Authentic Wisconsin.  Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Two Rivers, Wisconsin in the winter.

Above: View of The East Twin and West Twin rivers meet at the Two Rivers harbor before journeying into Lake Michigan. Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International: Chris Rand.

Two Rivers, Wisconsin - Home of the invention of the Ice Cream Sundae.

Two Rivers is a city in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin located on the shores of Lake Michigan. A post office called Two Rivers has been in operation since 1848. The city was named from its location at the confluence of the Mishicot and Neshota rivers (now known as the East Twin and West Twin Rivers, respectively).

The Point Beach State Park is just north of Two Rivers on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The birthplace of the invention of the Ice Cream Sundae

Soda fountain owner, Ed Berners of Two Rivers, Wisconsin is reputed to have invented the first ice cream sundae in 1881. Berners' customer George Hallauer (a local who had moved to Illinois and was vacationing in his hometown.) requested that Berners serve him a dish of ice cream topped with the syrup used for sodas. Berner liked the dish and added it to his regular menu, charging a nickel.

There is a Sundae Week every summer, and the city gathers in Central Park for an old fashioned band concert and ice cream social during the annual Sundae Thursday.

Two cities lay claim to creating the original ice cream sundae.

Besides Two Rivers, Ithaca, New York also claims title to the sweet invention. The two cities have sparred in a good-natured "Sundae War" for several decades.

H.L. Mencken the famed newspaper columnist, political commentator, and essayist also weighed in on the debate.

In Mencken's 1945 book, The American Language: Supplement 1, while writing on the suffix "DAE" as in sundae, wrote that the "most plausible of their theories ascribes the introduction of the 'sundae' itself to George Hallauer of Marshall, Illinois, and the invention of its name to George Giffy of Manitowoc, Wisconsin."

The Wisconsin State Historical Society recognizes Two Rivers, Wisconsin as the birthplace of the sundae. In 1973, the Society erected a historical marker in Two Rivers Central Memorial Park on the northeast corner of the intersection of Washington Street / State Highway 42 and 17th Street, that reads:


In 1881, George Hallauer asked Edward C. Berner, the owner of a soda fountain at 1404 – 15th Street, to top a dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce, hitherto used only for ice cream sodas. The concoction cost a nickel and soon became very popular, but was sold only on Sundays.

One day a ten year old girl insisted she have a dish of ice cream “with that stuff on top,” saying they could “pretend it was Sunday.” After that, the confection was sold every day in many flavors. It lost its Sunday only association, to be called ICE CREAM SUNDAE when a glassware salesman placed an order with his company for the long canoe-shaped dishes in which it was served, as "Sundae dishes.

For more information on Two Rivers, Wisconsin, visit Wikipedia.

Or, visit the City of Two Rivers website at

Buy Ice Cream Sundae toppings and books about Two Rivers at Amazon (Click on image below).




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Noteable Places

Two Rivers, Wisconsin
Manitowoc County

Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Above: Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Coordinates: 44°9′18″N 87°34′35″W

The birthplace of the invention of the Ice Cream Sundae.

The Ice Cream Sundae was invented in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Bay Ship Building in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.

Above: The Bernard Schwartz House (also known as Still Bend), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Two Rivers. Photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported: Royalbroil.

The historic Washington House in Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

Above: The Historic Washington House in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The Historic Washington House is free and open to the public. The old inn and saloon is now an ice cream parlor (a replica of Ed Berner’s ice cream parlor) and museum operated by volunteers. It provides historical information about the area. The top floor houses a ballroom with a mural-painted ceiling and a stage for live performances. The ballroom also functions as a used book store.

Above: It's official - Two Rivers is recognized by the Wisconsin State Historical Society as the REAL birthplace of the ice cream sundae.

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