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Dictionary of Wisconsin History

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Term: Appleton [brief history]

Definition: Appleton is located at the northernmost point of Lake Winnebago in Outagamie County. Fur traders seeking business with the Fox River Valley Indians, who had lived in the area for hundreds of years, were the first whites to settle Appleton. In 1835, Hippolyte "Paul" Grignon built a home for his family called the White Heron that also served as an inn and trading post.

Educational institutions were established early in Appleton. The Lawrence Institute, today's Lawrence University, was chartered in 1847 with the financial backing of Amos Lawrence. The first free public school was established in 1850 and the St. Mary Catholic Church opened the community's first parochial school in 1864.

Germans, Dutch, and Poles were some of the first immigrants to come to Appleton. In recent years, Appleton has become home to a large population of Hmong, Hispanics, and African Americans. Oneida Indians are also prominent as the Oneida reservation is located just north of town.

The paper industry drove the economic development of Appleton. The first paper mill was built in 1853. To provide electricity to the industry, the nation's first hydro-electric central station began operation in Appleton on September 30, 1882. In 1886, Appleton had the nation's first commercially successful electric streetcar company.

Prominent Appleton residents have included actor Willem Dafoe (1955-), writer Edna Ferber (1885-1968), magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926), and U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957).

[Source: WHS Library-Archives staff, 2009]

