Friday, January 12, 2007

Seeking permanence

In 1853, a group of Moravians, led by Pastor Andreas Iverson, left Green Bay, Wisconsin and sailed north to form a religious community. The party landed in a quiet harbor on the western shore of what is now Door County, Wiconsin and built a town they named Ephraim, a biblical name which means “doubly fruitful.” After Pastor Iverson and his followers struggled through two harsh winters, the community began to flourish, living up to its name.

In the late 1860s a businessman named Aslag Anderson built a dock which eventually included a warehouse, barn and general store. Ephraim, Wisconsin became a commercial hub, yet still maintained its religious values. The dock and its buildings still stand, and have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, the warehouse building is covered with the names of the boats that have moored at the dock over the years. Some of the inscriptions date back to the 1940s. I captured this image of a corner of the warehouse on a cold winter evening as the sun slid behind Eagle Bluff on the opposite side of the harbor.

Hundreds of people have left their inscriptions on the warehouse as a remembrance of their presence here at one time. I think we all seek some measure of permanence in this transitory world, some indication that our lives were worth the trouble, reaching for something bigger than ourselves.

Not unlike that group of Moravians in 1853.

Click on picture to enlarge. Photograph © 2007 James Jordan.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Dang it James. You are a philosopher in addition to a great photographer. I think we all want to know that however we fit into the big picture, we indeed do matter. As I have said before, I think my most remarkable contribution so far is my two sons. Course, I'm not done yet.