The Two Rivers Historical Society is comprised of the Washington House Museum, the Farm Museum, The Lester W. Bentley Collection and the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The Society is a local group dedicated to preserving the unique history of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Come enjoy warm smiles and cool summer temperatures, neat neighbors, scenic rivers, and our beautiful ever-changing lake.
Wide beaches, with the East and West Twin Rivers joining before they poured into Lake Michigan, and a vast forest drew immigrants to Two Rivers when the territory opened for settlement in 1836.
This was an ideal location. The first to arrive found a mixed group of tribes including the Potawatomi, Menominee and Ottawa. The lake provided an abundance of fish and the rivers were used to travel inland for hunting and trapping.
French Canadian fisherman settled on the east bank of the Mishicot River. Yankee entrepreneurs led by Hezekiah Huntington Smith, soon lined the river banks with mills, tanneries, and factories producing pails, chairs, boats, veneer, and other wood products. After 1847 German, Czech, Polish and other European farmers, merchants, and workers moved to the area.
In 1880, William Nash was the publisher of the Two Rivers Chronicle and had a deadline to meet. He needed wood type to print large letters on posters. He asked a young man in town, James Edward Hamilton, to make this type. The request inspired Hamilton to start a company that made his name, and the city of Two Rivers known the world over.
Then in 1881, Ed Berners, proprietor of a Two Rivers ice cream parlor, served the very first ice cream sundae.
Joseph Koenig started another industry in Two Rivers in 1895 when he began the manufacture of novelties using a new metal for the time, aluminum. The business soon was supplying much of the cookware in the United States. Other industries, such as Eggers Veneer Company, Kahlenberg Engines, Cresent Woolen Mills, and the Metal Ware flourished because of the abundant resources and the solid work ethic of the settlers.