Wisconsin Historical Society

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218 East South Island Street

National or State Register of Historic Places
218 East South Island Street | National or State Registers Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Appleton Woolen Mills
Reference Number:16000228
Location (Address):218 East South Island Street
Appleton Woolen Mills
218 E. South Island Street, Appleton, Outagamie County
Dates of Construction: 1881; 1883-1962

The Appleton Woolen Mills, built in stages between 1881 and 1962, is significant for its history as a manufacturer of papermakers' felt, an invaluable product in the production of paper. The history of the construction of the building, including the original building built in 1881 and additions built between 1893 and 1962, reflects the history of the company as it expanded and prospered.

Situated in northeastern Wisconsin, the city of Appleton became a center of paper manufacture thanks to its abundant supply of wood and water. The Fox River's water was harnessed to power factories and mills and to process raw materials into consumer goods, while the plentiful supply of timber from the nearby northern Wisconsin forests was transformed into wood-based products. Mills in Appleton were plentiful and manufactured various grades of paper and numerous paper-based goods including: bag and wrapping paper; fine writing papers; coated paper for a variety of products including tickets and tags; wall paper; tissue products; crepe paper, table covers, and napkins.

The Appleton Woolen Mills made "plain and fancy yarns" in its early years, and then expanded to include the manufacture of mackinaws and flannels in 1888. In 1890, the company first produced papermakers' felt through the installation of its first loom for such production. By 1902, all woolen yarn, fabric and garment production was moved to another facility and the Appleton Woolen Mills building was used exclusively for the manufacture of papermakers' felt. Papermakers' felt is essential in the industrial manufacture of paper, facilitating the shaping of pulp into continuous sheets of paper. The Appleton Woolen Mills was a local source of papermakers' felt, and was reportedly the only source of this material "west of Ohio". The felt was manufactured in this building from 1890 until 1969 when the company relocated to a different location elsewhere in Appleton. This building is significant to Appleton's paper making history as the only location where a vital product was manufactured; a product that supported, and facilitated the growth of paper making, one of Appleton's' most important industries.

Period of Significance:1890-1969
Area of Significance:Industry
Applicable Criteria:Event
Historic Use:Industry/Processing/Extraction: Manufacturing Facility
Architectural Style:Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements
Resource Type:Building
Historic Status:Listed in the State Register
Historic Status:Listed in the National Register
National Register Listing Date:05/03/2016
State Register Listing Date:02/19/2016
Number of Contributing Buildings:1
Number of Contributing Sites:0
Number of Contributing Structures:0
Number of Contributing Objects:0
Number of Non-Contributing Sites:0
Number of Non-Contributing Structures:0
Number of Non-Contributing Objects:0
National Register and State Register of Historic Places, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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