World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Appleton, Wisconsin

Appleton, Wisconsin
Downtown Appleton skyline
Downtown Appleton skyline
Location of Appleton within Wisconsin
Location of Appleton within Wisconsin
Location of Appleton in Outagamie County, Wisconsin
Location of Appleton in Outagamie County, Wisconsin
Appleton, Wisconsin is located in USA
Appleton, Wisconsin
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Counties Outagamie, Calumet, Winnebago
Surrounding Towns Grand Chute, Little Chute, Menasha, Kimberly
Settled 1835
Incorporated 2 May 1857
 • Type Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Timothy M. Hanna
 • City 24.82 sq mi (64.28 km2)
 • Land 24.33 sq mi (63.01 km2)
 • Water 0.49 sq mi (1.27 km2)  1.97%
Elevation 790 ft (240 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 72,623
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 73,016
 • Density 2,984.9/sq mi (1,152.5/km2)
 • Metro 367,516
 • Metro density 2,160/sq mi (834/km2)
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 54911, 54912, 54913, 54914, 54915, 54916, 54919
Area code(s) 920
FIPS code 55-02375[4]
GNIS feature ID 1560914[5]
Website .org.appletonwww

Appleton is a city in Outagamie (mostly), Calumet, and Winnebago counties in the U.S. 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.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
  • Demographics 4
    • 2010 census 4.1
    • 2000 census 4.2
    • Crime 4.3
  • Government 5
  • Transportation 6
    • Roads 6.1
    • Rail 6.2
    • Airport 6.3
  • Education 7
  • Economy 8
    • Largest employers 8.1
    • Companies headquartered in Appleton 8.2
  • Health care 9
  • Tourism 10
  • Parks 11
  • Notable people 12
  • Points of interest 13
  • References 14
  • Further reading 15
  • External links 16


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.[6]

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.[7][8][9]

The community was incorporated as a city on March 2, 1857,[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

Appleton's 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 Copps Food Center now stands in its place.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.82 square miles (64.28 km2), of which, 24.33 square miles (63.01 km2) is land and 0.49 square miles (1.27 km2) is water.[1]

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


Appleton has a humid continental climate[13] 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.[14]

Climate data for Appleton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Average high °C (°F) −4.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −8.5
Average low °C (°F) −12.9
Record low °C (°F) −34.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 32
Source: [14]


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.[4]

2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 72,623 people, 28,874 households, and 18,271 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,984.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,152.5/km2). There were 30,348 housing units at an average density of 1,247.3 per square mile (481.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.5% White, 1.7% African American, 0.7% Native American, 5.9% Asian, 2.2% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.0% of the population.

There were 28,874 households of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.7% were non-families. 29.5% 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 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

The median age in the city was 35.3 years. 25% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 11.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.5% male and 50.5% female.

2000 census

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 70,087 people, 26,864 households, and 17,676 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,355.9 per square mile (1,295.7/km2). There were 27,736 housing units at an average density of 1,328.0 per square mile (512.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.48% White; 0.99% African American; 0.57% Native American; 4.61% Asian; 0.03% Pacific Islander; 1.05% from other races, and 1.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.53% of the population.

There were 26,864 households out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 27.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18; 9.7% from 18 to 24; 31.8% from 25 to 44; 19.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 96.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 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 7.3% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.


FBI crime statistics for 2009 list the crime rate (per 100,000 population) for Appleton as follows:[17]

Crime Appleton Wisconsin United States
Violent crime 234.7 257.0 429.4
Murder 1.4 2.5 5.0
Forcible rape 29.9 19.6 28.7
Robbery 25.6 85.8 133.0
Aggravated assault 177.8 149.1 262.8
Property crime 2,680.2 2,608.2 3,036.1
Burglary 465.2 472.9 716.3
Larceny-theft 2,163.8 1,977.4 2,060.9
Motor vehicle theft 51.2 157.8 258.8


