The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company at War!
In Wisconsin, United States
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This is a multicache that will take you to four waypoints in Manitowoc that are related to the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company and its involvement in both World Wars. It makes a nice bicycle ride through Manitowoc or can be accomplished via moped or car. The final is a micro, so please bring a pen!
The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company played an important role in both the first and second World Wars. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the entire operation of Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company was subsumed under the authority of the U.S. Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation. A large contract was made with Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company to build 3,500-ton freighters, and the company rapidly expanded to build the ships. Prior to the war, the shipyard built an average of six ships per year, but by 1918, the yard was producing 18 ships each year. By the time the war ended in 1918, it had constructed thirty-three 3,500-ton freighters.
The Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company played an even more significant role in the second World War, which is described in a historic marker at the first waypoint:
N 44 05.563
W 087 39.396
The historic marker at the first waypoint describes Manitowoc’s role in World War II. From the historic marker, use the year that World War II broke out to decipher the coordinates for the second waypoint:
N 44 05.755
W 087 CB.7A2
ABCD = The year WWII broke out from the historic marker.
At the second waypoint you will be standing across the river from the shipyard that was used to build ships for both World Wars. In 1910, this shipyard was named Manitowoc Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. In 1916 it was renamed the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company, and it became the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corporation in 1920. Because the river is so narrow at the shipyard, ships had to be launched sideways into the river, unlike the more traditional lengthwise launching common to ocean-side shipyards. Today, the shipyard is used to build towers for wind turbines. You may be able to see some of the cylindrical sections that are assembled into the long towers. This is very similar to how the WWII submarines were built – sections of their round hulls were built within the buildings and then welded together outside to produce the 300-foot submarines.
To find the third waypoint, locate a sign at your current location that has a phone number for Wisconsin Public Service and use the phone number to decipher the coordinates for the third waypoint:
N HH JI.HJL
W GEK H1.MM9
EFG-HIJ-KLMN = Wisconsin Public Service’s phone number
The third waypoint will take you to the heart of the Custerdale neighborhood. This neighborhood was constructed by the U.S. Navy and Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corporation to house shipyard workers during World War II. You will notice that all of the houses in this neighborhood are of similar design and that all of the streets are named after the submarines built in Manitowoc during the war. The house on the north side of the street from where you are standing still retains the original siding and looks much as it did when the neighborhood was first constructed. Use the house number with the original siding to decipher the coordinates of the final location.
N 44 Q5.88P
W 087 4Q.8PO
OPQ = House number of house with original siding.
At the final waypoint you are within the Riverview neighborhood that was planned and built by the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company to house its workers during World War I. Due to the dramatic increase in production during the war, the shipyard needed to bring in a large number of workers that needed housing for themselves and their families. This neighborhood is filled with five home designs that are repeated throughout the neighborhood. Today, some of the homes look a little different due to remodeling, but if you look closely you will see the similarities in many of the homes.
To learn more about Wisconsin’s maritime heritage please visit our other Geocaches in the Manitowoc / Two Rivers area, or visit wisconsinshipwrecks.org and maritimetrails.org!
Znxr fher gb ybbx hc.
Last Updated: on 7/2/2014 11:03:01 AM Pacific Daylight Time (6:03 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum