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Adams, Arva Luther; Herziger, Caryl Chandler; Pawlowski, Winifred Anderson (ed.) / A tale of twin cities : or the development of the Fox River Waterway

Herzinger, Caryl Chandler
A tale of twin cities continues,   pp. 206-212 PDF (2.1 MB)

Page 206

A Tale of Twin Cities Continues
That the two cities, Neenah and Menasha, should co-exist was perhaps pre-
ordained. The geography, the kind of men who settled here, even the time in the
history of the country when the cities were created, seem to preclude that twin
cities would be established and continue to grow as separate entities.
When two branches of the Fox River exited Lake Winnebago in post-glacial
times, they left between them the large island, later named Doty Island. It is little
wonder that one settlement began on the south banks and another on the north.
This was a typical pattern for "river cities". It was the presence of Doty Island
between the mouths which made this settlement pattern different. As matter of
fact, a third community, to be known as Island City, was envisioned by James
Doty but never became a reality.
In the short period covered in this book from the first sale of government land
in 1836 until the completion of the canal system in 1856, new towns were being
established everywhere in the former Northwest Territory and most of them were
on the banks of a river system. River travel, being the easiest and fastest means
of transportation, decreed that cities grow where there were water power and
water connections to other parts of the country. Many communities like Chicago,
Milwaukee, Green Bay, Oshkosh, and innumerable others began as two small
towns which came together as one when bridges and railroads connected them.
Neenah and Menasha were a different story. For one thing, each of them had its
own source of water power and was not dependent on the other.
Besides the geographical presence of two mouths of the river and intervening
Doty Island, the human element also entered the picture to separate the two
developing communities. When one considers the contrast in personalities of the
early founders, combined with their differences in reasons for settling here, it is
little wonder there came to be two communities.

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