Wentorf Photo Collection

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A treasure trove of historical Two Rivers photographs awaits online! The valuable collection, which once could only be accessed by visiting a locked cabinet at the Lester Public Library, can be readily viewed here.

 

The new St. John's Lutheran Church
From note on back of photo: “1890–The church of St. John’s Lutheran Church is now complete and the old church is temporarily on bricks.” Note the wooden sidewalks. St. John’s Lutheran Church was organized in 1863, and in 1864, they began meeting in the old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church which was standing empty. At that time, the members of Emmanual Congregation at the Tannery disbanded and joined St. John’s. In 1888 it was decided that this new church be built to accommodate the growing congregation. The beautiful church building still figures prominently in Two Rivers’ cityscape.

About the Collection

This glimpse into Two Rivers’ past is a unique blend of photographs selected from the collection of Hubert R. Wentorf (circa late 1800s to mid-1950s), and vintage product catalogs from the Fisher-Hamilton Company, a major employer in the city since 1880 (now known as Thermo-Fisher Scientific). Two Rivers’ deep agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial fishing history is reflected in these valuable images. While the collection was moved online in 2010 for ease of access, the Lester Public Library continues to hold the original photos. Stop by the library’s help desk if you’d like to take a look.

Wentorf was both a photographer and a collector of historical photographs. His images focus on local landmarks, industries and institutions, and people going about daily life. Many of his photographs include group shots of local organizations and civic groups.

 

Photograph taken at Two Rivers Point on December 24, 1897. From handwritten notes on photograph: “Ship Keystone was rescued by the Tug Albert J. Wright Dec 25 1897. Ship Mac Stein sank in the quick sand Dec 26 1897.”

 

The Fisher-Hamilton catalogs document the products manufactured by the company and the evolution of these products (and the company itself) over the years. In addition to their historical interest and nostalgic appeal, these catalogs frequently serve as a valuable resource to antique hunters as they attempt to identify their treasures.

 

April 8, 1891. From handwritten note on the back: “Fishing boats used in 1885-95 by local fisherman called ‘Mackinaws.’ They had an 8 foot beam and 24 foot length. They were equipped with sails and oars. The latter used when the winds died down.”  The picture also shows the dock with fish net reels used for drying the nets on the Charles LeClair.

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