United Fruit Growers Company

Door County Tourist Industry Pioneers

The evolution of Horseshoe Bay Farms starts in an unexpected way – with the creation of a Property Development entity called United Fruit Growers Company. The company was formed to develop a piece of property north of Murphy Park. The Board of Governors included two members from a prominent Midwestern lumbering family, the Murphy’s.

Land acquisition started around 1914 and the entity acquired several hundred acres on the Green Bay shore front and up on the bluff overlooking Green Bay. The land was cleared, which included the removal and sale of remaining Horseshoe Bay Settlement buildings, trees were planted, a large dock constructed, and a wonderful bathing beach was perfected. In keeping with the company name, over 100 acres of orchards were planted in near ideal soil on the bluff overlooking the development.

The plan was to develop a private Country Club and summer home development. The Club would provide swimming, fishing, boating, tennis,  a baseball field and, most importantly, a golf course. Over 8,300 shore feet were platted into lots. Sales offices were established in Sturgeon Bay & Green Bay. The plan was to sell an initial 200 lots to get the venture off the ground and build the golf course.

A guest house for prospects and home owners, Cherry Lodge, was built and Frank Murphy constructed his summer home on the property in 1916. A spectacular clubhouse followed.

 

… it’s buildings and especially the clubhouse are so original in design. It is different than anybody has ever seen before. No attempt has been made to do without.”(Door County Advocate, 1917)

Horseshoe Bay Country Club

A promotional brochure extolling the benefits of becoming a Horseshoe Bay Country Club member was developed, with pictures and a sales pitch intended to attract discriminating buyers. Excerpts from the brochure follow.

Door County: The California of the North.”

A Vacation Triumph: A permanent summer home for discriminating people who may enjoy the exclusiveness of their own neighborhood… and all of the sports of the great outdoors.”

“A membership is distinctive and confers distinction on those who become members. No members are accepted unless their characters are the best. They should have the highest morals, culture and taste and appreciation of the better things in life.”