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Appleton, Wisconsin

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Appleton is a city in Outagamie mostly, Calumet, and Winnebago counties in the US state of Wisconsin One of the Fox Cities, it is situated on the Fox River, 30 miles 48 km southwest of Green Bay and 100 miles 160 km north of Milwaukee Appleton is the county seat of Outagamie County The population was 72,623 at the 2010 census Of this, 60,045 were in Outagamie County, 11,088 in Calumet County, and 1,490 in Winnebago County Appleton is the principal city of the Appleton, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area The city possesses the two tallest buildings in Outagamie County, the Zuelke Building and 222 Building, at 168 and 183 feet, respectively

Appleton serves as the heart of the Fox River Valley, and is home to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Fox River Mall, Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, Appleton International Airport, and the Valley's two major hospitals: St Elizabeth Hospital and ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton It also hosts a large number of regional events such as its Flag Day parade, Christmas parade, and others


  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Climate
  • 4 Demographics
    • 41 2010 census
    • 42 2000 census
    • 43 Crime
  • 5 Government
  • 6 Transportation
    • 61 Roads
    • 62 Rail
    • 63 Airport
  • 7 Education
  • 8 Economy
    • 81 Largest employers
    • 82 Companies headquartered in Appleton
  • 9 Health care
  • 10 Tourism
  • 11 Parks
  • 12 Notable people
  • 13 Points of interest
  • 14 References
  • 15 Further reading
  • 16 External links


Fur traders seeking to do business with Fox River Valley Native Americans were the first European settlers in Appleton Hippolyte Grignon built the White Heron in 1835 to house his family and serve as an inn and trading post

Appleton was settled in 1847 and incorporated as a village in 1853 John F Johnston was the first resident and village president Home to Lawrence University, Appleton grew along with the school With the financial backing of Amos A Lawrence, the Lawrence Institute was chartered in 1847 Samuel Appleton, Lawrence's father-in-law from New England who never visited Wisconsin, donated $10,000 to the newly founded college library, and his name was given to the community in appreciation

The community was incorporated as a city on March 2, 1857, with Amos Storey as its first mayor Early in the 20th century, it adopted the commission form of government In 1890, 11,869 people lived in Appleton; in 1900, there were 15,085; in 1910, 16,773; in 1920, 19,571; and in 1940, 28,436

The paper industry, beginning with the building of the first paper mill in the city in 1853, has been at the forefront of the development of Appleton In order to provide electricity to the paper industry, the nation's first hydro-electric central station, the Vulcan Street Plant on the Fox River, began operation on September 30, 1882 The power plant also powered the Hearthstone House, the first residence in the world powered by a centrally located hydroelectric station using the Edison system

Shortly thereafter, in August 1886, Appleton was the site for another national first, the operation of a commercially successful electric streetcar company Electric lights replaced gas lamps on College Avenue in 1912 Appleton also had the first telephone in Wisconsin, and the first incandescent light in any city outside of the East Coast

Appleton's tallest building, the 222 Building was built in 1952 The Valley Fair Shopping Center, built in 1954, laid claim to being the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States, although this claim is disputed by other malls In 2007 most of the structure was demolished, leaving only its east wing and a movie theater A Pick 'n Save Food Center now stands in its place

Sociologist James W Loewen, in his book Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism labeled Appleton a sundown town—a town that was intentionally all white In these towns, black people were not allowed inside the town limits after dark

In May 2016, a report by 24/7 Wall St found that Appleton had the highest rate of self-reported binge and heavy drinking in the country


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2482 square miles 6428 km2, of which, 2433 square miles 6301 km2 is land and 049 square miles 127 km2 is water


Appleton has a humid continental climate typical of Wisconsin Summers are warm to hot and winters are rather cold in comparison Precipitation is relatively moderate compared to other areas close to the Great Lakes, which means lesser snowfall in winter than in many other cold areas

A dew point of 90 °F was observed at Appleton at 5 pm on July 13, 1995 This is tied for the second highest dew point ever observed in the United States

Climate data for Appleton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F °C 55
Average high °F °C 247
Average low °F °C 87
Record low °F °C −30
Average rainfall inches mm 13


Historical population
1860 2,345
1870 4,518 927%
1880 8,005 772%
1890 11,869 483%
1900 15,085 271%
1910 16,773 112%
1920 19,561 166%
1930 25,267 292%
1940 28,436 125%
1950 34,010 196%
1960 48,411 423%
1970 56,377 165%
1980 58,913 45%
1990 65,695 115%
2000 70,087 67%
2010 72,623 36%
Est 2015 74,139 21%
US Decennial Census
Location of the Appleton–Oshkosh–Neenah CSA and its components:   Appleton Metropolitan Statistical Area   Oshkosh–Neenah Metropolitan Statistical Area

