its own right, and attracted the maritime industry that is still part of Sturgeon Bay today, including ship builders and a large Coast Guard station. The buildings downtown are of varying designs, Italianate, Queen Anne and Classical Revival styles that were in vogue during the District's primary period of development – 1880 through 1910.

The Downtown Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Washington DC in 1983.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on October 6, 1983
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival; Victorian: Queen Anne
Areas of significance
Commerce; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Single dwelling
Current function
Single dwelling
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1925-1949
Significant years
1865; 1935
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 38
Non-contributing buildings: 7

Update Log 

  • September 20, 2015: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Description and Added Photos



Third Avenue Historic District
Posted April 8, 2019, by Mark Polczynski (mhp [dot] techforge [at] gmail [dot] com)

If you are interested in Sturgeon Bay landmarks, you might like our Clio tour of sidewalk stones in Sturgeon Bay: