World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Nickname(s): FDL, Foot of the Lake, Fondy
Location within the state of Wisconsin.
Location within the state of Wisconsin.
Country U.S.A.
State Wisconsin
County Fond du Lac
 • Type republic
 • none none
 • City 20.11 sq mi (52.08 km2)
 • Land 18.82 sq mi (48.74 km2)
 • Water 1.29 sq mi (3.34 km2)  6.41%
Elevation 760 ft (230 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 43,021
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 43,045
 • Density 2,285.9/sq mi (882.6/km2)
 • Metro 100,070
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 920
Website .gov.wi.fdlwww

Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for bottom of the lake,[4][5] named as such because of its location at the bottom (south end) of Lake Winnebago. The population was 43,021 at the 2010 census.

The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Fond du Lac Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Fond du Lac County (2000 population: 97,296). Fond du Lac is the 342nd largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States. The Fond du Lac MSA and the Beaver Dam (city), Wisconsin Micropolitan Statistical Area, form the larger Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam Combined Statistical Area.


  • History 1
    • Historic districts 1.1
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 census 3.1
    • 2000 census 3.2
  • Religion 4
  • Education 5
  • Media 6
    • Newspapers 6.1
    • Radio 6.2
    • Television 6.3
  • Business and industry 7
  • Shopping 8
  • Culture 9
  • Parks 10
  • Lottery winnings and the "Miracle Mile" 11
  • Transportation 12
    • Airports 12.1
    • Rail 12.2
    • Mass Transit 12.3
    • Roads and highways 12.4
  • Notable residents 13
  • Politics 14
  • Sports 15
  • Military 16
  • Other 17
  • References 18
  • External links 19


Native American tribes, primarily the Winnebagos but also the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Mascoutin lived or gathered in the area long before European explorers arrived. Although the identity of the first white man to explore the southern end of Lake Winnebago is uncertain, it was probably Claude-Jean Allouez, followed by French fur trappers.[6]

James Doty, a federal judge for the western part of the Michigan Territory, thought that the land at the foot of Lake Winnebago might be a good location for a city, so he and his partners bought land in the area. In 1836, during the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, John Arndt proposed making Fond du Lac the new capital.[7] The motion failed, and Doty convinced the legislature to choose Madison instead.

Colwert and Fanna Pier were the first white residents of the area. In 1835, the construction of the Military Ridge Road began. It passed through Fond du Lac, connecting the forts in Wisconsin and Fort Dearborn in Illinois.[8] The first school in Fond du Lac was built in 1843. The first railroad came to the community in 1852. About 1856, the first English newspaper in Fond du Lac, the Fond du Lac Commonwealth, was founded. Logging and milling were primary industries in the late 1880s, with access to the lake as the engine of the industry.

Historic districts

Fond du Lac has 20 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, including four historic districts: the South Main Street Historic District, the North Main Street Historic District, the Linden Street Historic District, and the East Division Street-Sheboygan Street Historic District. Other listings include six houses, two octagon houses, two hotels, a church, a fire station, a train depot, an apartment building, a commercial building, and a prehistoric site. Most of the buildings listed in the register were a result of economic prosperity following the lumber industry boom in the Fox Valley and the newly rich building residences in the area.[9]


Fond du Lac is located at (43.775, -88.445).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.11 square miles (52.08 km2), of which, 18.82 square miles (48.74 km2) is land and 1.29 square miles (3.34 km2) is water.[1]


Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam CSA and its components:
  Fond du Lac Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Beaver Dam Micropolitan Statistical Area

Fond du Lac is the larger principal city of the Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Fond du Lac metropolitan area (Fond du Lac County) and the Beaver Dam micropolitan area (Dodge County),[13][14][15] which had a combined population of 183,193 at the 2000 census.[16]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 43,021 people, 17,942 households, and 10,395 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,285.9 inhabitants per square mile (882.6/km2). There were 19,181 housing units at an average density of 1,019.2 per square mile (393.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.6% White, 2.5% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 2.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.

There were 17,942 households of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 36.9 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 42,203 people, 16,638 households, and 10,282 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,501.3 people per square mile (965.9/km²). There were 17,519 housing units at an average density of 1,038.3 per square mile (401.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.59% White, 1.86% Black or African American, 0.51% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.27% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. 2.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,638 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,113, and the median income for a family was $50,341. Males had a median income of $35,682 versus $22,492 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,996. About 4.6% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.


The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has four churches in Fond du Lac: Redeemer Lutheran Church in the west, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in the south, and Faith Lutheran Church in the east.

