Appleton is at the hub of the Fox Cities and its largest community. The history of the city mirrors that of Lawrence University as the two grew up simultaneously. Lawrence University was chartered in 1847 and a main benefactor was Samuel Appleton. In appreciation, his name was given to the community. Appleton’s downtown area, bolstered by the new Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, is a center for entertainment, recreation and diverse commercial and professional businesses. Author Edna Ferber and magician Harry Houdini are two of its most noted
gifts to the world.
Location: North of Lake Winnebago
Major attractions: Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, Fox Cities Children’s Museum, Houdini Museum, Lawrence University, College Avenue hotels, eating establishments and niche businesses.
Combined Locks, along the Fox River, is a quiet, picturesque community with a solid industrial base and residential development. Part of the Kimberly School District, the village has expanded south of County CE.
Location: Between Kimberly and Kaukauna south of the Fox River, Combined Locks is accessible off County Roads N, CE, Z, K and HH.
Major attractions: Blaese Park, Lindberg Park, Memorial Park, Van Zeeland Park.
Information: Village Civic Center, 405 Wallace St., 920-788-7740; Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, www.heartofthevalleychamber.com; 920- 766-1616.
This unincorporated area is the fastest-growing residential area in the Fox Cities. Situated in two towns and two counties, growth depends on the Darboy Sanitary District. The commercial district is developing to serve the large residential population.
Location: East of Appleton and south of Kimberly, Combined Locks and Kaukauna around County N, K and KK.
Population: Town of Buchanan, 6,725; Town of Harrison, 7,389, more than 7,500 of these people live in the Darboy Sanitary District.
Information: Buchanan Town Hall, N178 County N, Appleton, 920-734- 8599. Harrison Town Hall, W2598 State 114, Menasha, 920-989-1062. Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, www.heartofthevalleychamber.com; 920-766-1616.
Town of Freedom
Freedom was established 150 years ago. The unincorporated area is a mixture of large farms and new housing development.
Location: North of Appleton, Little Chute and Kaukauna on State 55 at County E and S.
Features: VFW Park, Freedom High School, Citizen’s Park, Rickert Park; Irish Waters Golf Course
Information: Town Hall, W2004 County S, 920-788-4548; Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, www.heartofthevalleychamber.com. 920- 766-1616.
Grand Chute is an urban town that features the Fox River Mall, the secondlargest shopping mall in Wisconsin. In addition, it is the third most populous municipality in the Fox Cities. It also is the site of Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers baseball team.
Location: West and north of Appleton on U.S. 41
Major attractions: Fox River Mall and surrounding commercial areas, Fox Cities Stadium, Fox Valley Technical College.
Rural farms in this town situated west and north of the Fox Cities are quickly being replaced by subdivisions, commercial development and industrial parks. It ranks as one of the fastestgrowing residential areas in the state.
Location: West and north of Appleton, State 96 and 15 off U.S. 41, W. College Avenue.
Attractions: Outagamie County Airport, Lions Park, YMCA West, Greenville Community Park.
The “Electric City” is one of Wisconsin’s oldest communities, settled in the late 1600s by trappers, merchants and missionaries traveling up the Fox River. Jean Nicolet made the trip up the Fox in search of a water passage to the Orient. The falls made Kaukauna a natural stop for travelers and later would be a boon to hydropower, which lends its name to the city.
Location: East end of the Fox Cities at U.S. 41 and State 55.
Attractions: Charles Grignon Mansion, 1000 Islands Environmental Center, Wisconsin International Raceway, Doty Bayorgeon Recreational Area, Grignon Park.
Kimberly has at least two distinctions. It is the only land-locked municipality in the area and it is home to the International Softball Congress Hall of Fame. The Fox River prevents the village from expanding north, while Combined Locks and a border agreement keeps it from expanding south.
Location: South of the Fox River and Little Chute and east of Appleton. Access on County N from U.S. 41 off County CE.
Population: 6,292. Major attractions: John Street Park, Stonegate Park, Roosevelt Park; Sunset Park, Sunset Beach Swimming area, Triangle Area, Van Daalwyk Park, Verhagen Park.
Dutch heritage is proudly exhibited in Little Chute, which got its name from the French explorers who named it “La Petite Chute,” or Little Falls. The Fox River forms a scenic FOX CITIES PROFILE backdrop for Little Chute, which continues to grow its economic base with commercial and industrial development. It is the area’s largest village.
Location: Outagamie County N south off U.S. 41, it stretches from Appleton to Kaukauna along State 96 north of the Fox River.
Population: 10,741. Features: Doyle Park and waterslide, Heesakker Park, Legion Park, Van Lieshout Park; Cheese Festival.
City of Menasha
Menasha shares much of its history with Neenah as the other half of the Twin Cities. Historic photos and artifacts tell the history of the Fox River and the construction of the bridge in the Tayco Street Bridge Tower Museum at Tayco and Main streets. The Polish Connection, the local name for State 441 over Lake Butte des Morts, says a lot about Menasha’s heritage.
Location: Northwest shore of Lake Winnebago. Several accesses off U.S. 41, also U.S. 10, State 47 and 114.
Population: 16,648 Major attractions: Heckrodt Nature Reserve, Menasha Marina, University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.
Town of Menasha
The Town of Menasha, between Appleton and Menasha, is in the heart of several transportation corridors. It is an urban town with a diverse economy of retail, commercial, service and industrial businesses.
Location: West of Little Lake Butte des Morts, along Fox River, with access from State 441, U.S. 10 and County CB.
Population: 16,485 Major attractions: Tri-County Ice Arena, O’Hauser Park, Miron Construction Co. Inc. headquarters.
City of Neenah
Neenah was an early center of industry because of its location on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River pioneering in milling grain and the lumber industry. The paper industry became a major part of the community, which has a diverse retail and professional business. Theda Clark Medical Center is one of many institutions made possible through community-minded residents.
Location: West shore of Lake Winnebago, several accesses off U.S. 41.
Major attractions: Riverside Park; Bergstrom-Mahler Museum; Theda Clark Medical Center; Pickard Auditorium.
Town of Neenah
The town retains much of its rural atmosphere as it has been able to manage urban sprawl so far. A boundary agreement with the City of Neenah will allow orderly development in the future.
Location: South and west of the City of Neenah.
Major attractions: Mahler Park, Quarry Quest site, portion of County CB off-road trail
Information: Town Hall, Breezewood Lane west of U.S. 41, 920-725-0916; Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau, www.foxcities.org. 920-734-3358.
The area’s newest village is growing rapidly because of its location on the shore of Lake Winnebago, High Cliff State Park, golf courses and quiet, rural setting.
Location: State 55 and 114 on the east shore of Lake Winnebago.
Features: High Cliff State Park, High Cliff Marina, two golf courses, hiking trail.
Information: Village Office, W482 Clifton Road, 920-989-1589. Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce, www.heartofthevalleychamber.com; 920- 766-1616.
Location is the reason why this village in Outagamie and Brown counties is growing rapidly in population, commercial ventures and industry. It is along the Fox River, midway between Appleton and Green Bay.
Location: State 96, three miles east of Kaukauna.
Features: Fox River, Royal Scott Golf Course.