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History in their hands: A group of volunteers saving historic building at Crossroads at Big Creek

Posted at 5:43 PM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 18:57:07-04
  • Video shows the volunteer group that is working on the barn field station project at Crossroads at Big Creek.
  • A group of about ten volunteers have been meeting on Tuesdays since the spring to try and complete the massive restoration.
  • There has been $135,000 raised towards the project and they are aiming to get up to $163,000.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

They're re-purposing and renovating. Crossroads at Big Creek is taking on a project that will save a historic building. I’m your Door County Neighborhood reporter Katlyn Holt, and this building will be providing a way for people to continue learning about history for generations to come.

"Once it's gone it’s gone forever, right?" said Lutzke.

Nick Lutzke is the Land and Facilities Manager at Crossroads at Big Creek, and he is overseeing a massive project.

"Seeing history seeing craftsman ship from 100 and some years ago is just cool but at the same time this thing is like three quarters rotten and so that takes a lot of wind out of your sails," said Lutzke.

Lutzke says the status of a barn on the Crossroads property from the 1860s era was the topic of discussion a year and a half ago.

"We were at a point, being the owners of either having to do something, whether it was demolishing it and sending into the landfill, or what we chose to do and that's rebuilding it and making it usable space," said Lutzke.

The plan is to turn the space into a barn field station, where school kids, Crossroads programming, and numerous clubs can visit and see historic artifacts.

"We raised with donations and chased grants and raised enough money to be able to do this project," said Lutzke.

There has been $135,000 raised towards the project and they are aiming to get up to $163,000.

What the group says it didn't realize when they began this project was how much history was going to be found within this old building. Things like milk bottles, newspapers, and license plates all tell a piece of this building’s history.

"We found a lot of interesting things as we dug through this it was kind of like an archaeological discovery every time we came through," said Wilcox.

Jock Wilcox is a part of the volunteer group that has been meeting every Tuesday since the spring to work on the project.

He says when it’s done, he expects to feel a great sense of accomplishment and the company and compensation for his work hasn't been bad either.

"That's the only reason they come is for the doughnuts or cookies," said Wilcox.

Lutzke says ideally the project will be completed before we start getting snow.

"It is cumbersome it's exhausting, but it's totally worth it," said Lutzke.

Here is a link to donate towards the barn field station project.