not really a blog -- just a few pictures

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Appleton and Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I was in my hometown, Appleton, Wisconsin, for five weeks of vacation and refresh time in March and April.

Appleton is a smallish town of 70,000, but it’s part of a larger constellation of towns on the Fox River, the Fox Cities, that stretches up to Green Bay and includes about 370,000 people.  Although Appleton isn’t well known, a few famous folks hail from there: magician / escape artist Harry Houdini, author Edna Ferber, Iwo Jima flag raiser John Bradley, actor Willem Dafoe, and (more infamously) red-baiter Joseph McCarthy.
Paper is the biggest industry there, originally drawn by the river’s anomalously strong current, and employs about 50,000 people.  The first “Edison hydroelectric central station,” the Vulcan Street Plant, was also built on the river in Appleton in 1882.

Lawrence University, a small liberal arts college and conservatory, is at Appleton's center, where the main drag (College Avenue) meets the river.

The Castle local history museum is across the street.  The conspicuous building was originally a Freemason temple.

Other great quirky buildings on College Avenue.

Harry Houdini lived in Appleton from ages 4 to 13, and appears to have said that the “greatest escape I ever made was when I left Appleton, Wisconsin.” :)  His father Mayer was the rabbi at the Zion Reform Jewish Congregation, whose building still stands and is now home to Wahl Organ Builders.

In 1836, Native Americans ceded about 1/10th of modern Wisconsin to the United States in the Treaty of the Cedars.  The site of the meeting is on the Fox on the edge of Appleton.

I read somewhere that Wisconsin is the state that drinks the most Mountain Dew...seems to be confirmed.

I also visited Marquette University in Milwaukee with my friends James and John, to see a showing of the university’s original Tolkien manuscripts.

The St. Joan of Arc Chapel is a 15th century chapel that was moved from France to New York to Marquette (in the 1960s). It still includes the tomb of a medieval French knight, "Chevalier de Sautereau, a former Chatelain of Chasse."

Also got to visit the Milwaukee Public Museum with my sister and her family. :)

Somewhere between Milwaukee and Appleton.

Update 2016.07.10: Appleton Historical Society group on Facebook had a posting saying that the building has the horse head because it was originally built for a harness shop owned by Gerhardt and Thomas Kamps, and was designed by the same architect who designed the Temple Zion building (the Wahl Organ Builders building above).  Similarly, the lions on the adjacent building are there because that was the Post newspaper building and the lions represented the "roar of truth." :)


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