Two Rivers, Wisconsin

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Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Two Rivers Sign.jpg
"The Coolest Spot in Wisconsin"[1] "The Cool City"[2] "TR" or "Trivers" "Carp Town"[3]
"Catch our friendly waves"
Location of Two Rivers in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
Location of Two Rivers in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
Two Rivers, Wisconsin is located in Wisconsin
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Location in the state of Wisconsin
Coordinates: 44°9′18″N 87°34′35″W / 44.15500°N 87.57639°W / 44.15500; -87.57639Coordinates: 44°9′18″N 87°34′35″W / 44.15500°N 87.57639°W / 44.15500; -87.57639
Country United States
State Wisconsin
 • Total6.49 sq mi (16.82 km2)
 • Land6.04 sq mi (15.66 km2)
 • Water0.45 sq mi (1.17 km2)
 • Total11,712
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,826.77/sq mi (705.26/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code920
FIPS code55-81325

Two Rivers is a city in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 11,712 at the 2010 census. It is the birthplace of the ice cream sundae[7] (though other cities, such as Ithaca, New York, make the same claim[8]). The city's advertising slogan is "Catch our friendly waves" as it is located along Lake Michigan.


A post office called Two Rivers has been in operation since 1848.[9] The city was named from its location at the confluence of the Mishicot and Neshota rivers,[10] now known as the East Twin and West Twin Rivers, respectively.


The East Twin and West Twin rivers meet at the Two Rivers harbor before journeying into Lake Michigan.

Two Rivers derives its name from the East Twin River and the West Twin River which meet in the city less than a mile from their outflows at Lake Michigan. Two Rivers is located at 44°9′17″N 87°34′35″W / 44.15472°N 87.57639°W / 44.15472; -87.57639 (44.154928, −87.57642).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.49 square miles (16.81 km2), of which, 6.09 square miles (15.77 km2) is land and 0.40 square miles (1.04 km2) is water.[12]



Two Rivers, Wisconsin lies within the humid continental climate zone, modified by its close proximity to Lake Michigan. This gives the city more moderate temperatures and lesser extremes compared to its inland counterparts. The lake influence also gives Two Rivers a greater seasonal lag than places farther away from the lakeshore, with warmer Septembers and cooler Marches than the rest of the state; for instance, September, with a mean temperature of 60 °F (16 °C) is only 1 degree Fahrenheit cooler than June's 61 °F (16 °C), whereas Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a few tens of miles inland at a similar latitude, has a September that is 8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than June.

The Köppen classification for the town is Dfb, often described as a cool summer humid continental climate, characterized by the coldest month's mean being below −3 °C (27 °F), the persistent snowpack line, and with 4 or more months above 10 °C (50 °F), but no month above 22 °C (72 °F).

Climate data for Two Rivers, Wisconsin (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1950–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 53
Average high °F (°C) 27.3
Daily mean °F (°C) 19.6
Average low °F (°C) 12.0
Record low °F (°C) −28
Average precipitation inches (mm) 1.78
Average snowfall inches (cm) 14.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.5 7.9 8.7 11.0 11.6 11.1 10.6 9.6 9.7 10.7 9.4 8.5 118.3
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 5.9 4.9 2.4 0.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.2 4.2 19.6
Source: NOAA[13][14]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)11,041[6]−5.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
Two Rivers Fire Department

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2010, there were 11,712 people, 5,119 households, and 3,156 families living in the city. The population density was 1,923.2 inhabitants per square mile (742.6/km2). There were 5,698 housing units at an average density of 935.6 per square mile (361.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 79.5% White, 8.5% African American, 3.8% Native American, 5.4% Asian, 1.7% from other races, and 7.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.9% of the population.

There were 5,119 households, of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.3% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.86.

The median age in the city was 43.4 years. 21.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23% were from 25 to 44; 29.3% were from 45 to 64; and 18.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.9% male and 51.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

According to the census[16] of 2000, there were 12,639 people, 5,221 households, and 3,414 families living in the city. The population density was 2,230.1 people per square mile (860.7/km2). There were 5,547 housing units at an average density of 978.7 per square mile (377.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.74% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 2.22% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 1.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,221 households, out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 25.6% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 22.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $39,701, and the median income for a family was $48,241. Males had a median income of $35,378 versus $23,605 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,908. About 4.2% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 5.9% of those age 65 or over.


City hall

The city has a city manager-council form of government. The city manager is Greg Buckley, who has held the position since August 1995.


Two Rivers High School

Two Rivers has two public elementary schools, Koenig and Magee, and one parochial school: St. John's Lutheran (WELS). St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic grade school closed after the 2013–2014 school year.

The city's middle school, L. B. Clarke, serves students in fifth through eighth grade. The school was named for Charlton Heston's father-in-law, who helped fund the school; both Heston and his wife Lydia have visited the school.[citation needed]

Two Rivers is served by Two Rivers High School, built in 2002 to replace the now-demolished Washington High School. The school houses a photography darkroom and a television broadcast room for hands-on experience. The high school's daily announcements are broadcast by students on the city's public access television channel. The school's sports include swimming, football, track and field, baseball, soccer, and others. Some students from Two Rivers also attend Roncalli High School and Manitowoc Lutheran High School in nearby Manitowoc.



Television and radio[edit]

Two Rivers is part of the Green Bay, Wisconsin television market, as well as the Green Bay Nielsen radio market. The city is home to WCUB-AM and WEMP-FM. Towers and studio are located elsewhere. Charter Communications provides cable service for the city.

