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.
Location: North of Lake Winnebago
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.
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.
Combined Locks, along the Fox River, is a quiet, picturesque community with a solid industrial base and residential development. 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: Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce
This unincorporated area is the fastest-growing residential area in the Fox Cities. Situated in two towns (Town of Harrison and Town of Buchanan) and two counties (Outagamie and Calumet), 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.
Grand Chute is an urban town that features the Fox River Mall, the second largest 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
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 fastest growing residential areas in the state.
Location: West and north of Appleton, State 96 and 15 off U.S. 41, W. College Avenue.
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.
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.
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.
Major attractions: Doyle Park and waterslide, Heesakker Park, Legion Park, Van Lieshout Park; Cheese Festival.
Information: littlechutewi.org I Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce
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.
Information: Heart of the Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Village of Fox Crossing, 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.
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.
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: Fox Cities Convention and Visitors Bureau
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.
Major attractions: Fox River, Royal Scott Golf Course.