SPUTNIK IV was launched at Balkanur, USSR, May 14, 1960

sputnikSeveral years later SPUTNIK IV began a slow plunge to Earth. At 4:30 am CST, on September 5, 1962, a piece, 20 cm by 8 cm, landed on the center line of North 8th Street in front of the Rahr-West Art Museum (look for the brass ring in the street). The piece was later returned to the Soviets. Today an exact replica of the SPUTNIK IV fragment is on display at the Rahr-West Art Museum and at the Manitowoc Visitor Information Center, a reminder of a time when space was a new frontier, and Manitowoc was able to briefly share in the mystery and adventure. To commemorate the historic event, Sputnikfest is held in Manitowoc, WI each year in front of the Rahr-West Art Museum.

Read an article from USA Today about the launch of SPUTNIK I (Oct. 4, 2007)

28 Submarines were built in Manitowoc!

sub launchThe Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company holds the unique distinction of being the only inland shipyard to build submarines. The first ship, the USS PETO, was launched sideways into the river, and then proceeded under its own power out into Lake Michigan where its equipment was tested and fine-tuned. On April 30, 1942, the PETO was the first submarine launched in Great Lakes history and became the first of a total of 28 submarines subsequently built at Manitowoc Shipbuilding. The USS RASHER operated in the Pacific Theatre and sunk the second largest amount of enemy tonnage of any U.S. submarine during the war.

Manitowoc is the only city in the country to have streets named after submarines.

street signsCusterdale, at the western city limits, was a federal project for defense workers in Manitowoc. The Division of Defense Housing built 400 houses in Custerdale for shipyard and defense plant workers in World War II. The streets in Custerdale were named after some of the 28 submarines built for the U.S. Navy by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company. Today many of the original units still stand in the Custerdale community and have been modernized.

Two Rivers is the Home of the Ice Cream Sundae!

ice cream sundaeIn 1881 George Hallauer asked the soda fountain owner, Ed Berner, to top a dish of ice cream with a chocolate sauce that was, until then, only used for ice cream sodas. The concoction was only served on Sundays until one day a ten-year-old girl insisted upon having a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce on top, saying “pretend it’s Sunday!” After that, topped ice cream was served daily and became known as the ice cream sundae.


Two Rivers is the final resting place of Lake Michigan’s most famous shipwreck.

On November 23-24, 1912, the fabled “Christmas Tree Ship” disappeared in a storm off the coast of Two Rivers despite the valiant efforts of surfmen, rescuers of the US Life Saving Service, dispatched from Life Boat Station Two Rivers. The ROUSE SIMMONS was known to the people of Chicago as the “Christmas Tree Ship,” because each November, Captain Herman Schunemann brought fresh-cut evergreens down the lake from Thompson, Michigan, to sell from the SIMMONS’ berth at the Clark Street Pier in Chicago. In the years after the ROUSE SIMMONS loss, clues surfaced as to her final resting place. Two Rivers’ commercial fishermen sometimes pulled up old evergreen trees in their nets. In 1971, a Milwaukee diver located the shipwreck about eight miles off Rawley Point Lighthouse and Two Rivers. Today, artifacts from the ship can be viewed at the Rogers Street Fishing Village Museum in Two Rivers.

Manitowoc has something in common with Sponge Bob?

Manitowoc native, Carson Kugler, is a storyboard artist for the hit Nickelodeon Cartoon, “SpongeBob SquarePants.” He is considered a “hometown celebrity” and is currently the artist-in-residence in the Manitowoc school system.

When did Henry B. Burger begin building vessels in Manitowoc?


How many cranes does Manitowoc Cranes, Inc. have working worldwide?

Over 7000