Appleton is a city in Calumet, Outagamie, and Winnebago Counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin, on the Fox River, 100 miles (161 km) north of Milwaukee. The population was 70,087 at the 2000 census. Appleton is the principal city of the Appleton, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area with a combined population of around 350,000. It is the county seat of Outagamie County.
Fur traders seeking to do business with Fox River Valley Indians were the first 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, the first resident, village president) and as a city in 1857 (Amos Storey, Mayor). Early in the 20th century, it adopted the commission form of government, however that type of government has been abandoned in many cities. 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.
Home to Lawrence University, the City of Appleton grew along with the school. With the financial backing of Amos A. Lawrence, the Lawrence Institute was chartered in 1847. Samuel Appleton donated $10,000 to the newly founded college library, and in appreciation, his name was given to the community. Appleton is also the present headquarters of the John Birch Society.
Area business has been responsible for Appleton's economic prosperity and progressive attitude. 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 in Appleton 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.
Not too long afterward, in August of 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 all Wisconsin, and the first incandescent light in any city beyond the East Coast.
Appleton's Valley Fair Shopping Center, built in 1954, laid claim to being the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States, though this claim is disputed today by others such as Rhode Island's Westminster Arcade, Seattle's Northgate Mall, and Minnesota's Southdale Center. However, the shopping center has now been torn down except for the movie theater part.
Appleton was also the childhood home of Harry Houdini, who claimed in interviews to have been born in Appleton on April 6, 1874 even though he was actually born in Hungary on March 24 of the same year.
The city is a member of Valley Transit, a network of bus lines crisscrossing the Fox Valley.
Commercial air service is provided at Outagamie County Regional Airport.
The primary roads into the metro Appleton area are US-41 and US-10. US-41 runs north-south on the west side of the city, and turns east-west across the north side of the city. US-41 connects to Green Bay to the northeast and Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, and Milwaukee to the south. W-441 loops off US-41 across the south and east sides of the metro Appleton area. US-10 is an east-west highway that connects to Manitowoc to the east, and Stevens Point/Wausau to the west.
W-125 provides access from US-41 to downtown Appleton. Other secondary state highway into the Appleton metro area include W-47, W-96, W-15. Roads that route exclusively through suburbs of Appleton include US-45, W-55, W-114, and W-76.
Appleton is served by the Appleton Area School District. The district has three high schools, Appleton East, Appleton North and Appleton West. Xavier High School is the city's Roman Catholic high school and Fox Valley Lutheran High School is its Lutheran high school. It is also home to several charter schools, a complete list of which can be found here.
Appleton is home to Lawrence University, a private liberal arts college on the shores of the Fox River. The university was formed before the city was founded, and Appleton is named for a wealthy donor to the institution. The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, a two-year collegiate campus of the University of Wisconsin System is located in nearby Menasha, Wisconsin, and the Fox Valley Technical College are also located in Appleton.
The city and surrounding area are served by the Appleton Public Library . The library was chartered by the city in 1897 and as of 2007 has a collection of nearly 400,000 volumes.
Appleton has a fairly diverse religious community, although Catholicism and Lutheranism are probably the most common religious affiliations. Almost every Christian denomination is represented, and the city lays claim to a synagogue, a Unitarian Universalist fellowship, and an Islamic society.
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 3,355.9 people per square mile (1,296.0/km²). There were 27,736 housing units at an average density of 1,328.0/sq mi (512.9/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 $47,285, and the median income for a family was $57,097. Males had a median income of $40,459 versus $25,890 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,478. About 3.3% of families and 5.5% 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.
Appleton (formerly known as Appleton Papers)
Points of interest
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