This story appeared in the 1936 Centennial newspaper and celebrated the train service being extended to Two Rivers, but there was more to this story. Hezekiah Huntington Smith “the Father of Two Rivers” at around 80 years of age, hammered in the last spike. This illustrates the importance of this man to the City of Two Rivers which he founded in 1845.
The Two Rivers Village Board of Supervisors called a meeting on July 22, 1872, for the purpose of building a railroad to connect Two Rivers to Manitowoc. The estimated cost was $25,000. Speakers at the meeting were important leaders of the time. H.H. (Deacon) Smith, was followed by Henry Mann who spoke in German. He explained how the railroad would benefit Two Rivers.
Both Mann and H.H. Smith represented the Two Rivers Manufacturing Co., which operated the pail factory and the chair factory. Cyrus Whitcomb of the Wisconsin Leather Co., the large tannery north of Two Rivers, also spoke in favor of adding the railroad. The train depot was located in the area of 12th and Washington Streets.
On October 6, 1873, Deacon Smith with a mighty swing of his sledge drove the last spike in the rail track connecting Two Rivers by rail with the outside world.
It was a festive occasion with thousands of spectators. The cannon roared, the steam whistles roared, the populace roared and…ringing of bells, the deafening sound of every steam whistle in town from the baritone chime on the woodenware factory to the shrill sharp and spiteful sounding whistles of the tugs and dredge in the rivers, all were notifying the crowd that Deacon Smith drove the last spike to complete the Lakeshore and Western Railroad.
In spite of his nearly 80 years of age, Smith sent the spike home with three ringing blows. Cheers went up as the Deacon pounded the spike in place and amid the music of Professor Weinschenck’s popular local brass band.