Ice cream sundae[edit]

There is some debate between Ithaca, New York and Two Rivers over which city has the right to claim the title "birthplace of the ice cream sundae." When Ithaca mayor Carolyn K. Peterson proclaimed a day to celebrate her city as the birthplace of the sundae, she received postcards from Two Rivers' citizens reiterating that town's claim.[17] Ithaca retaliated with an ad called "Got Proof?" in the Two Rivers newspaper.

Two Rivers' claim is based on the story of George Hallauer asking Edward C. Berners, the owner of Berners' Soda Fountain, to drizzle chocolate syrup over ice cream in 1881. Berners eventually did and wound up selling the treat for a nickel, originally only on Sundays, but later every day. According to this story, the spelling changed when a glass salesman ordered canoe-shaped dishes. When Berners died in 1939, the Chicago Tribune headlined his obituary "Man Who Made First Ice Cream Sundae Is Dead."[7][18]

Professional football[edit]

During the 1930s and 1940s, Two Rivers was home to training camps for numerous professional football teams. The city's cool weather, athletic facilities, and general hospitality of the town's people helped lure the teams. Washington High School, The J.E. Hamilton Community House, and Walsh Field were used for practices and meetings, while teams stayed at the Hamilton Hotel. The teams included the now defunct Columbus Bullies AFL in 1940 and the Chicago Rockets AAFC in 1947. Two Rivers also hosted the National Football League's Pittsburgh Pirates, now known as the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1939 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1941 and 1942.[19]

Points of interest[edit]

The Historic Washington House
The J.E. Hamilton Community House
Civil War Memorial Statue. City Hall and Hamilton Manufacturing in the background.
Civil War Memorial Statue plaque.
  • Lester Public Library provides book collections, programming, and access to the Internet.
  • The Bernard Schwartz House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, is open to visitors as an overnight rental and has periodic public tours.
  • The Historic Washington House is free and open to the public. The old inn and saloon is now an ice cream parlor and museum operated by volunteers. It provides historical information about the area. The top floor houses a ballroom with a mural-painted ceiling and a stage for live performances. The ballroom also functions as a used book store.
  • The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is free and open to the public. It is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. Housed in the factory that was once the nation's largest producer of wood type, the museum has a collection of over 1.5 million pieces in more than 1,000 styles.
  • Point Beach State Forest and Park is accessible all year. Trails are available for hiking, biking, skiing, and enjoying the natural environment. Campgrounds are also available. Visitors can access some of Lake Michigan's beach fronts from the state park. The park is also home to the Rawley Point Light which at 111 feet is the tallest lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The Point Beach Ridges, a topographical feature inside the park, were designated a Wisconsin State Natural Area in 1971 and a Natural National Landmark in 1980.
  • Woodland Dunes Nature Center
  • The Rogers Street Fishing Village is a maritime museum which includes the old Two Rivers Light, moved there from its original location at the end of one of the harbor breakwaters.
  • Point Beach Nuclear Plant is located just north of the city.
  • The Rouse Simmons, a three masted schooner that was the basis for the musical The Christmas Schooner, sank off the coast of Two Rivers, near Rawley Point, in 1912. It was later discovered by a diver in 1971.


Two Rivers two popular beaches.

  • Neshotah Beach is a sand beach on Lake Michigan with areas for swimming, volleyball, and launching jet skis and kayaks. Neshotah also has a softball field, volleyball and basketball courts, playgrounds, the Rawley Point bike trail, horseshoe pits, and picnic areas with tables and grills. The Beach House is home to a bathhouse/changing area, restrooms and a concession stand. Shelters in the park can be rented for private parties & picnics. There are shelters in the park (2), at the beach and at the horseshoe pits. Neshotah Beach hosts one of the largest kite festivals in the Midwest: Kites Over Lake Michigan,[20] held every Labor Day weekend.
  • North Pier Beach is a newly formed beach by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that pumped 67,000 cubic yards of sand from Lake Michigan to the shore.

Notable people[edit]





  1. ^ Pawlitzke, Mary (1978). The Two Rivers Story. Denmark, Wisconsin: Brown County Publishing Co. p. 2.
  2. ^ Pawlitzke, Mary (1978). The Two Rivers Story. Denmark, Wisconsin: Brown County Publishing Co. p. 10.
  3. ^ Hodgson, Cindy (2010-05-21). "Fishing contest will include new Carp Fest set for June 5, 6". Herald Times Reporter. Archived from the original on 2013-04-13. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
  4. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  6. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Two Rivers – The REAL Birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae". Two Rivers Economic Development. Retrieved 2007-06-26.
  8. ^ Michael Turback (2004). "Ithaca's Gift to the World". Retrieved 2007-06-26. The author is an Ithaca resident.
  9. ^ "Manitowoc County". Jim Forte Postal History. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ Chicago and North Western Railway Company (1908). A History of the Origin of the Place Names Connected with the Chicago & North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railways. p. 132.
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  13. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "Station: Two Rivers, WI". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  15. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  17. ^ Laura Zaichkin, "Sundae wars continue between Ithaca and Two Rivers", Ithaca Journal, June 30, 2006
  18. ^ "Man Who Made First Ice Cream Sundae Is Dead". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1939-07-02. p. 1.
  19. ^ "JS Online: Years ago, Wisconsin was truly the 'Big Cheese'". Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
  20. ^ "2019 Kites over Lake Michigan".

External links[edit]