In 1927, Marilyn Färdig’s grandparents, Andrew and Esther Färdig, purchased twenty acres of land in Ephraim, Wisconsin, and started a cherry orchard. With the help of their seven children and workers from a variety of locations, including the southern United States, Mexico, and Jamaica, Andrew and Esther operated the orchard until their deaths in 1958.
By that time, the Färdig’s cherry trees approached the end of their producing lifespan of about thirty years, which contributed to the family’s decision to close the orchard.
This white t-shirt, with “Cherryland” and a decorative cherry design in red, was sold in the 1940s, and is part of the broader history of the cherry industry in Door County, Wisconsin. This shirt was made for a small child, but the same item was available in other sizes to promote tourism in the region. Marilyn Färdig, whose grandparent’s owned a cherry orchard in Door County, wore the shirt as a child. Her name is written on a sewn tag inside the shirt. No other identifying marks or tags are present.
Door County’s “Cherryland” moniker appeared in print as early as 1914. The term gained popularity when the Door County Chamber of Commerce printed and distributed stickers with the phrase “Cherryland Door County Wisconsin” in 1927.
Written by Emily Irwin, July 2017
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Object courtesy of Ephraim Historical Foundation