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Home of the firsts, the onlys, and all things quirky
What are we the home of here in the Fox Cities? Now that's a list...
World-renowned escape artist Harry Houdini
Originally born in Hungary, Harry Houdini's family immigrated to the United States in 1878 when he was 4 years old. The family settled in Appleton and Houdini frequently referred to Appleton later in life as his hometown. The land where the Houdini family settled is now known as "Houdini Plaza" in downtown Appleton and the History Museum at the Castle has a permanent exhibit dedicated to the life and tricks of Harry Houdini.
Our nation's oldest Flag Day parade (Appleton)
The Fox Cities have honored "Old Glory" since 1950, making the Appleton Flag Day Parade the nation's oldest and longest running celebration. The parade attracts hundreds of participants and more than 50,000 spectators to Appleton each June.
The largest nighttime Christmas parade in the Midwest (Appleton)
80,000 spectators line College Avenue each November for the Midwest's biggest and best nighttime Christmas parade. Featuring colorful floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands, animals, and Santa Clause himself, the parade is guaranteed to bring holiday cheer to anyone who attends.
Outagamie County's first brewery
German immigrant, Anton Fischer, settled in Appleton in 1858 to help build the Fox River canal system. Along with the canal system, he also helped construct the first brewery in Outagamie County and the same building in which you can now find Stone Arch Brewpub. Surviving prohibition, a fire, and multiple brewery transitions, the building has stood the test of time. Make a visit to Stone Arch Brewpub for legendary cheese curds and award-winning handcrafted beers, seltzers, and gourmet sodas.
The only family-owned and operated milk bottling plant in the state of WI (Lamers Dairy)
Five generations of the Lamers family have been producing award-winning milk and dairy products since 1913. If you've never tried glass bottled milk, make Lamers Dairy your next destination ASAP. Watch the milk bottling process at the Country Store through the 30-foot observation window and shop their huge selection of dairy products, local goods, and sweet treats.
Wisconsin's longest trestle bridge (Fox Cities Trestle)
Stretching 1,600 feet over Little Lake Butte des Morts, this lighted and paved pedestrian bridge is the longest in Wisconsin. You can also find 6 bump outs along the bridge perfect for fishing or taking in the panoramic lake views. Find the bridge at Fritse Park and continue on to the Loop the Lake trail, a 3.2 mile paved loop over the water that connects 3 Fox Cities communities - Neenah, Menasha, and Fox Crossing.
The first private residence anywhere in the world to be illuminated (Hearthstone)
Henry J. Rogers, who built the home in the 1800s, was a visionary and entrepreneur in the early paper mill industry. Using the Fox River as a hydroelectric power source, Rogers installed a central Edison system in his home and "flipped the switch" for illumination in 1882. The Queen Anne Victorian style home still contains the original electroliers, light switches, and wiring and is open year round for tours.
World's largest collection of glass paperweights on display (Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass)
Evangeline Bergstrom began her love of glass paperweights as a child and eventually gathered a collection of well over 200 pieces. After publishing a book on glass paperweights and receiving numerous requests to show her collection, Evangeline donated the Tudor mansion she and her husband built in 1930 to serve as a glass art museum. Today, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass is home to multiple galleries of beautiful glass art in addition to Evangeline's paperweight collection. The museum is free and family-friendly and also offers classes to learn how to create your own glass art.
The second oldest co-educational college in America (Lawrence University)
Lawrence University was founded in 1847 and is known today for their world-class Conservatory of Music. Located on beautiful grounds in the heart of Downtown Appleton, Lawrence provides a diverse and welcoming community and enrolls about 1,500 students from nearly every state and 40 countries.
Most Broadway premieres in the state of WI (Fox Cities Performing Arts Center)
The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center has premiered more Broadway shows in WI than any other venue in the state, meaning productions like Hamilton and The Lion King landed in Appleton before any other Wisconsin city. The P.A.C opened its doors in 2002 and has been serving the cultural, educational, and entertainment needs of the community ever since.
Would you believe us if we said that only scratches the surface? It's true! Innovation, entrepreneurship, and the spirit of originality have reined supreme in the history and modern day development of the Fox Cities. If you're looking for original experiences you can't find anywhere else, we've got you covered.