Gills Rock was originally known as "Hedgehog Harbor," the name given it by Washington Island fisherman and boat builder Amos Lovejoy. In 1855, Lovejoy decided to winter his sloop on the shores of a cove he liked to fish. Over that winter, a family of hedgehogs, also known as porcupines, moved on board. When Lovejoy launched his sloop again in spring, he didn't notice the numerous holes the hedgehogs had chewed in the hull. The boat began taking on water through those holes and Lovejoy was forced to abandon the sloop and come ashore. The cove was "Hedgehog Harbor" until 1870 when it and the settlement on it were renamed Gills Rock in honor of Elias Gill, a prominent lumberer.
At the very tip of the Door County peninsula lies Gills Rock, where a strong tradition of commercial fishing continues today. Gills Rock offers divers the opportunity to explore the many shipwrecks in and around Death's Door. The local maritime museum houses many artifacts from these wrecks and chronicles the fishing industry.
Ferries to Washington Island depart regularly from Gills Rock and nearby Northport Pier.
For more information, contact the Top-of-the-Thumb Association (May through October) at (920) 854-5448.
Map of Gills Rock .