Manitowoc, industrial city (1990 pop. 32,520), seat of Manitowoc co., E Wis., a port of entry on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River; inc. 1870. Its shipbuilding industry dates from 1847; submarines were made there in World War II. Among the city's varied manufactures are electrical and transportation equipment, malt, foods, toys, metal products, and yachts. The North West Company established a trading post on the site in 1795. Manitowoc and its twin city, Two Rivers, were founded in 1836. Silver Lake College of the Holy Family and a maritime museum are located in the city.

Manitowoc is a city in and the county seat of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States. 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 people, and over 50,000 people in the surrounding communities. Its Japanese sister city is Kamogawa.


The name Manitowoc is derived from the Ojibwe name Munedoowk, meaning habitation of the good spirit. In 1838, an act of the Territorial Legislature separated Manitowoc County out of Brown County, keeping the native name for the region.

In 1820 Matthew Stanley was the first to settle in the area with his wife. 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 3 August 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. The first school in Manitowoc was held in the Jones warehouse, with S.M. Peake instructing the twelve children of the community. The first religious organization in the county, St. James' Episcopal Church, first met in 1841. Manitowoc was chartered as a village on 6 March 1851. On 12 March 1870 incorporated as a city.

In 1847, Joseph Edwards build the first schooner in the area, the Citizen, a modest precursor to the shipbuilding industry which produced schooners and clippers used for fishing and trading in the Great Lakes and beyond the St. Lawrence Seaway. In addition, landing craft, tankers and submarines became the local contributions to U.S. efforts in World War II. Manitowoc was the landing site of a piece of Sputnik IV on September 5, 1962.

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

The mayor of Manitowoc is Kevin Crawford, a Democrat, serving his 6th term since being elected in 1989. The city also has a 10 member common council.

Since the late 1990s several new shopping centers have opened in the city, mostly on the south west 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.


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, 35 minutes away, Sheboygan 25 minutes away, Appleton 60 minutes away, and Milwaukee 90 minutes 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).

Points of interest

  • 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 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.


As of the census 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/sq mi (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.


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-person pastoral team lead by Father Dan Felton. In a 2005 article about the merger in the Herald Times Reporter the paper reported that the city has roughly 22,000 Roman Catholics.



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.

''See also: List of radio stations in Sheboygan/Manitowoc

Health care

The Manitowoc area is served by two main medical groups:

  • Holy Family Memorial Medical Center with 3 main care campuses, including two emergency rooms and one trauma center, a state of the art Cancer Care Center run in partnership with the University of Wisconsin, and over two dozen clinics in the county.
  • Aurora Health Care with 1 main campus, and several dozen health clinics throughout the county.


The city of Manitowoc has a unified public school district in the Manitowoc Public School District which includes

  • Lincoln High School with more than 1,400 students in grades 10-12.
  • Mckinley Alternative High school with nearly 100 students in grades 9-12.
  • Washington Junior High School with more than 700 students in grades 7-9.
  • Wilson Junior High School with more than 700 students in grades 7-9.
  • Jackson Elementary School with more than 500 students in grades 1-6.
  • Riverview School with more than 500 students in CESA 7 Headstart through Kindergarten.
  • Jefferson Elementary School with more than 400 Students in grades 1-6.
  • Monroe Elementary School with more than 350 students in grades 1-6.
  • Franklin Elementary School with more than 350 students in grades 1-6.
  • Stangel Elementary School with more than 350 students in grades 1-6.
  • Madison Elementary School with nearly 250 students in grades 1-6.

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

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

Notable businesses

  • 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, shipbuilding and food service industries.
  • The city is also the world headquarters of Lakeside Foods Company.
  • Burger Boat Company, the oldest custom yacht builder in America is located in Manitowoc and produces 2-3 yachts per year.

Notable people


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 paved recreational trail running along the shore of Lake Michigan between the cities of Manitowoc and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Several major highways serve the city including:

In popular culture


External links

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