Term: Belgian Settlement in Wisconsin (Historic Marker Erected 1993)
Hwy. 57, Namur, Door County
Wisconsin's and the nation's largest Belgian American settlement is located in portions of Brown, Kewaunee and Door counties adjacent to the waters of Green Bay. Walloon-speaking Belgians settled the region in the 1850s and still constitute a high proportion of the population. A variety of elements attests to the Belgian American presence: place names (Brussels, Namur, Rosiere, Luxemburg), a local French patois, common surnames, unique foods (boohyah, tripper jutt), the Kerrniss harvest festival, and especially architecture. Many of the original wooden structures of the Belgian Americans were destroyed in a firestorm that swept across southern Door County in October 1871. A few stone houses made of local dolomite survived. More common are 1880s red brick houses, distinguished by modest size and gable-end, bull's-eye windows. Some houses have detached summer kitchens with bake ovens appended to the rear. And the Belgians, many of them devout Catholics, also erected small roadside votive chapels like those in their homeland.
[Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]