Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Manitowoc, Wisconsin
—  City  —

Nickname(s): Wisconsin's Maritime Capital,[1] The Port City, Manty.
Manitowoc is located in Wisconsin
Location within the state of Wisconsin
Coordinates: 44°5′47″N 87°40′30″W / 44.09639°N 87.675°W / 44.09639; -87.675Coordinates: 44°5′47″N 87°40′30″W / 44.09639°N 87.675°W / 44.09639; -87.675
Country United States
State Wisconsin
County Manitowoc
 - Mayor Justin Nickels
 - Total 17.2 sq mi (44.5 km2)
 - Land 16.9 sq mi (43.7 km2)
 - Water 0.3 sq mi (0.8 km2)
Population (2000)
 - Total 34,053
 - Density 1,982/sq mi (765.2/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes
FIPS code
GNIS feature ID

Manitowoc (play /ˈmænɨtəwɒk/) is a city in and the county seat of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States.[2] The city is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. According to the 2000 census, Manitowoc had a population of 34,053, with over 50,000 residents in the surrounding communities. The city participates in international town twinning with the Japanese city of Kamogawa.



Purported to mean dwelling of the spirit, Manitowoc derived its name from either the Anishinaabe language word manidoowaak(wag), meaning spirit-spawn(s), or manidoowaak(oog), meaning spirit-wood(s).[3] In 1838, an act of the Territorial Legislature separated Manitowoc County from Brown County, keeping the native name for the region.[4][5]

In 1820, Matthew Stanley and his wife were the first to settle in the area.[citation needed]. In 1835, President Andrew Jackson authorized land sales for the region, drawing the interest of land speculators. William Jones and Louis Fizette were the two first recorded buyers on August 3, 1835, with the majority of the land being procured by the Chicago firm Jones, King, & Co. Benjamin Jones, brother of William, took the Wisconsin property as his share and is considered the founder of Manitowoc. Early immigrant groups included Germans, Norwegians, British, Irish, and Canadians.[6] The first school in Manitowoc was held in the Jones warehouse, with S. M. Peake instructing the twelve children of the community.[7] The first religious organization in the county, St. James' Episcopal Church, first met in 1841.[8] Manitowoc was chartered as a village on March 6, 1851[5] and on March 12, 1870 was incorporated as a city.[5]

In 1847, Joseph Edwards built the first schooner in the area, the Citizen, a modest precursor to the shipbuilding industry that produced schooners and clippers used for fishing and trading in the Great Lakes and beyond the St. Lawrence River.[9] In addition, landing craft, tankers and submarines became the local contributions to U.S. efforts in World War II.

Disk marks location of the Sputnik 4 impact

On September 5, 1962, a 20-pound (9.1 kg) piece of the 7-ton Sputnik 4 crashed on North 8th Street. Sputnik 4 was a USSR satellite, part of the Sputnik program and a test-flight of the Vostok spacecraft that would be used for the first human spaceflight. It was launched on May 15, 1960. A bug in the guidance system had pointed the capsule in the wrong direction, so instead of dropping into the atmosphere the satellite moved into a higher orbit. It re-entered the atmosphere on or about September 5, 1962.[10][11] A cast was made from the original piece before the Soviets claimed it, and the cast was displayed at the Rahr West Art Museum.[12] A customer in a nearby art gallery jokingly suggested that the city should hold a festival to celebrate the crash.[11] The city held the first Sputnikfest in 2008, which was organized by the head of both museums.[11]

Manitowoc is home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, and is one endpoint of the ferry route of the SS Badger, which connects U.S. Route 10 to Ludington, Michigan.

Since the late 1990s several new shopping centers have opened in the city, mostly on the southwest side of the city along Interstate 43, including the new Harbor Town Center shopping complex. The downtown area has also seen a resurgence, with several new restaurants opening, and the recent announcement of new $100,000+ condominiums on the Manitowoc river, along with a completion of the riverwalk trail. The bulk of the redevelopment in the city has been undertaken by the public/private partnership the Manitowoc County Economic Development Corporation.

President Obama visited Manitowoc on Jan. 26, 2011, the day after his State of the Union speech. He spoke to workers at Orion Energy, a manufacturer of solar technology, and praised Manitowoc for reinventing itself after one of the city's largest employers left in 2003.