Fond du Lac's population is about one-third Roman Catholic.[17] In 2000 the six Catholic parishes of St. Mary, St. Joseph, Sacred Heart, St. Louis, St. Patrick and St. Peter merged into a single entity called Holy Family Catholic Community. St. Louis Catholic Church burned down in 2007 and the building was demolished. The St. Patrick and St. Joseph churches closed, while Sacred Heart, St. Mary, and St. Peter remain open.

Agnesian HealthCare

The mother house of the Sisters of Saint Agnes is located in Fond du Lac. The order operates Agnesian HealthCare and St. Agnes Hospital in the city.

Fond du Lac is the episcopal see of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac. St. Paul's Cathedral is the mother church of the Diocese.

Fond du Lac also has a synagogue, Temple Beth Israel. Although Jewish people first came to Fond du Lac in the late 19th century, the first synagogue was not established until 1914.[18]

42.7% of Fond du Lac residents do not affiliate with any religion.[19]


Fond du Lac is served by the Fond du Lac School District. Its schools include:

  • Fond du Lac High School (Over 2,100 students in grades 9–12)
  • Woodworth Middle School (Over 475 students in grades 6–8)
  • Sabish Middle School (Over 500 students in grades 6–8)
  • Theisen Middle School (Over 500 students in grades 6–8)
  • Chegwin Elementary School (Over 350 students in grades K-5)
  • Evans Elementary School (Over 325 students in grades K-5)
  • Lakeshore Elementary School (Over 425 students in grades K-5)
  • Parkside Elementary School (Over 250 students in grades K-5)
  • Pier Elementary School (Over 425 students in grades K-5)
  • Riverside Elementary School (Over 325 students in grades K-5)
  • Roberts Elementary School (Over 425 students in grades K-5)
  • Rosenow Elementary School (Over 425 students in grades K-5)
  • Waters Elementary School (Over 450 students in grades K-5)[20]

Goodrich High School was the public high school from 1922 to 2001. When Fond du Lac High School was built, the Goodrich building became Riverside Elementary school.

Private secondary schools in Fond du Lac include: Winnebago Lutheran Academy, a Lutheran (WELS) high school;[21] St. Mary Springs High School, a Catholic high school;[22] Fond du Lac Christian School, an interdenominational K-12 school;[23] and Trinity Baptist School, a Baptist K-12 school.[24]

St. Mary's Springs Academy also operates an elementary school and middle school, which were formerly named Fond du Lac Area Catholic Education System (FACES).[25] Fond du Lac also has four Lutheran primary schools.[26][27][28][29]

Fond du Lac is the home of three colleges: Marian University, a private Catholic four-year university; the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, a two-year campus in the University of Wisconsin Colleges; and Moraine Park Technical College, a two-year technical college in the Wisconsin Technical College System.




  • KFIZ - One of the oldest radio stations in Wisconsin, broadcasts out of Fond du Lac. KFIZ first went on the air in 1922 when Oscar Huelsman turned on the transmitter. Branded as News-Talk 1450 KFIZ.
  • WFON - Sister station to KFIZ. Hot AC format. Branded as K107.1.


  • WIWN - A television station (virtual channel 68, physical channel 5) carrying WeatherNation TV; currently transmits from Milwaukee rather than its city of license in order to receive market-wide coverage (although Fond du Lac is part of the Green Bay television market).

Business and industry

The largest employer in Fond du Lac is Mercury Marine, a division of the Brunswick Corporation. Mercury Marine, which has its world headquarters in Fond du Lac, is the largest maker of outboard motors in the world,[30] employing approximately 2,500 people in its factory and offices. Other industry includes Giddings & Lewis, a manufacturer of machine tools, owned by the Fives Group; Brenner Tank, a builder of transport tankers; Chicago Tube & Iron, a division of Olympic Steel; Saputo Cheese; and J. F. Ahern, a mechanical and fire protection company.

Fond du Lac is also home to an AC Nielsen data gathering center. Other businesses includes Charter Communications and an office of Wellpoint, which operates as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Fond du Lac has one hospital, St. Agnes Hospital.


The main retail district includes Forest Mall which includes a Kohl's and a Younkers. Other retailers in Fond du Lac include Shopko, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Mills Fleet Farm and Menards.


Fond du Lac is the county seat of Fond du Lac County and the site of the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds. The Fond du Lac County Fair takes place annually in late July.

Fond du Lac is also host to Walleye Weekend,[31] an annual summer festival centered around the Mercury Marine National Walleye Fishing Tournament. Walleye Weekend, usually hosted on the second weekend in June is a "Free Family Fun Festival" held in Lakeside Park on the south shore of Lake Winnebago. Despite being billed as a "Free Family Fun Festival", it has been criticized for being little more than a drunk fest with food, litter, obscenities, and music thrown in.[32]

An annual fall festival is also held in September, called Fondue Fest. The festival was first held in September 2007 when a collaboration project between The Melting Pot and Brenner Tank created and set the Guinness World Record for the world's largest fondue set. The festival has been held since.