Appleton is the principal city of the Appleton–Oshkosh–Neenah CSA, a Combined Statistical Area which includes the Appleton Calumet and Outagamie counties and Oshkosh–Neenah Winnebago County metropolitan areas, which had a combined population of 367,365 at the 2010 census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 72,623 people, 28,874 households, and 18,271 families residing in the city The population density was 2,9849 inhabitants per square mile 1,1525/km2 There were 30,348 housing units at an average density of 1,2473 per square mile 4816/km2 The racial makeup of the city was 875% White, 17% African American, 07% Native American, 59% Asian, 22% from other races, and 20% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 50% of the population

There were 28,874 households of which 330% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 487% were married couples living together, 105% had a female householder with no husband present, 41% had a male householder with no wife present, and 367% were non-families 295% of all households were made up of individuals and 9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 243 and the average family size was 304

The median age in the city was 353 years 25% of residents were under the age of 18; 101% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 277% were from 25 to 44; 261% were from 45 to 64; and 113% were 65 years of age or older The gender makeup of the city was 495% male and 505% female

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 70,087 people, 26,864 households, and 17,676 families residing in the city The population density was 3,3559 per square mile 1,2957/km2 There were 27,736 housing units at an average density of 1,3280 per square mile 5127/km2 The racial makeup of the city was 9148% White; 099% African American; 057% Native American; 461% Asian; 003% Pacific Islander; 105% from other races, and 127% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino of any race were 253% of the population

There were 26,864 households out of which 350% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 539% were married couples living together, 87% had a female householder with no husband present, and 342% were non-families 276% of all households were made up of individuals and 91% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 252 and the average family size was 313

In the city the population was spread out with 274% under the age of 18; 97% from 18 to 24; 318% from 25 to 44; 197% from 45 to 64, and 113% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 34 years For every 100 females there were 967 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 937 males

The median income for a household in the city was $39,285, and the median income for a family was $44,097 Males had a median income of $36,459 versus $22,890 for females The per capita income for the city was $17,478 About 73% of families and 95% of the population were below the poverty line, including 71% of those under age 18 and 48% of those age 65 or over


FBI crime statistics for 2009 list the crime rate per 100,000 population for Appleton as follows:

Crime Appleton Wisconsin United States
Violent crime 2347 2570 4294
Murder 14 25 50
Forcible rape 299 196 287
Robbery 256 858 1330
Aggravated assault 1778 1491 2628
Property crime 2,6802 2,6082 3,0361
Burglary 4652 4729 7163
Larceny-theft 2,1638 1,9774 2,0609
Motor vehicle theft 512 1578 2588


Appleton is governed via the mayor-council system The mayor is elected every four years in a citywide vote The council, known as the common council or city council, consists of 15 members, called alderpersons, all of whom are elected to two-year terms from individual districts The current mayor, Timothy Hanna, was re-elected in 2016 to his sixth four-year term, having first been elected in 1996 The mayor appoints department heads, subject to council approval The city attorney is elected every four years in a citywide vote

Appleton is represented by Reid Ribble R in the United States House of Representatives, and by Ron Johnson R and Tammy Baldwin D in the United States Senate Frank Lasee R and Mike Ellis R represent Appleton in the Wisconsin Senate, and Alvin Ott R, Dean Kaufert R, Dave Murphy R, and Penny Bernard Schaber D represent Appleton in the Wisconsin State Assembly


The city is the owner of Valley Transit, a network of bus lines serving the Fox Valley There are also several taxi operators in the city Valley Transit operates routes that generally operate from as early as 5:45 AM until as late as 10:40 PM Monday through Saturday Frequencies are usually every hour and every half-hour on certain routes during peak morning and afternoon times on weekdays There is no service on Sunday Greyhound and Lamers offer intercity buses serving such locations as Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, and Chicago


Interstate 41 Northbound routes to Green Bay Southbound I-41 routes to Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and Milwaukee This is a full interstate grade freeway that runs on the west and north sides of Appleton It has 8 exits serving the Appleton area from South to North with 2 being in Appleton the other 5 are located in Grand Chute at:

