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City of Appleton 1989 historic sites inventory
(1989)

History of Appleton,   pp. 5-6 PDF (841.1 KB)


Page 6


Soon after the establishment of Lawrence, business was also growing in Appleton.
The
first mill in Appleton was built in 1849 by Mr. T. P. Bingham. In 1853 the
first paper mill
was built by C. P. Richmond at the current site of Kimberly-Clark's Atlas
Mill. In the early
days flour mills, woolen mills and saw mills were common. Paper which has
become a
dominant factor in today's economy was then considered risky. In 1854, Appleton
had
two flour mills, a paper mill, four saw mills, two lathe mills, one planing
mill, two sash
and door factories, an edge tool factory, and a chair factory.
Appleton's first newspaper was The Crescent. Established in 1853 the Crescent
was a
Democratic paper that brought their view of the news to the city. In 1858
another paper,
The Post, was established to offer an alternative to the Crescent's democratic
bias with
a republican one. In 1870 two more papers were created, The Times and the
most
widely read German newspaper in the state The Appleton Volksfreund. The Post
and
The Crescent eventually went on to merge and become The Post-Crescent while
the
other papers eventually died out.
The year 1856 was a special year for Appleton. The steamboat Aquila came
through
Appleton on its trip to Green Bay. It was a symbolic journey because it marked
the
completion of the Fox-Wisconsin locks system. The steamboat had started at
Pitts-
burgh, Pennsylvania, and traveled along the Ohio, Mississippi, Wisconsin,
and Fox River
to get to Appleton. Regretfully the era of steamboats was short-lived. The
railroad soon
took over freight transportation following the extension of the Chicago &
Northwestern
Railroad to Appleton in 1861. The City's first bond issue supported construction
of the
railroad.
During Appleton's development it experienced several scientific/industrial
firsts. In
1877, Alfred Galpin jr. hooked up Wisconsin's first working telephone. He
erected tele-
phone lines from from his home at 726 E. College Avenue to his office on
the corner of
Morrison and College, a distance of about 1/3 of a mile. He was known to
have been
in contact with Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. Mr.
Galpin's
telephone encouraged Appleton to become one of the first cities in Wisconsin
to have
a switchboard and an extensive phone system.
Appleton was also the site of the first successful hydroelectric plant in
the world.
Electricity and electric lights were installed in the mill and home of Henry
Rodgers. The
lights were turned on for the first time on September 30, 1882. The Rodgers
home, now
known as Hearthstone, has been preserved as an historic landmark.
In 1885 the first successful electric street car began operation in Appleton.
Under the
direction ofJudge Joseph Harriman, the Appleton Electric Street Car Company
offered
a successful and popular form of public transportation. The first line ran
from the corner
of State and Prospect east to Riverside Cemetery.
Appleton has grown considerably since the days of Hippolyte Grignon more
than 150
years ago. We have had citizens go on to become well-known people in American
history. The best known of Appleton natives include Harry Houdini (Erich
Weiss), Edna
Ferber, and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Though recent years have also seen Appleton
natives achieve prominence, including Robert "Rocky" Bleier, Lynn
Kellogg, and Willem
Dafoe. Our city has grown tremendously in population and size. Preservation
of the
City's early history through identification of significant buildings and
sites is the purpose
of this report.
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