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One of about 200 images in “Images of America Two Rivers” shows flags and fireworks 
being sold for Fourth of July in the early 1900s at the A.J. Maack and Messman building, 
1718 East St. Much of the original building is still intact today.
One of about 200 images in “Images of America Two Rivers” shows flags and fireworks being sold for Fourth of July in the early 1900s at the A.J. Maack and Messman building, 1718 East St. Much of the original building is still intact today. / Submitted

Where to purchase

"Images of America Two Rivers" can be purchased at:
» Schroeder's Department Store in Two Rivers
» Two Rivers Historical Society Washington House
» Manitowoc County Historical Society
» LaDeDa Books & Beans in Manitowoc
» Book World in Manitowoc
» Online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble
» Through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665
» Other area retailers also are in discussions to stock the book

Book signing

Authors of "Images of America Two Rivers" Patrick Gagnon and his daughter Cassandra Gagnon-Kronforst will hold a book sale and signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Schroeder's Department Store in Two Rivers.

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TWO RIVERS — Patrick Gagnon is hoping a new book he co-authored will show the typical life of Two Rivers residents from past decades and the not-so-typical events that shaped the city's history.

"Images of America Two Rivers" was released this week and includes about 200 historic city images of businesses, buildings, people and life on the lake ranging from the mid-1800s to 1970 with captions.

"It gives people a better sense of who they are by knowing where they came from," Gagnon said. "We're all part of our environment, even if we weren't born and raised in a particular place."

Gagnon authored the book with help from his daughter, Cassandra Gagnon-Kronforst, who now lives in Neenah, by gathering photos primarily from Lester Public Library's Hubert R. Wentorf photo collection, along with a few other locations such as the Two Rivers and Manitowoc County historical societies.

Key challenge

"The biggest challenge was not finding enough to put in, but what we had to leave out," he said. "And there are many I've got on my computer at home we were not able to incorporate into the book."

Gagnon, a history instructor at Silver Lake College, said he's always been fascinated by Two Rivers' past because his family has had ties to the area dating to the 1800s.

"We're much more interested today in history at the level where it affects individual people … (taking) history into a greater level of depth than it was when we were really more concerned about the big people and the big events," he said.

"Images of America" is a series through Arcadia Publishing with about 6,000 previously published volumes from across the country, including two based in Manitowoc.

Lester Public Library Director Jeff Dawson was approached about the possibility of a Two Rivers book after the publisher saw the digitized Wentorf collection online. Dawson then recruited Gagnon, who serves as president of the library's Board of Trustees.

"I was at the right place at the right time," Gagnon said. "Photographs provide interesting and, in some cases, important information about history. You have that opportunity to document continuity and change over the years."

Dawson, whose modern-day images appear in the book at the start of new chapters, said he thinks it will be well received by the community.

"Two Rivers is proud of its cultural heritage. We are a small community with close personal ties to the people featured in this book," he said. "It is good to reflect on where we have been to place perspective on where we are going as community. It can help shape our next step as we move further into the 21st century."

Sarah Kloepping: (920) 686-2105 or skloepping@htrnews.com

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