Hwy E Ballard RdExit 144 and Hwy 441 Exit 145

US 10 Westbound goes to Waupaca and Stevens Point US 10 Eastbound goes to Brillion and Manitowoc This is mostly a freeway except along Oneida St
US 41 runs entirely concurrent with Interstate 41 through the city of Appleton
WIS 47 travels Northbound to Black Creek and Shawano, Wisconsin Southbound, WIS 47 routes to Menasha This is Richmond St, Memorial Dr, and Appleton Rd
WIS 96 travels west to Fremont and travels east to Little Chute and Kaukauna This is Wisconsin Ave
WIS 125 travels between US 41 and WIS 47 on College Ave College Ave west of US 41 is Hwy CA and heads to Appleton International Airport
WIS 441 bypasses Appleton on the south and east sides as a freeway Exits are at:

US 10 West/US 41, Racine St Menasha, Hwy AP Midway Rd, WIS 47 Appleton Rd, US 10 East Oneida St, Hwy KK Calumet St, Hwy CE College Ave, Hwy OO Northland Ave, US 41


Appleton is criss-crossed by the former main lines of the Chicago and North Western Railway southwest-northeast and the Milwaukee, Lake Shore and Western roughly southeast-northwest, and now largely abandoned except for local service to area paper mills and other industries A north-south branch of the former Wisconsin Central Railroad passes on the west side of the city All rail service is now operated by Canadian National Railway Appleton has no intercity passenger rail service, although studies are being undertaken on the feasibility of extending Amtrak service to the Fox Cities and Green Bay


The Appleton International Airport ATW is located at the west end of College Avenue, 2 miles west of Interstate 41 and 6 miles west of downtown


Appleton is served by the Appleton Area School District, which has three high schools, four middle schools, seventeen elementary schools, and sixteen charter schools The district's main public high schools are Appleton East, Appleton North, and Appleton West The city also has two parochial high schools: Roman Catholic Xavier High School and Fox Valley Lutheran High School

Appleton is home to Lawrence University, a private liberal arts college, and Fox Valley Technical College Globe University, Concordia University Wisconsin, and Rasmussen College have branch campuses in the city The University of Wisconsin–Fox Valley, a two-year campus of the University of Wisconsin System, is located in nearby Menasha

The city and surrounding area are served by the Appleton Public Library, which was chartered by the city in 1897 and as of 2010 has a collection of over 600,000 items


Largest employers

As of 2015, the largest employers in the city were:

#/Rank Employer # of Employees Percentage of Total City Employment
1 St Elizabeth Hospital/Affinity Health 5,744 149%
2 Thrivent Financial 1,800 47%
3 Appleton Area School District 1,668 43%
4 Miller Electric 1,575 41%
5 ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton/ThedaCare Health 1,500 39%
6 The Boldt Company 1,300 34%
7 Outagamie County 1,200 31%
8 Appvion, Inc, 1,000 26%
8 Valley Packaging Industries 940 26%
10 Valley Packaging 750 2%

Companies headquartered in Appleton

  • Armament Systems and Procedures, Inc
  • Miller Electric
  • Pierce Manufacturing
  • SECURA Insurance
  • Thrivent Financial for Lutherans
  • Air Wisconsin

Health care

The city is served by two hospitals:

  • ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton
  • St Elizabeth Hospital


Appleton tourist attractions include the Hearthstone House, the four-story mansion that was the first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity at its completion in 1881 The History Museum at the Castle contains exhibits on Fox River Valley history, including a gallery showcasing Edna Ferber, a Harry Houdini exhibit, and other travelling exhibits The Paper Discovery Center has historic paper-making machines on display and an exhibit on the history of paper The Fox River Mall is the second-largest mall in Wisconsin Other local malls include Northland Mall, City Centre Plaza and formerly Valley Fair Shopping Center, aka Valley Fair Mall, disputedly the first enclosed shopping mall in America, opening in 1954

In 2013, Houdini Plaza, on the corner of College Avenue and Appleton Street, was renovated The project cost around $15 million with most of that paid by the city itself The plaza, known as the 'front yard' of downtown Appleton holds roughly 55 events each year, including summer concerts and part of the downtown farmers market

There are numerous performing ensembles in Appleton Including the Appleton Boy Choir, Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, Makaroff Youth Ballet, newVoices Choir, Vento Winds, and many more


The city of Appleton has 24 neighborhood parks and four community parks in its park system The neighborhood parks range in size from two acres to 16 acres, while the community parks range in size from 25 acres to 139 acres

Memorial Park is the largest of the community parks, covering 139 acres The park's facilities include: seven baseball/softball fields, playground equipment, an indoor ice skating rink, a sledding hill, a picnic pavilion, a catch and release fishing pond, grills, and a warming shelter The park provides the firework display for the Appleton community during the 4th of July holiday

