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La Baye Fur Trade

Its strategic location between the Mississippi and the Saint Lawrence Rivers made “LaBaye” a logical place for a trader to settle. By the 1720’s bands of voyageur canoes set out each spring from Quebec, the capital of New France, bound for the Northwest with a cargo of French trade goods. Iron pots, axe heads, knives, needles, mirrors, and other metal goods were popular with the woodland tribes who had only used wooden, and bone implements. Flintlock muskets, gunpowder, and shot helped to hunt animals for food, while Native Americans snared the fur bearing animals whose pelts made fine felt hats back in France. A trader at LaBaye could exchange last year’s cargo of metal, guns, cloth fabric, and blankets for a boatload of fine furs which he would take to the “rendezvous” at Mackinac. There in early summer traders from the great Lakes would meet the Montreal brigades who would take their furs back to Quebec in exchange for another winter’s worth of trade goods. The French fur traders were reliant on the native peoples for food, a trade route, hunting grounds, pelts, and companionship. Out of this companionship grew the Meétis culture, a mingling of French fur traders and the Native American culture.


Bark Chapel

Bark chapels were often used until a more permanent religious structure could be built. Traveling Jesuit priests would use these simple bark huts as a place of worship as well as for their dwelling. Original bark chapels were constructed of sapling framework with elm bark. Our replica bark chapel is covered with cedar bark and the architecture reflects the Iroquois long house structure.

Key Facts:

  • Built in 1982, on site.
  • Construction Style: Sapling framework with bark covering.

Fur Trade Cabin

This building represents one of the earliest industries in the area – fur trapping and trading. It is constructed in the French style of piece-on-piece, meaning one log upon the other. Grooved upright logs are set in the ground at the corners, doors, and windows, while horizontal logs are cut to fit and placed on top of each other in the grooves. Cracks in between logs are chinked to keep out the harsh Wisconsin elements. A fun fact about our Fur Trade Cabin is that it was originally found inside a house set to be demolished for construction of the Tilleman Bridge.

Key Facts:

  • Originally built circa 1800
  • Original Location, 739 Adams St. Green Bay, WI.
  • Moved to Heritage Hill in 1975
  • Construction Style: Piece’ sur piece’ en coulisse (Piece on piece, in slide)

Maple Sugaring House

This structure is a replica of one early settlers would have used for making maple syrup. The sweet distilled sap of maple trees was historically used to sweeten foods because sugar was an expensive, hard to obtain, luxury.

Key Facts:

  • Originally built in 1981, on site
  • Construction Style: Log Cabin

Wisconsin’s First Courthouse

This log building was originally used as a granary in Door County, but, set for demolition, was instead moved to Heritage Hill to become a representation of the First Courthouse in Wisconsin.  The inside furnishings were carefully reconstructed from an 1824 Work Order to match original specs of the courthouse’s furnishings. While the building is not the original courthouse, the site is believed to be the true original location, proved by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s informal archaeological dig in 1973. During their excavation, they found a piece of the original courthouse corner stone almost directly under where our building sits now. Many famous early trials took place here, including The Trial of Chief Oshkosh.

Key Facts:

  • Not much is known about the original structure, including date built.
  • Moved to Heritage Hill in 1976
  • Construction Style: Full Log with Dovetail Joints

Wisconsin’s First Courthouse Monument

Construction of Wisconsin’s First Courthouse Monument was completed in 1934 by the Green Bay Reformatory prison inmates, when Heritage Hill’s current property was still part of the Prison Orchard system. The inmates’ labor included mining and prepping the grey granite, quarried in Antigo, Wisconsin, and building the curved stone wall, heavy piece by piece. If you look closely you can see the cornerstone is marked to contain a time capsule to be opened at the monument’s centennial in 2034.

Key Facts:

  • Original Build Date, 1934, onsite (pre-Heritage Hill)
  • Construction Style: Stone and Mortar