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  • Deborah Kade

Two Rivers, Wisconsin



Michael and I were invited to his cousin Katie's high school graduation party. It was so enjoyable to be able to catch up with family and attend her celebration.

I love taking landscape and animal pictures but I don't like taking pictures of people. Can't figure out the reason, though. I did capture a few great pictures of the kids eating their cupcakes. I think blue frosting covering their faces and tongues made for great pictures.

Michael and I stayed at the Lighthouse Inn. We had the corner room on the second floor. We had a beautiful view of Lake Michigan! We were told this area had been experiencing quite a bit of rain as of late. We could tell from the brown strip of water extending into the lake.

Michael and I met a very nice couple from Wilmette, Illinois. They journey up quite often to Two Rivers to stay at the Lighthouse Inn. They just adore this area and the peace and tranquility of the lake.

For me, this was the first time I saw pelicans in Two Rivers. I'm assuming they were the white pelican which is one of the largest North American birds. The white pelicans we saw were majestic in the air. The birds soar with incredible steadiness on broad, white-and-black wings. Their large heads and huge, heavy bills give them a prehistoric look. On the water they dip their pouched bills to scoop up fish, or tip-up like an oversized dabbling duck. Sometimes, groups of pelicans work together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding. I did take some pictures of this happening.

Two Rivers, Wisconsin is a town of about 12,000 people in Manitowoc County. The town was named from its location at the confluence of the Mishicott and Neshota Rivers, now known as the East Twin and West Twin Rivers. Two Rivers derives its name from the East Twin River and the West Twin River which meet in the town less than a mile from their outflows at Lake Michigan.

The town's slogan is "Catch our Friendly Waves" as it is located along Lake Michigan.

Do you enjoy an ice cream sundae on a hot summer day? Well, Berners' Soda Fountain in the Historic Washington House is the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. However, the people of Ithaca, New York also make the same claim. I'm going with Two Rivers.

There are many things to do and see in Two Rivers. For example:

The Bernard Schwartz House, which was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is open to visitors as an overnight rental.

The Historic Washington House was an old inn and saloon. It 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 Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum 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 Park has trails for hiking, biking and skiing. Campgrounds are also available. Visitors can access some of Lake Michigan's many 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 Rogers Street Fishing Village is a maritime museum.

Point Beach Nuclear plant is located north of the town.

Neshotah Beach is a beautiful sand beach on Lake Michigan with The Rawley Point bike trail, horseshoe pits and picnic areas with tables and grills.

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 discovered in 1971 by a diver.

For a small community, it also has quite a few notable people. Here is a little sampling.

Lester Bentley is most well known for painting portraits and murals. The two portraits he is most famous for painting are of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. Bentley painted the portrait of President Eisenhower in 1954 for Columbia University. Bentley also created recruitment posters, his most famous being SPARS, which depicted women in U.S. Coast Guard attire.

J. E. Hamilton was an American industrialist whom was the founder of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, which was the largest manufacturer of wood type in the U.S.

Chad Cascadden was a former professional football linebacker for the New York Jets.

During the 1930s and 40s, Two Rivers was home to training camps for numerous professional football teams. The town'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.

Lydia Clarke, an American actress and photographer, is the widow of Charlton Heston. Their marriage lasted for 64 years until his death. Michael's mom, Dorothy, was a friend of hers and was an attendant at Lydia's wedding to Charlton.

For Michael and I, the Schmitt Brothers are the most famous to us as they are Michael's relatives!!!!

The Schmitt Brothers was a Barbershop quartet that won the 1951 SPEBSQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America, Inc) international competition. The quartet consisted of four brothers: Joe, Paul, Francis and Jim Schmitt.

Joe, Jim, Paul, and Fran Schmitt began singing together as a quartet in September, 1949 at their mother's home in Two Rivers. Two months later a local businessman and international president of the Barbershop Harmony Society, O.H. "King" Cole, heard them singing and invited them to visit the nearby Manitowoc chapter.

The brothers soon became members. The quartet received a great deal of help from two men in the chapter. Milt Detgen, the chorus director, arranged many of their songs and John Means, later to become president of the Society, became one of their coaches. In 1950 the quartet became Land O' Lakes District champion. The brothers had made only about five public performances at the time.

While preparing for the international preliminary contest the following spring, they met Rudy Hart, another man who assisted them for many years as coach and arranger. Selected as one of four quartets to represent the district at the international contest in Toledo, the Schmitts began rehearsing at least once each day, met with Means three days per week, and learned two more songs.

In the semifinal contest round they sang in last position and earned a standing ovation. They won the international contest and the hearts of the audience.

Being a new quartet, they were in need of a repertoire. They went home and learned 20 songs before their first barbershop show in September. During their championship year the Schmitt Brothers sang 110 performances including the Ed Sullivan network television show and the Arthur Godfrey show.

In 1952, they made a two-week USO tour of military installations in Alaska.

In 1956, the Schmitts were featured in a color filmstrip explaining the Voice Expression judging category, produced by the Society. The production received an award as the best instructional film of the year.

Each year the quartet sang on a show produced by the Society's Association of International Champions (AIC).

At the 1966 convention in Chicago the four brothers rented a bus and loaded their wives and 32 children aboard. All 40 of them appeared on stage at the AIC show.

After becoming active as teachers in district and international schools, the brothers received a reward for outstanding service to school music at the Wisconsin Music Educators Association Conference in 1980. The Schmitt Brothers Quartet performed together for 34 years, traveling more than three million miles and appearing in nearly 3,000 shows.

On the way back to the airport I had to stop outside of Milwaukee and take a picture of a large American flag. I believe it flies over an insurance company building. I didn't get the name, though.


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