Home Filming Diary Manitowoc Shipyards today

Manitowoc Shipyards today PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 04 September 2008 00:00

Donald spent his summers in the 1930's and early 40's in Manitowoc, WI, at his grandfather's farm. He still remembers going to and from the farm, passing along the fence of the Manitowoc shipyards. Seeing big cranes and various machinery behind the fence fascinated this young boy enough to inspire him to start building ship models.

Donald remembers: "My grandparents on my mothers side were Emma and William Belitz. They owned and ran a hardware and farming machinery store in Cleveland Wis most of their married life, only selling the store to a son in law and buying the small farm for their later years. They had two horses, perhaps six or eight milk cows and any number of chickens. The farm was almost in sight of Lake Michigan."

UPDATE 20/6/2010 - Mr. Robert Lipprandt of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, sent me a new article he researched on Emma Belitz of Manitowoc and her 90th birthday (previous researched were on 88th and 95th). Mr. Lipprandt is interested in the genealogy and is collecting data for the faimly tree which Donald is a part of.

Section Be | Huhn Family Tree | 1958 90th Birthday Celebration | (ONC) Belitz, Emma Ida (Huhn) | http://www.ancestry.com/ PPV | The Sheboygan Press, Saturday, October 19, 1958, page 7 | Nonagenarian Observes Her Birthday With Relatives | The 90th birthday of Mrs. William (Emma) Belitz, 1430 N. 11th St., was observed with her immediate relatives Thursday, the anniversary day. | Her family is comprised of one son, Milton Belitz, a Cleveland resident, and three daughters, Mrs. Edna Hess, Two Rivers, Mrs. Forrest Duessing, Sheboygan, and Mrs. Herbert Schachtschneider, Milwaukee. Seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren are part of the family also. | Birth of Mrs. Belitz occurred Oct. 16, 1868, in Town Centerville, Manitowoc County, and her parents were Mr. and Mrs. Ferdinand Huhn. Four members of the family of nine sons and daughters are living, namely a brother, August Huhn, California and two sisters, Mrs. Theodore Frohne, Milwaukee, and Miss Louise Huhn, Chicago as well as the nonagenarian. | Those who have passed away are Oscar, Ernst and Henry Huhn, Mrs. William Wagner and Mrs. Henry Luelloff. | Before marriage of the former Emma Huhn and Mr. Belitz, she was employed in Chicago and Milwaukee. The couple was wed in Town Centerville, Feb. 12, 1896, by the Rev. Phillip Sprengling. Mr. Belitz operated the Belitz Hardware Store in Cleveland, Wis., he now is deceased. Two others in the family also have passed away, Mrs. Hugo (Leonora) Stoltenberg and Wallace Belitz.| Mrs. Belitz belongs to St. John’s United Church of Christ (Evangelical and Reformed) and the German Women’s Guild. | Gardening and growing flowers always have been hobbies of Mrs. Belitz, who really had a green thumb in addition to having been a good seamstress, she occupies herself with rug braiding and has made countless ones. | In 1950 she moved to Sheboygan from Cleveland. She lives alone and keeps her own household. Her health has been perfect. |

 

 

September 4/ 2008 - Since I am going to be in the area (Chicago), I was considering a visit to Manitowoc shipyards. I got in touch with Robert P. Herre, the president of the Marine Group of Manitowoc Company (NYSE: MTW). He was quite nice and answered very promptly to any questions I had. Unfortunately, I learned that the original Manitowoc shipyards are no longer in operation. The company is now building ships at Sturgeon Bay and Marinette and repairing ships at Cleveland. Also, the visit to the yards is not possible due to security reasons - they also build ships for the U.S. Navy. I am now trying to get some recent photographs from the yards, and Mr. Herre suggested to contact The Wisconsin Maritime Museum for archive materials.

