Staircase Sketch

It started as an idea when we asked,
"Why isn't there a way to get to the shore?"

Porte des Morts Staircase Project

Porte des Morts Park, (fr. Death's Door) is located on the far north shore of Door County, cleverly hidden at the end of Kenosha Road between Gills Rock and Northport. Before travelers even arrive, they are treated to a drive down the last length of Hwy 42 that ominously weaves back and forth like a snake. This windy picturesque road to Death's Door is the popular subject among both amateur and professional photographers.

Road to Death's Door
The Road to Death's Door
Photo by

Mystery writer, Brian Freeman writes about Porte des Morts Park in his 2011 mystery novel, "The Bone House". In this murder mystery, after a Door County teenage girl is murdered in Florida, the rest of the plot unfolds in and around Door County. And, one of the scenes takes places at Porte des Morts Park.

The Bone House by author Brian Freeman This two acre Liberty Grove owned park sits on a bluff and overlooks the Porte des Morts Passage. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer, Carole E. Barrowman describes it well. "The dangerous strait between Washington Island and the north point of Door County is strewn with shipwrecks and believed to be haunted by the souls of lost sailors and over confident swimmers. French Settlers to the area names it "Porte des Morts", or "Death's Door."

Road to Death's Door

The freighter Wilfred Sykes passes through the
Porte des Morts Passage.
Photo by

Porte des Morts Park is owned and maintained by the Town of Liberty Grove. With ample parking, a picnic table, grill, a beautiful view of the water and minimal enhancements. However, there is no safe way to get to the shore, some 30 feet below.

Our objective is to raise money and assist in the construction of a staircase at the park from the top of the bluff to the shore below.

A staircase to the shore will benefit all park visitors by providing the public with greater shore access. As well as enjoying the park, every visitor can further their experience with the opportunity to hike the shore, geocache, swim, kayak, stand-up paddle, snorkel, scuba dive and see even more of Door County's beauty.

We are determined to raise enough money to pay for surveying, architectural plans, building materials, use of heavy equipment and labor to build.

By purchasing and placing your name on a step of the staircase at Porte des Morts Park, you're support will become an integral part of a real tangible asset and will benefit everyone that looks to enjoy Door County.

A 'Pass Through' fund with the
Door County Community Foundation oversees all money contributed to our project until the planning and building begins.

Porte des Morts Park, Liberty Grove, WI
The view of the water and Washington Island at Porte des Morts Park.

Once constructed, no longer will visitors have to perilously navigate the bluff to the shore. Rendered in 'yellow' in the photo above, the staircase will be designed and built into the bluff to gently blend with the landscape and surrounding natural environment.

For scuba divers, this is a great shore dive. Once on the beach, it's easy to get in the water and get deep quickly.

scuba divers diving off Porte des Morts Park, Liberty Grove, WI
Entering the water from the Porte des Morts shore, Scuba divers discover shipwreck debris at a depth of 75 ft.
Photo by

There's abundant marine life and shipwreck debris to be found. In the summer of 2010, divers found two large ship anchors sitting side by side at a depth of 75 ft.

A staircase will provide safe access to the beach and water. And prevent erosion of the delicate landscape. It makes the park more user friendly to all visitors and Door County residents. Everyone benefits.

We are asking for any financial contribution you can afford for this project that, when finished, will enhance the many wonderful facets that make Door County such a wonderful place to visit.

Please make your check out to:
PDM Staircase Project and send it to: PDM Staircase Project
c/o Door County Community Foundation
P.O. Box 802
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235-0802.

Contact or call John Touscany,
(920) 246-7800 with any ideas or questions about the Project. Thank you for your time and generous contribution.

Porte des Morts Park, Liberty Grove, WI
A view of the point from Porte des Morts Park
Photo by