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260 records found

Aaron [origin of place name]
Abbotsford [origin of place name]
Abbotsford, Clark Co.
Abbott [origin of place name]
Abbott, Town of, Sheboygan Co.
Abel, Town of, Manitowoc Co.
Abells Corners, Walworth Co.
Ableman [origin of place name]
Abrams, Oconto Co.
Abrams, Town of, Oconto Co.
Ackerville, Washington Co.
Ackley, Town of, Langlade Co.
Ada, Sheboygan Co.
Adams Beach, Shawano Co.
Adams Center (historical), Adams Co.
Adams County
Adams County [origin of place name]
Adams, Adams Co.
Adams, Town of, Adams Co.
Adams, Town of, Green Co.
Adams, Town of, Jackson Co.
Adams, Walworth Co.
Adamsville [origin of place name]
Adario, Town of, Waushara Co.
Addison, Town of, Washington Co.
Addison, Washington Co.
Adell, Sheboygan Co.
Adell, Village of, Sheboygan Co.
Adella Beach, Winnebago Co.
Adrian, Town of, Monroe Co.
Advance, Shawano Co.
African American Settlers of Cheyenne Valley (Hist
Afton [origin of place name]
Afton, Rock Co.
Agenda, Town of, Ashland Co.
Agnew [origin of place name]
Ahnapee [origin of place name]
Ahnapee, Town of, Kewaunee Co.
Ainsworth [origin of place name]
Ainsworth, Town of, Langlade Co.
Akan, Town of, Richland Co.
Alaska, Kewaunee Co.
Alban, Portage Co.
Alban, Town of, Portage Co.
Albany, Green Co.
Albany, Town of, Green Co.
Albany, Town of, Marquette Co.
Albany, Town of, Pepin Co.
Albany, Village of, Green Co.
Albertville, Chippewa Co.
Albion Academy (Historic Marker)
Albion [origin of place name]
Albion [origin of place name]
Albion, Dane Co.
Albion, Town of, Dane Co.
Albion, Town of, Jackson Co.
Albion, Town of, Trempealeau Co.
Alden, Town of, Polk Co.
Aldens Corners, Dane Co.
Alderley, Dodge Co.
Alexander, Town of, Brown Co.
Algoma [brief history]
Algoma [origin of place name]
Algoma, Kewaunee Co.
Algoma, Town of, Winnebago Co.
Allen Family (Historic Marker Erected 1976)
Allen Grove [origin of place name]
Allen, Eau Claire Co.
Allens Grove, Walworth Co.
Allenton, Washington Co.
Allenville, Winnebago Co.
Allouez Bay [origin of place name]
Allouez, Brown Co.
Allouez, Douglas Co.
Allouez, Town of, Brown Co.
Allouez, Village of, Brown Co.
Alma Center, Jackson Co.
Alma Center, Village of, Jackson Co.
Alma [origin of place name]
Alma, Buffalo Co.
Alma, Town of, Buffalo Co.
Alma, Town of, Jackson Co.
Almena [origin of place name]
Almena, Barron Co.
Almena, Town of, Barron Co.
Almena, Village of, Barron Co.
Almon, Shawano Co.
Almon, Town of, Shawano Co.
Almond, Portage Co.
Almond, Town of, Portage Co.
Almond, Village of, Portage Co.
Alpha [origin of place name]
Alpha, Burnett Co.
Alstad [origin of place name]
Altdorf [origin of place name]
Alto, Fond du Lac Co.
Alto, Town of, Fond du Lac Co.
Altoona [origin of place name]
Altoona, Eau Claire Co.
Alverno, Manitowoc Co.
Alvin, Forest Co.
Alvin, Town of, Forest Co.
Amberg, Marinette Co.
Amberg, Town of, Marinette Co.
Ambridge, Douglas Co.
Amery, Polk Co.
Amherst Junction, Portage Co.
Amherst Junction, Village of, Portage Co.
Amherst, Portage Co.
Amherst, Town of, Portage Co.
Amherst, Village of, Portage Co.
Amnicon Falls, Douglas Co.
Amnicon [origin of place name]
Amnicon, Town of, Douglas Co.
Amnicon, Town of, Douglas Co.
Anacker, Marquette Co.
Anchorage (historical), Buffalo Co.
Anderson Trailer Court, Barron Co.
Anderson [origin of place name]
Anderson, Rock Co.
Anderson, Town of, Burnett Co.
Anderson, Town of, Iron Co.
Angelica, Shawano Co.
Angelica, Town of, Shawano Co.
Angelo [origin of place name]
Angelo, Monroe Co.
Angelo, Town of, Monroe Co.
Angus, Barron Co.
Aniwa [origin of place name]
Aniwa, Shawano Co.
Aniwa, Town of, Shawano Co.
Aniwa, Village of, Shawano Co.
Annaton, Grant Co.
Anson, Chippewa Co.
Anson, Town of, Chippewa Co.
Anston, Brown Co.
Antigo Silt Loam, State Soil of Wisconsin (Histori
Antigo [brief history]
Antigo [origin of place name]
Antigo, Langlade Co.
Antigo, Town of, Langlade Co.
Anton, Douglas Co.
Apollonia, Rusk Co.
Apostle Islands
Apple Creek, Outagamie Co.
Apple River
Apple River, Town of, Polk Co.
Appleton [brief history]
Appleton [origin of place name]
Appleton, Outagamie Co.
Apuckaway, Election precinct of, Marquette Co.
Arbor Vitae, Town of, Vilas Co.
Arbor Vitae, Vilas Co.
Arcade Acres, Fond du Lac Co.
Arcade, Town of, Marquette Co.
Arcadia [origin of place name]
Arcadia, Town of, Trempealeau Co.
Arcadia, Trempealeau Co.
Arena, Iowa Co.
Arena, Town of, Iowa Co.
Arena, Village of, Iowa Co.
Argonne [origin of place name]
Argonne, Forest Co.
Argonne, Town of, Forest Co.
Argyle, Lafayette Co.
Argyle, Town of, Lafayette Co.
Argyle, Village of, Lafayette Co.
Arkansaw, Pepin Co.
Arkdale, Adams Co.
Arland, Barron Co.
Arland, Town of, Barron Co.
Arlington, Columbia Co.
Arlington, Town of, Columbia Co.
Arlington, Village of, Columbia Co.
Armenia, Town of, Juneau Co.
Armitager's Rapids
Armstrong Creek, Forest Co.
Armstrong Creek, Town of, Forest Co.
Armstrong, Fond du Lac Co.
Armstrong, Town of, Oconto Co.
Army Lake (historical), Walworth Co.
Arnold, Chippewa Co.
Arnott, Portage Co.
Arpin [origin of place name]
Arpin, Town of, Wood Co.
Arpin, Village of, Wood Co.
Arpin, Wood Co.
Artesia Beach, Fond du Lac Co.
Arthur, Grant Co.
Arthur, Town of, Chippewa Co.
Ashford (historical), Richland Co.
Ashford [origin of place name]
Ashford, Fond du Lac Co.
Ashford, Town of, Fond du Lac Co.
Ashippun [origin of place name]
Ashippun, Dodge Co.
Ashippun, Town of, Dodge Co.
Ashland County [origin of place name]
Ashland Junction, Bayfield Co.
Ashland [brief history]
Ashland [origin of place name]
Ashland, Ashland Co.
Ashland, Town of, Ashland Co.
Ashley, Marathon Co.
Ashton Corners, Dane Co.
Ashton, Dane Co.
Ashwabena [stream], Brown Co.
Ashwaubenon [origin of place name]
Ashwaubenon, Brown Co.
Ashwaubenon, Town of, Brown Co.
Ashwaubenon, Village of, Brown Co.
Askeaton [origin of place name]
Askeaton, Brown Co.
Aspen [origin of place name]
Astico, Dodge Co.
Astor, Brown Co.
Athelstane, Marinette Co.
Athelstane, Town of, Marinette Co.
Athens [origin of place name]
Athens [origin of place name]
Athens, Marathon Co.
Athens, Village of, Marathon Co.
Atkins, Forest Co.
Atlanta, Town of, Rusk Co.
Atlas, Polk Co.
Attica [origin of place name]
Attica, Green Co.
Atwater, Dodge Co.
Atwood, Clark Co.
Aubrey, Richland Co.
Auburn [origin of place name]
Auburn, Town of, Chippewa Co.
Auburn, Town of, Fond du Lac Co.
Auburndale, Town of, Wood Co.
Auburndale, Village of, Wood Co.
Auburndale, Wood Co.
Augusta [origin of place name]
Augusta, Eau Claire Co.
Aurora, Florence Co.
Aurora, Town of, Florence Co.
Aurora, Town of, Taylor Co.
Aurora, Town of, Waushara Co.
Aurora, Washington Co.
Auroraville, Waushara Co.
Auto Race-Green Bay to Madison (HIstoric Marker Er
Aux Gallait, Election precinct of, Crawford Co.
Avalanche [origin of place name]
Avalanche, Vernon Co.
Avalon, Rock Co.
Avoca [origin of place name]
Avoca, Iowa Co.
Avoca, Village of, Iowa Co.
Avon, Lafayette Co.
Avon, Rock Co.
Avon, Town of, Rock Co.
Aztalan (archaeological site)
Aztalan State Park (Historic Marker Erected 1964)
Aztalan [origin of place name]
Aztalan, Jefferson Co.
Aztalan, Town of, Jefferson Co.

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