City Park, established in 1882, is the oldest park in the Appleton park system The Trout Museum of Art uses the park for its Art in the Park showcase The show features over 200 artists that draw over 25,000 art enthusiasts annually Pierce Park is the site of weekly Appleton City Band concerts held during the summer, and of the annual Appleton Old Car Show and Swap Meet Pierce Park and Telulah Park each feature a disc golf course Erb Park and Mead Park each feature a public aquatics facility Jones Park is the site of the finish line for the Santa Scamper run held during the annual Appleton Christmas Parade, and features an outdoor hockey rink in the winter

A view of the small World War I memorial on the south side of Appleton, including a restored copy of the Spirit of the American Doughboy

Notable people

Notable people

Points of interest

  • The Trout Museum of Art
  • Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
  • Fox River Mall
  • Fox Valley Technical College
  • Gardens of the Fox Cities
  • Goodland Field
  • Hearthstone Historic House Museum
  • The History Museum at the Castle
  • J B Courtney Woolen Mills
  • John Hart Whorton House
  • Lawrence University
  • St Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church
  • Temple Zion and School
  • Zion Lutheran Church
  • Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Minor League-Class A Midwest League


  1. ^ "Republican mayors urge passage of LGBT nondiscrimination bill" Wisconsin Gazette 30 July 2014 Retrieved 1 April 2016 A group of Republican mayors — including Appleton Mayor Timothy Hanna 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010" United States Census Bureau Archived from the original on 2012-01-24 Retrieved 2012-11-18 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2012-11-18 
  4. ^ "Population Estimates" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2016-05-22 
  5. ^ a b c "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Archived from the original on 2013-09-11 Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names" United States Geological Survey 2007-10-25 Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  7. ^ a b c "History of Appleton" Appleton Public Library 2011-06-01 Retrieved 2011-12-28 
  8. ^ Wineries of Wisconsin and Minnesota By Patricia Monaghan page 126
  9. ^ Appletonorg | City of Appleton, Wisconsin Archived March 24, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Profile for Appleton, Wisconsin" ePodunk Retrieved 2010-06-20 
  11. ^ Wisconsin 1857 Private and Local Laws Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin in the Year 1857 Madison, Wisconsin: Calkins and Proudfit, Printers pp 243–283 
  12. ^ "Victorian Christmas", Beloit Daily News, December 15, 2005
  13. ^ "Appleton " Wisconsinhistoryorg Retrieved 2014-01-18 
  14. ^ Loewen, James 2006 Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism New York: Touchstone ISBN 0743294483 
  15. ^ Behr, Madeleine 2016-05-17 "Drunkest city in US It's Appleton, report says" Post Crescent Appleton WI Retrieved 2016-05-25 
  16. ^ "Appleton, Wisconsin Climate Summary" Weatherbase Retrieved 6 February 2015 
  17. ^ a b "Appleton, Wisconsin Temperature Averages" Weatherbase Retrieved 6 February 2015 
  18. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015" Retrieved July 2, 2016 
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing" Censusgov Archived from the original on May 11, 2015 Retrieved June 4, 2015 
  20. ^ "2009 Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement" US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation August 2011 Archived from the original on 21 July 2011 Retrieved 2011-08-07 
  21. ^ "Concordia's Locations" Visit Concordia Concordia University Retrieved 4 April 2016 
  22. ^ "COMPREHENSIVE ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT" Appletonorg p 130 Retrieved June 14, 2016 
  23. ^ http://whoonewcom/2013/07/houdini-plaza/
  24. ^ dminteractivecom "Official Site of the City of Appleton | Appleton, WI" Appletonorg Retrieved 2014-01-18 
  25. ^ "Appleton, Wisconsin Parks and Places - City Park" Triviaasylumcom 1996-08-02 Retrieved 2014-01-18 
  26. ^ "Appleton Parks & Recreation" Appletonparkandrecorg Retrieved 2014-01-18 
  27. ^ a b c d e f "General Facts about Appleton, WI" Lawrence University Archived from the original on 26 November 2010 Retrieved 24 November 2010 
  28. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book 1893, p 671
  29. ^ "Brad Smith" newsmicrosoftcom Microsoft Retrieved 9 December 2016 Smith grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin 

Further reading

  • Raney, William F "Appleton" Wisconsin Magazine of History, vol 33, no 2 December 1949:135-151

External links

  • Wisconsin portal
  • Appleton travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • City of Appleton
  • Fox Cities Chamber
  • VENTO Winds
  • newVoices
  •  "Appleton" The American Cyclopædia 1879 

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