If you live in Wisconsin, chances are that you at least know of Eagle Tower. More likely, you—along with thousands of visitors from around the world—have had indelible experiences of taking in spectacular views of Lake Michigan, the surrounding islands, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Eagle tower offered a captivating and much beloved panorama of Peninsula State Park.
Eagle Tower, a wooden observation tower standing 75-feet tall and rising 250 feet above Lake Michigan, was built in 1932 in Wisconsin’s Peninsula State Park. A Door County icon, this well-loved landmark served visitors for generations, but an in-depth inspection conducted in the spring of 2015 indicated the structure was in poor condition and no longer safe for the public.
The inspection included core sampling to determine the general internal condition of the structural components and overall load-bearing capacity of the structure. On May 20, 2015, the tower was closed for public use. Eagle Tower was taken down on Sept. 19, 2016.
Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) were asked to help in the evaluation of Eagle Tower as the Lab has extensive experience in historic structure evaluation and nondestructive wood evaluation techniques. FPL researchers will be testing the dismantled wood members and determining if they can be reused in any way to pay homage to the historic tower.
Community members are currently raising funds for the tower’s reconstruction. The new tower will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, current construction codes, and take into consideration new construction technologies.