Gibraltar Talk: Memorial Pole Stories


The Gibraltar Historical Association of Fish Creek will kick off the 2012 “Gibraltar Talks” program series on May 10th with a program called, Stories from the Memorial Pole. This history filled program will be held a 7:00 P.M. at the old Gibraltar Town Hall corner of Spruce and Cedar Streets. This presentation is by the Northern Door Storytellers Guild.

The original Memorial Pole was installed on August 14, 1927 and replaced in 1970. A carved climbing bear was perched on the top of the pole. This original bear, “Owasse,” can be seen at the Nature Center in Peninsula State Park.

Humans have lived on the Door Peninsula and surrounding islands for over 11,000 years. The earliest known village site was located at Nicolet Bay dating back to 500 BC. Villages of Potawatomi occupied the area we know today as Peninsula State Park through the mid-1800’s

In 1925 well know historian Mr. H. R. Holand took the responsibility of organizing a project to honor the Native Americans who settled this area. With the support of the Door County Historical Society and Peninsula Park Superintendent Al Doolittle, Holand’s project took shape. The project took the shape of a 40 foot Memorial Pole consisting of hand carved bands. Holand envisioned six “panels” on the pole depicting the history of the Native American people. The carvings included: Native Americans hunting deer, the coming of the missionaries, the arrival of European settlers, the French and English wars, the fur trade, and the Native Americans being driven from their lands by white settlers.

The original Memorial Pole was installed on August 14, 1927 and replaced in 1970. A carved climbing bear was perched on the top of the pole. This original bear, “Owasse,” can be seen at the Nature Center in Peninsula State Park.

The Northern Door Storytellers Guild wish to tell the stories represented in the Memorial Pole’s six carved bands.

Gibraltar Talks programs are sponsored by the Gibraltar Historical Association. They are free and open to the public.