The Sister City story began with Matt Konop who was born in Stangelville, Wisconsin, but lived most of his adult life in Two Rivers. He is the central character in a story that unites the Two Rivers area with the City of Domažlice in the Czech Republic. Lt. Col. Konop served in the United States Army's 2nd Infantry Division in WWII. Col. Konop was selected by that division's commanding officer, General Walter M. Robertson, to head an advance party of soldiers charged with liberating cities and villages in western Czech Republic in May 1945.
Lt. Col. Konop's leadership selection was based on his Czech heritage and his ability to speak Czech. Konop soon recognized that one of the towns being liberated by the American forces was Domažlice, his ancestral home from which his family had emigrated in the 1860's. The local citizens welcomed him and raised him on their shoulder as a hero – one of their own who had returned to liberate them.
This amazing history links the communities of Two Rivers and Domažlice. The relationship has been celebrated over the past decade by Matt Konop's grandson, Patrick Dewane, whose one-man show "The Accidental Hero" has played to audiences across the U.S. and Europe.
During recent visits to Domažlice, the city Mayor Miroslav Mach, expressed an interested in establishing a formal sister city relationship with Two Rivers.
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Two Rivers City Manager Greg Buckley signed the proclamation confirming the Sister City relationship that was carried by a Two Rivers delegation to Domažlice for the signing ceremony there on May 5.
May 5, 2017: Mayor Miroslav Mach of Domažlice, Czech Republic, signs the Sister City proclamation confirming the partnership between Two Rivers, WI, USA, and Domažlice, Czech Republic. Two Rivers delegate Patrick Dewane (left) witnesses the ceremony.
The original Domažlice town hall was built in Neo-renaissance style between 1891 and 1893. The current town hall replaced the historical Renaissance building.
The fountain in front of the town hall was created in 2005 to replicate the original design.
Two Rivers City Hall was originally constructed as a school in 1903 and served as the city's high school until Washington High School was built in 1922. The building subsequently served as an elementary school and a post-secondary vocational school before becoming home to city services. The building was completely remodeled and was rededicated on 22 July 1993. Two Rivers City Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Domažlice is preserved as a historic town under national trust. Clothing, wood carvings, baked goods, dairy products, fruit preserves, and industrial jet looms (modern shuttleless looms) are produced in the region.
The town’s main square is surrounded by houses with Renaissance, Baroque, and Empire arcades, balconies, and gables and is dominated by the 13th-century tower beside the Church of the Birth of the Virgin Mary on the northern side of the square. The Ethnographic Museum of Chodsko is located in Domažlice, which is also the site of an annual Chode festival of song and dance; the traditional costumes and bagpipes, unique in the Czech Republic to the Chods and the people of Strakonice in Jihoceský kraj, are featured at the festival.
"Domažlice, Czech Republic." Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017. Web. 1 May 2017.
American flags are flying as the sun goes down on a summer day over historic downtown Two Rivers. This view looks north along the 1600 block of Washington Street. Easily identifiable is Schroeder's Department Store, the oldest business in Two Rivers. Schroeder's was founded in 1891 by Peter Schroeder, son of German immigrants. Schroeder's has occupied the same building since 1900. Evident in the distance is the steeple of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, the oldest church building in Two Rivers. Constructed in 1889, the church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
PODPLUKOVNÍK MATT KONOP, 4. KVÉTNA 1945
„Jsme osvobozeni jednim z nás”
KONOP PŘIVEDL PŘEDVOJ 2. PĚŠÁ DIVIZE ARMÁDY USA
NA CHODSKO, ZEMĚ JEHO PRARODIČŮ.
LT. COLONEL MATT KONOP, MAY 4, 1945
„We are liberated by one of our own”
KONOP LED THE US ARMY 2ND INFANTRY DIVISION
ADVANCED PARTY INTO CHODSKO,
THE LAND OF HIS GRANDPARENTS.