Manitowoc ( /mænɨtəwɒk/) is a city in and the county seat of Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, United States. The city is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Manitowoc River. According to the 2000 census, Manitowoc had a population of 34,053, with over 50,000 residents in the surrounding communities. The city participates in international town twinning with the Japanese city of Kamogawa.
Purported to mean dwelling of the spirit, Manitowoc derived its name from either the Anishinaabe language word manidoowaak(wag), meaning spirit-spawn(s), or manidoowaak(oog), meaning spirit-wood(s). In 1838, an act of the Territorial Legislature separated Manitowoc County from Brown County, keeping the native name for the region.
In 1820, Matthew Stanley and his wife were the first to settle in the area.. In 1835, President Andrew Jackson authorized land sales for the region, drawing the interest of land speculators. William Jones and Louis Fizette were the two first recorded buyers on August 3, 1835, with the majority of the land being procured by the Chicago firm Jones, King, & Co. Benjamin Jones, brother of William, took the Wisconsin property as his share and is considered the founder of Manitowoc. Early immigrant groups included Germans, Norwegians, British, Irish, and Canadians. The first school in Manitowoc was held in the Jones warehouse, with S. M. Peake instructing the twelve children of the community. The first religious organization in the county, St. James' Episcopal Church, first met in 1841. Manitowoc was chartered as a village on March 6, 1851 and on March 12, 1870 was incorporated as a city.