Capitol Civic Centre

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 17.2 square miles (44.5 km²), of which, 16.9 square miles (43.7 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (1.86%) is water.

The city is located at 044° 5' 47" N 087° 40' 30" W, on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River.

The nearest other cities are Green Bay, 40 miles (64 km) away, Sheboygan 28 miles (45 km) away, Appleton 47 miles (76 km) away, and Milwaukee 80 miles (130 km) away. Together with Two Rivers and the surrounding towns, the Manitowoc micropolitan area was, according to the 2000 census, home to 52,197 people. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Manitowoc Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Manitowoc County (2000 population: 82,887).


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 34,053 people, 14,235 households, and 8,811 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,018.8 people per square mile (779.4/km²). There were 15,007 housing units at an average density of 889.7 per square mile (343.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.13% White, 0.59% Black or African American, 0.55% Native American, 3.77% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 0.99% from two or more races. 2.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,235 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,203, and the median income for a family was $47,635. Males had a median income of $35,176 versus $22,918 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,954. About 5.0% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


City hall

The city government consists of a mayor who is elected at large. The current mayor is Justin Nickels.[14] The city council consists of 10 members who are elected from single member districts.

Business and industry

  • The Manitowoc Company that is based in the town grew out of the shipbuilding industry and is a diversified manufacturer with interests in the construction and food service industries.
  • The city is also the world headquarters of Lakeside Foods Company, and Bio-Blend Fuels.
  • Burger Boat Company, the oldest custom yacht builder in America [15] is located in Manitowoc and produces 2-3 yachts per year.

Health care

Holy Family Medical Center
Aurora Medical Center

The Manitowoc area is served by two main medical groups:

  • Holy Family Memorial Medical Center with an inpatient medical center including an emergency room, a state of the art Cancer Care Center as part of the Regional Cancer Collaborative made up of nine regional hospitals fighting cancer in NE Wisconsin, a Heart and Vascular Center, regional orthopaedic services, retail pharmacies, a home medical supply retail store, medically based wellness center, state of the art rehab facility, and more than 15 clinics in the county.
  • Aurora Health Care with 1 main campus in Two Rivers, and several dozen health clinics throughout the county.


The city of Manitowoc is served by the Manitowoc Public School District, a unified public school district that includes:

  • Lincoln High School (over 1,400 students in grades 10-12)
  • McKinley Alternative High school (nearly 60 students in grades 9-12)
  • Washington Junior High School (over 700 students in grades 7-9)
  • Wilson Junior High School (over 700 students in grades 7-9)
  • Jackson Elementary School (over 500 students in grades 1-6)
  • Riverview School (over 500 students in CESA 7 Headstart through Kindergarten)
  • Jefferson Elementary School (over 400 Students in grades 1-6)
  • Monroe Elementary School (over 350 students in grades 1-6)
  • Franklin Elementary School (over 350 students in grades 1-6)
  • Stangel Elementary School (over 350 students in grades 1-6)
  • Madison Elementary School (students in grades 1-6).

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Parish maintains three Catholic Pre-K-8 schools in the city, while also managing Roncalli High School, with more than 300 students in grades 9-12. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod maintains Manitowoc Lutheran High School with approximately 250 students in grades 9-12.

The city has three colleges and universities within its limits, including:



  • Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter—Daily Newspaper Owned by Gannett Newspapers.
  • Lakeshore Chronicle—Printed on Sundays and Wednesdays only.
  • The Local Opinion—Local free op-ed paper.

Television and radio

Manitowoc is part of the Green Bay, Wisconsin Television market, although it is not uncommon for residents to receive stations from the Milwaukee, Wisconsin television market. At the current time no television stations broadcast out of Manitowoc, however WGBA-TV has a local bureau in the city, and WFRV-TV has a special content agreement with the Herald Times Reporter.

Comcast holds the city's cable franchise, and the city has the only presence of Comcast in all of Eastern Wisconsin.

Manitowoc is also a part of the Sheboygan/Manitowoc Arbitron radio market.


The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity have their mother house in Manitowoc.