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 2012 to his fifth 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) at: US 10/WIS 441 (Exit 134), Hwy BB Prospect Ave. (Exit 136) WIS 125/Hwy CA College Ave.(Exit 137), WIS 96 Wisconsin Ave. (Exit 138), WIS 15/Hwy OO Northland Ave.(Exit 139), WIS 47 Richmond St. (Exit 142), Hwy E Ballard Rd.(Exit 144), Hwy 441 (Exit 145)
US 41 runs entirely concurrent with Interstate 41 through the city of Appleton.
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.
WIS 15 Westbound routes to New London. This is partly Northland Ave.
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 Outagamie County Regional 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 US 41 and 6 miles west of downtown. It has commercial airline service on Allegiant Airlines (serving Orlando Sanford, Phoenix Mesa and Las Vegas), Delta Connection (serving Atlanta, Detroit, and Minneapolis) and United Express (serving Chicago O'Hare).


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 three parochial high schools: Roman Catholic Xavier High School, Fox Valley Lutheran High School, and Appleton Christian School.

Appleton is home to Lawrence University, a private liberal arts college, Fox Valley Technical College, Globe University, and Rasmussen College. 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.[6]


Largest employers

As of 2011, the largest employers in the city were:[18]

# Employer # of Employees
1 Thrivent Financial 1,831
2 Appleton Area School District 1,690
3 Appvion (formerly Appleton Papers) 1,535
4 Miller Electric 1,300
5 Outagamie County 1,243
6 Appleton Medical Center 1,230
7 St. Elizabeth Hospital 1,037
8 West Business Services 1,000
9 Valley Packaging Industries 940
10 Voith 770

Companies headquartered in Appleton

Health care

The city is served by two hospitals:


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.[6] 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 traveling 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 and City Centre Plaza and Valley Fair Mall (One of the first malls in America in 1954).

In 2013, Houdini Plaza, on the corner of College Avenue and Appleton Street, was renovated. The project cost around $1.5 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.[19]

In the summer, Appleton hosts the Mile of Music festival, a four-day festival that stretches across the downtown College Avenue. The annual festival draws in tens of thousands of people and contributes millions of dollars to the local economy.[20][21]


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.[22] 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.[23] 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.[24]

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

Points of interest


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ a b c "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  6. ^ a b c "History of Appleton". Appleton Public Library. 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  7. ^ Wineries of Wisconsin and Minnesota By Patricia Monaghan page 126
  8. ^ | City of Appleton, Wisconsin Archived March 24, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Profile for Appleton, Wisconsin".  
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ "Victorian Christmas", Beloit Daily News, December 15, 2005
  12. ^ "Appleton [brief history]". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  13. ^ "Appleton, Wisconsin Climate Summary". Weatherbase. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Appleton, Wisconsin Temperature Averages". Weatherbase. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  17. ^ "2009 Crime in the United States: Offenses Known to Law Enforcement". U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. August 2011. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  18. ^ "City of Appleton 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Official Site of the City of Appleton | Appleton, WI". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  23. ^ "Appleton, Wisconsin Parks and Places - City Park". 1996-08-02. Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  24. ^ "Appleton Parks & Recreation". Retrieved 2014-01-18. 
  25. ^ a b c d e f "General Facts about Appleton, WI".  
  26. ^ Wisconsin Blue Book 1893, p. 671.

Further reading

  • Wisconsin Magazine of History, State Historical Society of Wisconsin. These bound volumes of the magazine contain several articles about the early history of Appleton. The best articles are, "Lawrence College," by Samual Plantz (Vol. 6, p. 44), and "Appleton," by William Raney (Vol. 33, p. 135). For additional articles, consult the index volumes under these subject headings: Appleton; Grand Chute: Lawrence University; Smith, Reeder Williams, Eleazar.

External links

  • City of Appleton
  • Fox Cities Chamber
  • Mile of Music



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.