We make a concerted effort to avoid talking politics at Crossroads at Big Creek, but one of our educational areas is history, so when we hear people say “the nation has never been so polarized!” we just shake our heads and think of the least civil time in our nation’s history, the Civil War.
At The Historical Village at the Crossroad, you can celebrate the Fourth of July a few days early with the only Door County resident ever to be elected to Congress. The presentation about Cong. Edward S. Minor, the Republican who represented Door County in Washington, D.C., from 1895 to 1907.
The Village will be open from 1:30-3:30 and at 2:00, Minor’s career will be presented by Joe Knaapen, a Door County native who worked as a newspaper reporter for 30 years. Knaapen will describe how Minor served in the U.S. Civil War, working his way up from private to lieutenant as a cavalry trooper in Arkansas and Missouri. The military background, Knaapen says, probably cemented the character traits that made Minor a success in business and in politics. During his career, Minor served as Sturgeon Bay mayor, assemblyman and state senator for Northeast Wisconsin, and served six terms in congress from 1894 through 1907.
Minor stayed in touch with Sturgeon Bay community affairs until his death in 1924. The home he built for his family is now the Christian Science Hall on South Seventh Avenue.
Minor’s political career centers on about the same period as is the focus of The Historical Village — 1880 to 1910. At the time, most of rural American was growing and coming together as people living on farms and ranches got together at the local crossroads for commerce, education, politics and social events.
“It is amazing to me that so little is known about Minor locally and that nothing is taught about him in local schools,” Knaapen said. “The Historical Village provides a perfect platform for explaining his role in Door County history.
“At pivotal times in Door County history, Minor played a key role,” Knaapen said. “He stood up to defend the Constitution and define the U.S. way of life. Minor survived the Civil War, celebrated the Spanish-American War for reuniting the country after Reconstruction, and came out of retirement to be Sturgeon Bay mayor when all the young men went off to fight World War I.”
Sunday at The Village Programs are free and open to the public.