In 2005 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Green Bay merged several Catholic parishes in the city into one parish, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, with a 4-man pastoral team led by Father Dan Felton. In 2005, the Herald Times Reporter reported that the city has roughly 22,000 Roman Catholics.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod is a significant religion in the city with four large churches and Manitowoc Lutheran High School. Two additional Wisconsin Synod churches are outside the city limits with a Manitowoc address. First German Lutheran is the oldest, dating to 1848.

Points of interest

Rahr West Art Museum
  • The Rahr West Art Museum is housed in a 19th century mansion near downtown Manitowoc. Donated by the Rahr family in 1941 for use as a community civic art center, it has been since expanded numerous times. The Museum currently houses art ranging from the 15th-21st centuries, with paintings, sculptures, and a preserved Victorian home in its possession.
  • The Wisconsin Maritime Museum was founded in 1970 as the Manitowoc Submarine Memorial Association, and has since grown to be one of the largest nautical museums in the country; it has recently been granted affiliation status with the Smithsonian. It has over 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) of interactive and standing exhibits exploring maritime history with a particular emphasis on the Great Lakes. Perhaps the Museum's crown jewel however is the World War Two era USS Cobia, an authentic combat submarine similar to those built in Manitowoc during the war. There are daily tours of the vessel, which is moored in Manitowoc's harbor, allowing visitors a look at Manitowoc's role in the war and building 28 submarines for the U.S. Navy.
  • The Lincoln Park Zoo is a year round zoo and is part of the Manitowoc Parks and Recreation Department.[16] The Lincoln Park Zoo has tours and educational programs available for small and large groups.


S.S. Badger leaving its port in Manitowoc

Public Transportation in the city been provided by Maritime Metro Transit since 1978, covering both Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin. MMT currently has a fleet of 12 buses serving over 40 stops on 8 routes.

Commercial, charter, and cargo air transportation is available through the Manitowoc County Airport.

Manitowoc is the western port for the S.S. Badger ferry, that crosses Lake Michigan to Ludington, Michigan. The ferry ride is part of the route of U.S. Route 10.

The Manitowoc Mariners Trail is a 5.5-mile (8.9 km) paved recreational trail running along the shore of Lake Michigan between the cities of Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.


US 151.svg
U.S. 151 Southbound, US 151 routes to Chilton, Wisconsin.
I-43 Northbound routes to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Southbound, routes to Sheboygan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
WIS 42.svg
WIS 42 travels south to Howards Grove, Wisconsin and north to Sturgeon Bay, Two Rivers and Kewaunee, Wisconsin.
US 10.svg
US 10 travels east across Lake Michigan via car ferry to Ludington, Michigan, and west to Appleton, Wisconsin.

Notable people

Entries on this list are demonstrably notable by having a linked current article to verify they are notable and define themselves as from Manitowoc, Wisconsin.


  1. ^ Muench, David "Wisconsin Community Slogans: Their Use and Local Impacts", December 1993. Retrieved April 9, 2008.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Manitowoc" in Dictionary of Wisconsin History
  4. ^ "Chapter II: The Indians", A History of Manitowoc County, Ralph G. Plumb, 1904.
  5. ^ a b c "History", City of Manitowoc site. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
  6. ^ "Chapter III: Early Settlement", A History of Manitowoc County, Ralph G. Plumb, 1904.
  7. ^ "Chapter XIII: Education", A History of Manitowoc County, Ralph G. Plumb, 1904.
  8. ^ "Episcopal and Methodist Episcopal Churches", A History of Manitowoc County, Ralph G. Plumb, 1904.
  9. ^ "Chapter VI: Marine", A History of Manitowoc County, Ralph G. Plumb, 1904.
  10. ^ Sputnik Crashed Here, Manitowoc, Wisconsin
  11. ^ a b c Mathews, Charlie (September 7, 2008). "Having a blast with the past at festival". Herald Times Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  12. ^ "Sputnik Crashed Here". Roadside America. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ NAUTICALweb - Burger 113 Expedition Top Times
  16. ^ "Manitowoc, WI - Official Website - Parks and Recreation". Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  17. ^ "Stoney McGlynn Statistics and History". Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  18. ^ Doug Sterner (1944-12-12). "Wisconsin Medal of Honor Recipients". Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  19. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Randall to Randol". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  20. ^ "Karl L. Rankin". 1997-01-27. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  21. ^ Lawrence Kestenbaum. "Index to Politicians: Scacco to Schafe". The Political Graveyard. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  22. ^

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