In May of 2015, the DNR closed the very popular Eagle Tower due to structural concerns. Since then there has been a lot of discussion regarding plans and proposals for its future.
Current plans include deconstructing the existing Tower in July 2016 and assessing all wood elements for potential future use. The Friends of Peninsula State Park in cooperation with the Eagle Tower Fund Committee are raising funds for a new tower at the existing site. If interested in donating please visit www.eagletowerfund.com.
Today’s Eagle Tower
- Dates to 1932 when the original 1914 tower was dismantled and completely rebuilt.
- Dimensions: 108 stairs. 75-feet tall. 250 feet above water level.
- Foreman Sam Erickson and crew used horses, tractors, trucks and other modern machinery. They wrapped cable around nearby trees to raise poles. A stump wrapped with rusty cable can still be seen a short distance from the tower, along the road leading towards Eagle Terrace (GPS N45.16275 W 87.19730). Poles (Western Red Cedar) came from Washington State.
- Though funded with state relief, this was not a Civilian Conservation Corps project. The nearby stone wall was, however, a CCC project (circa 1935).
- Safety improvements were made in 1972, including slanting the top deck railings. Hardware and decking were replaced and stained in subsequent years.
1914 Eagle Tower
- The total cost of the original tower: $1,061.92.
- Dimensions: 76 feet tall. 225 feet above water level.
- Constructed the summer of 1914 as a fire tower in anticipation it would become a tourist attraction. The ledger of Peninsula’s first manager, A.E. Doolittle, lists payment to men for fire watch duty.
- The crew cut logs and boards from timber in the park without modern machinery. To erect the tower, they first raised the center pole. Then they used the center pole to raise other support poles. Three trees composed each corner pole, with platforms between the separate trees. Horizontal landing support beams were added, followed by planks for decking at the three levels.
- A telephone line connected the tower to the manager’s residence and the local exchange. This was in case of fires (large fuel build up was present at the park). Peninsula’s last significant fire was in1921.
- A second tower stood at Sven’s Bluff until 1947 when it was dismantled for safety reasons.
Support Eagle Tower
In the last several months there have been countless individuals and several organizations who have taken the lead in contacting our state and local representatives and members of our community in support of saving Eagle Tower. We encourage continued representation of Friends and our community in keeping Eagle Tower a top priority as the DNR moves into its planning process.
Eagle Tower Fund: www.EagleTowerFund.com
Friends Facebook Page: Friends of Peninsula State Park Facebook
Peninsula State Park DNR Webpage: Peninsula State Park
- DNR Spokesperson: Ben Bergey, 608-266-2185 firstname.lastname@example.org