University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The State of Wisconsin Collection

Page View

Our first 100 years, 1857-1957

The middle years--1900-1945,   pp. 20-55 PDF (14.9 MB)

Page 21

Commercial National Bank Building burned in 1928. It was known as the Irving
Zuelke Building.
The Middle Years-1900-1945
  In this section of the history of our city we
give space to the middle years, those years
beginning with the turn of the century
through the second world war. To many of us
these were "the good old days"; the days of
neighborliness and friendliness; the days of
vigorous industrial and business enterprise.
The realization that each succeeding genera-
tion has its golden era does not diminish the
pride one has of his own.
  Modes of travel changed drastically during
these middle years. Pictures of Appleton at
the turn of the century show hitching posts
and watering troughs on the avenue. All of
these were soon to disappear, as well as the
streetcar track. This transition, and its effect
upon the lives of citizens of this community,
is an interesting story in itself. An attempt
will be made to bring together some of these
factors historically.
   In January 1886, Joseph E. Harriman, a
 real estate dealer and Outagamie county
 judge; his brother, lawyer F. W. Harriman;
 and N. B. Clark, a wealthy farmer, incorpo-
 rated the Appleton Electric Street Railway
Company. Others of the original incorpo-
rators were G. W. Gerry, R. M. Lunt,
T. W. Orbison, and Joseph Koffend. The
cars were controlled only at one end, so
that at the end of a run turntables enabled
the motorman to turn his car around by
hand. The cars were light and so constructed
that two men could push the cars back
whenever they jumped the tracks. Power
for the cars was furnished by a 60-kilowatt
water-driven generator. Much of its early
popular favor depended on its novelty and
the prestige it gave the community. In
1891 the streetcar company was put up for
sale. It was purchased by the electric com-
pany and a new corporation was formed:
The Appleton Edison Electric Company. At
that time, February 1891, the usable assets
of the streetcar system included only "the
franchise, five cars, and three-quarters of a
mile of rail."
   Employees started at about 18 cents per
 hour. By 1911 this wage had increased to 22
 cents. About forty men were employed.
 Policemen and firemen were permitted to

Go up to Top of Page