The Door County Historical Society will host its Saturday afternoon yesteryear program "Traveling down the Tracks," a double feature presentation on Saturday, June 30 at 1:00 pm in the Collins Learning Center adjacent to the Heritage Village at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay. The double feature combines the culture of local train history and original folk theater.
The program will begin with two of Door County's and Northern Sky Theater favorites Jeff Herbst and James Valcq providing stories and music from "Boxcar, the Musical."
Northern Sky Theater's "Boxcar"
written by Laurie Fl
anigan Hegge and James Valcq.
"Trains are cool. Steam locomotives are the coolest of them all. Launching into this project, it was fun to research trains, train travel and the quirky, romanticized version of the hobo culture that followed train lines into every nook and cranny of our nation. But a closer look revealed the danger the hobos faced on the road, the risks they took every time they flipped a freight, and the code of conduct they maintained that helped to foster the safety and security they so dearly needed as they went through life without the basic necessities we take for granted," explained author
The play is
a "soaring, tender story about an unlikely friendship between a boy and two hobos" set in the 1930s. As
story unfolds, "Boxcar" draws on the deep struggles of 1930s era America while celebrating the ultimate triumph that comes from one human being coming to the aid of another in tough times.
With the musical prowess of Valcq and Herbst, guests will surely be entertained
Andy Laurent will tell the story of the Ahnapee & Western Railway, the rail line in Door County that ran from 1894 until 1968, sharing many images and stories from his collection accumulated over the past 20 years. Door County was the last Wisconsin county to begin rail service in 1894 and was the first county to suspend service in 1968. "The railroad had suffered several years of deficits before a ship damaged the bridge providing access to Sturgeon Bay in 1968. The bridge was owned by the city; the city would not use the insurance money received to repair the bridge which was condemned, and the railroad was forced to cease service to most of its shippers," cites the Green Bay Route.
The program content will follow in the tracks of the presentations he previously presented to the Society in 2012 and 2015. This time, Laurent will focus on the towns, industries, and equipment from the railroad's 74 years of operation in Door County. Andy will also touch on the setting for "Boxcar, the Musical," which is along the tracks of the Green Bay and Western Railroad in Whitehall Wisconsin.
If you want to know about the Ahnapee & Western Railway, Andy Laurent is the engineer of its history. Laurent is a railroad official living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He developed his knowledge of the Ahnapee & Western Railway through 25 years of research specific to the company, its employees and customers. His parents are from Door and Kewaunee County, where his interest in the A&W began as a boy while walking the railroad tracks at Casco with his father.
, the Musical" is a heartwarming production of Northern Sky Theater that may be seen under the stars in Peninsula State Park this summer through August 24th; shows at 8:30 pm Mondays and 8 pm Wednesdays and Fridays. For July 4th, the performance begins at 6 pm. For more information, visit northernskytheater.com.
"Traveling down the Tracks" will begin at 1:00 pm on Saturday, June 30, in the Collins Learning Center, adjacent to the Heritage Village at Big Creek, 2041 Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay. This program does not have an admission fee, but a free will offering will be taken to support use of the facility and the Heritage Village at Big Creek.
Heritage Village is open for tours prior to the presentation beginning at 10:00 am and after the presentation until 3:00 pm; the adult admission fee is $6.50. A donation is requested in lieu of a children's admission fee.
The following week's yesteryear program will be July 7 and features a Root Beer Festival & Craft Fair from 10-3, at the Heritage Village at Big Creek.
For more information, contact The Door County Historical Society at (920) 421-2332 or email