Rock Island Historic Thordarson Estate Boat House

Project Background

Rock Island is a wooded island off the tip of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula at the mouth of Green Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. The uninhabited island is approximately 1.6 miles long and 1.1 miles wide and is almost entirely owned by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which maintains Rock Island State Park. The ten historic buildings on this island were built by Icelandic inventor, Chester Thordarson as part of his summer estate in 1910, and are listed as part of the Thordarson Estate Historic District (NHRP # 85000641). The buildings were uniquely laid with Lake Superior limestone, many with washed, rounded field stones by Icelandic crafts people. They were in need of restoration work to manage some deferred and ongoing maintenance needs.


ICA was retained to design and restoration of the historical 1930 Thordarson Estate Boat House located at Rock Island State Park. This iconic structure was in need of significant exterior repairs across multiple parts of the building. The exterior renovation preserved the historic structure from further deterioration. The Boat House is subject to treacherous weather conditions on the island within Lake Michigan. The project consisted of restoration and/or replacement of all windows and doors, sills and aprons, abatement of all remaining lead paint, repointing and repair of exterior masonry, and assessment and repair of the interior chimney.

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