Lime Kilns of Door County  

The Door County Historical Society will host its monthly dinner program, “Lime Kilns of Door County” presented by Don Rudolph on Monday, August 28, at the Door County Fire Company in Sturgeon Bay.

Lime was an essential ingredient in building the pioneer structures in Door County.  In fact, many house and barn foundations that are still in use today were constructed with lime mortar produced in one of Door County’s 60 lime kilns. Don Rudolph will explain the lime making process, show a short video of a kiln fired and burning limestone, help us learn how to identify former lime kilns, and show the locations of known lime kiln sites throughout the county.

Don’s interest in lime kilns began many years ago when he was helping a neighbor farmer log some cedar. They continually passed by a strange looking pile of rocks that aroused his curiosity. The farmer explained that at one time the piles of rocks were a working lime kiln. Through the Door County Library newspaper archive he found the owner and operator of this particular lime kiln, and learned that it was in use for nearly 30 years. Since that time Don has been on a quest to find all of Door County’s lime kilns.

Don Rudolph’s love for history and farming comes from his ancestors. His Great Grandfather, Johan Gottlieb Rudolph, and his family settled in the German Settlement east of Ephraim in 1869. His Grandfather Julius Carl Rudolph moved from Liberty Grove to Sevastopol in 1899 to find a better farming property. His father, Edgar Rudolph, also a farmer, told numerous historical stories and Don was always happy to listen and lucky enough to remember these stories.  Along with his wife Donna and their son David, he continues to farm on this century old homestead. Donna and Don are founding members of the Sevastopol Historical Society, and are both members of the Door County Historical Society.

Monday August 28’s buffet dinner includes Broasted Chicken, Barbecue Ribs, mashed potatoes, tossed salad, corn, rolls, and beverage choices of coffee and iced tea. The dinner and program will be held at the Door County Fire Co. banquet room and is located at 38 S. Third Ave, Sturgeon Bay; ample parking is available behind the restaurant in the Sturgeon Bay City Hall parking lot. Dinner and program fees are $21 for Society members and the guest fee is $25. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early for check in and seating; dinner will be served promptly at 6:00 pm.

Please make your reservation by sending payment to the Door County Historical Society, P.O. Box 71, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, with a memo stating your dinner preference. The Reservation Deadline is Monday, August 21. If you would like to attend the program only, the fee is $5 and the program time is 6:45. For further information, contact the Door County Historical Society at (920) 421-2332 or

Founded in 1926, the Door County Historical Society keeps history alive for future generations through the collection, preservation and sharing of the heritage of Door County. The Society is a membership organization that operates two interpretive sites: Eagle Bluff Lighthouse in Peninsula State Park and the Heritage Village at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay.

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