Fond du Lac has a children's museum, which displays rotating child-centric exhibits.[33]


Lakeside Park entrance

The largest park in Fond du Lac, Lakeside Park contains more than 400 acres (1.6 km2) of open recreational space on the south end of Lake Winnebago. Year-round activities include a whitetail deer exhibit. Summer activities include flower displays, boating, picnics, and weddings within the park's picturesque landscape. From April 15 to October 15, the Lakeside Park Lighthouse, built in 1933, and its observation tower are open. Visitors can take rides on a miniature train and an antique carousel. The park also contains four jungle gyms and a petting zoo. A steam locomotive stands at the Main Street entrance to the park, donated by the Soo Line in 1955. Lakeside Park hosts a holiday event featuring a "dancing lights" display,[34] decorations and music.

Buttermilk Creek Park is a large, grassy, hilly park containing an amphitheater, two jungle gyms, and a sledding hill.

Other parks include: Taylor Park and Pool, Butzen (Danbury) Park, Jefferson Park, Fairgrounds Park and Pool, and Playmore Park.

Lottery winnings and the "Miracle Mile"

Ma and Pa's on the "Miracle Mile"

In the 1990s, several grocery and convenience stores on a stretch of South Main Street in Fond du Lac sold large winning Wisconsin Lottery tickets, resulting in that part of Main Street being dubbed "The Miracle Mile." The first ticket was for over $100 million was won on July 7, 1993. On August 5, 2006, Ma and Pa's Grocery Express sold the only winning Powerball ticket for $209 million.




The Canadian National now operates the only railroad in Fond du Lac. Fond du Lac was the headquarters of the Wisconsin Central Railroad until 2001. It was part of the Soo Line until 1987.

Mass Transit

Fond du Lac Area Transit is the local public transit operator in the city. The first public transit in Fond du Lac was a privately owned streetcar service in the 1880s; it converted to busses from 1944 to 1967.[35] After several private operators, the bus system ceased operations in 1967. The current city-owned transit system began operations in 1973.[35]

Roads and highways

Interstate 41 Northbound, I-41 routes to Oshkosh. Southbound, I-41 routes to Milwaukee via Lomira. I-41 is a freeway bypassing Fond du Lac on the west side with 5 interchanges serving the area. The interchanges are at US 151, Hickory St, Hwy D Military Rd, Wis 23 Johnson St, and Hwy OO Winnebago St. The interchange for Wis 175 Main St was removed when the new US 151 Bypass was built.
U.S. 41 US 41 is cosigned with I-41 in the Fond Du Lac area.
U.S. 151 Southbound, routes to Waupun, Beaver Dam and Madison. Northbound, routes to Chilton and Manitowoc. Formerly running through the city, the highway was bypassed to the southeast of Fond du Lac in the mid-2000s via a grade-access expressway.
WIS 23 travels west to Wisconsin Dells via Ripon, and east to Sheboygan via Plymouth.
WIS 175 travels south near US 41 and consists of most of the route US 41 took before the construction of the US 41 freeway.
US 45 travels north to Oshkosh, Wisconsin along the lakeshore, and south to West Bend via Eden and Kewaskum.

Notable residents



  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "Dictionary of Wisconsin History". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  5. ^ Clorissa Swingen (Spring 1988). "Fond du Lac: Links to our Past". Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  6. ^ Mentzer, Michael (199). Fond du Lac County: Gift of the Glacier. Fond du Lac, WI USA: Fond du Lac County Historical Society. p. 212.  
  7. ^ Barden, Cindy (1998). Foot of the Lake: An Early History of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Fond du Lac, WI USA: Fond du Lac Public Library Board of Trustees. p. 64.  
  8. ^
  9. ^ http://www.fdlpl.orgs/default/files/upload/file/History%20by%20the%20Lake.pdf
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ [2] .
  13. ^ METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  14. ^ MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  15. ^ COMBINED STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENT CORE BASED STATISTICAL AREAS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  16. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  17. ^ Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Religion Data Archived September 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ The Sadoff Family of Fond du Lac
  19. ^ Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Religion Data
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ The Annual "Dancing Trees" Christmas Light Show in Fond du Lac
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ Juzwiak, Rich (2011-06-13). "QVC's Jeanne Bice Dead at 71".  
  37. ^ Pablo Ervin Schmitz Simon

External links

  • City of Fond du Lac
  • Fond du Lac Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Early Fond du Lac County People and Places
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps: 1884 1892 1898 1902 1908 1915
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.