The City of Manitowoc, along with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum are proud to announce the designation of Manitowoc, Wisconsin as an American World War II Heritage City.

Mayor Justin Nickels said, “Most of us that grew up here in Manitowoc know that we played an important role contributing to the war effort by building submarines. By designating Manitowoc as the one American WWII Heritage City in the state of Wisconsin, the National Park Service has recognized the national significance of our city and our history.”

“This is truly an amazing honor for our city. Having our city’s contributions to the war effort recognized on a national scale will place Manitowoc as a premier travel destination for learning about our nation’s World War II history,” Visit Manitowoc Director Courtney Hansen said.

The National Park Service announced the designation of eighteen communities across the country, including Manitowoc, as American World War II Heritage Cities yesterday in a press release.
As stated in the release, “The American World War II Heritage Cities Program honors the contributions of local towns, cities, counties and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America’s war effort during World War II. Only one American World War II Heritage City can be designated in each state or territory.”

The World War II Heritage Cities program was established by the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act of 2019 to recognize the historic importance of the United States domestic involvement in World War II and ensure the continued preservation of a defining period in American history.

Manitowoc received the designation because of its substantial involvement in World War II. Most notably its production of twenty-eight Gato Class Submarines by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company.

Many other local companies were involved in wartime production including Aluminum Goods Manufacturing, Burger Boat, Lakeside Packaging, Heresite Protective Coatings, and more. Together these companies produced thousands of products for the war ranging from oil tanks for B-29 bombers to meal cans and protective coatings for torpedoes. Many of these companies still exist today.

The citizens of Manitowoc also raised a significant amount of funds through the selling of war bonds. For example, in February 1944 a touring stage show called “It’s the McCoy” played at the Capitol Theatre in Manitowoc. The one-night show in Manitowoc obtained over one million dollars in war bond sales, second only to Milwaukee. Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company received the coveted Minuteman “Bullseye” banner for having 100% of workers participate.

Manitowoc continues to keep its World War II history alive through community events such as Subfest, an annual celebration of the submarine building heritage of the area, the brave men and women that served aboard the vessels, and the resilient men and women on the home front that built them.

Catherine Green, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum says, “The wonderful thing about Manitowoc is that you can still explore that WWII heritage today. Touring the WWII submarine USS Cobia transports you back to 1945 when these vessels were patrolling the Pacific.”

The Wisconsin Maritime Museum welcomes all people to connect