LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

History of Anderson Dock, a not-so-hidden gem in Door County

From the Local 5 Digital Desk

EPHRAIM, Wis. (WFRV) – The secret to capturing the perfect photo is finding the right backdrop. In the small town of Ephraim is one of Wisconsin’s most hidden gems, Anderson Dock.

Commonly known as “good graffiti,” the building is covered in bright, colorful signatures and handprints by families, couples, and everyone in between. The dock is quite popular with couples who have marked important dates in their relationship like a first date or wedding anniversary.

“I put our initials, my husband and I. KK and LK with a heart around it, and the year 2021. We’re celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary In November,” says Karen Karris.

Similar to the Lock Bridge in Paris, the dock is sort of a cultural symbol in Door County. With the growing popularity of photo-sharing apps, Anderson Dock has become a premier photo destination in Northeast Wisconsin.

“It makes for a great picture and with people’s phones nowadays, everyone wants to get a good picture,” says Cody Schreck, curator and collections manager at the Ephraim Historical Foundation.

Anderson Dock holds a special place in the Savides family’s heart. Mike and Katherine Savides took their engagement, wedding, and maternity photos there.

“The plan is definitely to keep it going. I don’t think that was the plan, to begin with, it just kind of happened that way naturally. Getting engaged is such a big moment of your life and it was such an ideal, beautiful setting. You know, taking our wedding photos there, the next natural step was to take some maternity photos there, and we’ve already talked about taking family photos there,” says Katherine.

The tradition of signing Anderson Dock isn’t new. It dates back to the 1880s when it was used to announce boats docked at Eagle Harbor’s Anderson Dock.

“The tradition of graffiti on the actual building goes back to boaters and sailors who would come dock here and they would put the name of their boat and the year they were docking on the side,” says Schreck.

Anderson Dock has seen many revisions in its lifetime. The building that stands today isn’t the original building.

“At certain points, this was also a silent movie theater for Ephraim, so it accommodated what Ephraim needed throughout history as that history changed,” says Schreck.

Today, Anderson Dock is home to the Francis Hardy Gallery, which houses some of the most popular gallery exhibitions in Door County.

The Ephraim Historical Society is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1949, whose mission is to preserve, sustain, and share the history, culture, and beauty of Ephraim. For more information on the Ephraim Historical Foundation, click here.

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