By Tim Kowols
An Evanston, Ill. family is keeping a close eye on the developments concerning the structure bearing its family’s name. It was Tracy Teweles and her 91-year-old mother Nicole’s relatives that built the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator over a century ago, after the Teweles Seed Company expanded into the area on their way to becoming the second largest forage seed company at the time. The Brandeis family was also well-known, boasting a department store founder, a movie producer, and even a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Both families first came to America to escape religious persecution. The Teweles Seed Company created the world’s first hybrid alfalfa and began other agriculture practices considered innovative for their time. Tracy says not preserving the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator is not just tearing down a historic Sturgeon Bay structure, but a symbol of American and agricultural history.
The family still enjoys seeing symbols of their family’s time in Door County, including a Teweles seed bag in the Washington Island Farm Museum. The Teweles Seed Company was sold in the 1970s after existing for four generations. You can listen to a complete interview with the Teweles family, see historical photos, and read old interviews online with this story.