Their e-mail did not work for me and returned my message undelivered, so I called them on 09/08 and the person I wanted to talk to was on vacation. I guess no trip to WI this time. I thought it might be nice to talk to some people who remember the shipyards in the olden days... but if I could get some old photos, that would be fine. Another possible place for historical material may be Manitowoc County Historical Society. They are mentioning "Bohemian houses" on their web site, and also the Administrative Assistant has a Czech name...

TRAVELING TO MANITOWOC

I did find some ways of getting to Manitowoc (thanks to Bill Wood of Milwaukee for assistance), though the public transport doesn't give me many options. I could take the AMTRAK train from the Union station in Chicago at 8:25AM and get to Milwaukee at 9:54. Or I could take Megabus, which is cheaper. The only bus that goes from Milwaukee to Manitowoc is Greyhound operated by Jefferson lines at 10:30AM, arriving to my destination by noon time. I would need to stay over night since the bus back leaves at 3:30PM. The night inside of the USS Cobia is mostly intended for boy scouts, as I learned from the Maritime Museum. Too bad... the trip to Manitowoc is sort of losing it's shine for me. I would need to invest my full two days into that, and the result would not be very clear...

Logo © Manitowoc Company.

 

UPDATE - August 28, 2009 - I still did not completely give up the idea of visiting Manitowoc. It looks like a significant place for Don, so I would be happy to do some filming there. I have been in frequent touch with Susan Menk of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum who supplied me with photocopies of historical photographs and also kindly answered my questions. Here is a brief recent history of the yard:

"The Manitowoc Co. bought out 2 small shipyards at Sturgeon Bay, WI in 1968. The Company moved the operations to Sturgeon Bay in 1970 and removed most of the old shipyards buildings, then they built new buildings so they could build cranes and heavy equipment. The Manitowoc Co. bought out Marinette Marine in 2000 and also got a shipyards in Cleveland, OH. The Manitowoc Co. sold all three of their shipyard on August 5, 2008 to Fincantiari Marine Group, an Italian firm. So end the Manitowoc shipyards. The Manitowoc Co. is still in Manitowoc: 1) Corporate offices and 2) The Crane Group."

It was rather sad to read this and especially to realize it was ending so recently, just as I was getting interested in it... I received this letter just as Fincantiery bought out Manitowoc Marine Group. The web site of the latter went out of order soon after, and the new company's web site is HERE.

In the Summer of 2009, I got in touch with Steve Khail, the Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications of Manitowoc Co. and he has been extremely helpful, I dont' really know how to thank him enough. I was interested in visiting the "peninsula" to see former land where the shipyards used to operate. I discovered that the Company does not own the piece of land anymore. They sold that property about 5 years ago, and a variety of smaller companies now occupy the peninsula, which is owned by Chris Allie, of Allie Land & Mortgage, LLC (tel. 920-684-1545).

Mr. Khail offered to give me a book about the company and we have set an appointment for Friday 4th of September. By then I believed I could interview Susie or somebody else from the museum. It turned out that Mr. Khail would be willing to give me his view point on the development of the company, which is what I wanted, and it also turned out there would be nobody available at the Museum at the time of my visit (after clarification of what I am trying to achieve, I got the price of using historical photographs from their archive in my film though - it's $25 for the first image and $15 for any additional image).

I also got some interesting links from Susie:  Manitowoc County Historical Organization, who produced a wonderful documentary film in the Wisconsin Hometown Stories, The Wisconsin World War II Homefront page and she also recommended two books: “Freighters of Manitowoc” written by Tom Wendstadt, published by AuthorHouse in 2007 and “Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company: Engineering Works, Fabricating Works, Equipment Works, Manufacturing Works” published by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company itself in 1948 and again in 1956.

Later on it turned out Mr. Khail would not be available either, but he sent me the DVD about the Manitowoc and Two Rivers and recommended the local historian, Mr. Kerry Trask, who is featured in the documentary. I would like to meet him and I would make it my only purpose of going to Manitowoc this time.

It is possible I would make another trip to Wisconsin in late October or second week in November 2008.

 

UPDATE - January 31, 2010: I am going to visit Manitowoc and Sturgeon Bay the second week in February 2010

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 18:26
 

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