Outagamie County is one of 72 counties in Wisconsin. Outagamie County, covering 640 square miles, is located in east-central Wisconsin, along the Fox River, near the northern end of Lake Winnebago. The region was once the hunting and fishing grounds for several Native American tribes including the Menominee, Outagamie and Winnebago. The name Outagamie is derived from a Native American word meaning "dwellers on either shore" or "dwellers on the other side of the stream." The original French fur traders nicknamed the Outagamie tribe "les renards," meaning foxes. Hence the name for the Fox River.
Outagamie County was created in 1851 when it voluntarily separated from Brown County. The Outagamie County seat is the City of Appleton, whose metro area includes an estimated population of 169,337 in the 2004 census, an increase of 5.20% in just four years. The entire metro area also includes parts of several adjoining counties, Calumet and Winnebago.
With Appleton as its cultural and municipal center, Outagamie County is the primary home of the famed "Fox Cities," a cluster of 18 small- to mid-sized communities built alongside or near the Fox River-Lake Winnebago waterway. Today, with a population of more than 220,000, the Outagamie County portion of the Fox Cities metro area is one of the largest and fastest growing urban centers in Wisconsin. The population of the three-county Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), or metroplex, is nearly 380,000, making it the third largest metropolitan area in the State of Wisconsin, and one of the fastest growing.
In 1634 French explorer Jean Nicolet was the first European to the area, soon followed by French fur traders. One of these traders, Charles Grignon, built his mansion in the woods in 1837 and it is the oldest home in Outagamie County. Other ethnic groups settling here include Dutch, German, Polish, Irish and, more recently, Hmong and Laotian.
The water power of the Fox River provided the beginnings of what would become, and still remains, a world renowned Outagamie County paper industry. The river provided the needed power for the first mills in the area, which were flour and woolen mills. These mills were later converted to paper production and the early giants of the paper industry, Kimberly-Clark, Appleton Papers, Wisconsin Tissue, now part of Georgia-Pacific, and Menasha Corporation, have earned this area it’s nickname, the Paper Valley.
While the paper industry dominates the strong local manufacturing sector, companies engaged in plastics, printing and graphics arts, machinery, metals, electronics and food processing contribute heavily to the diversified manufacturing economy. Dairy, farming and related enterprises anchor a strong agribusiness economy in the Outagamie County area. Due to the highly educated work force, trade and service industries flourish as well. Six insurance companies as well as a prospering network of financial and health institutions call the region home.
Retail development and sales continue to soar as a result of the vibrant economy and fast growth of the region. Downtown redevelopments in many communities have provided thriving downtown districts. Further, Outagamie County is home to the Fox River Mall, the second largest shopping mall in the state. Outagamie County and the Fox Cities also offer a wide variety of cultural, artistic and sporting events through such organizations as Lawrence University, the University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley, the Fox Valley Symphony, Attic Theater and the Outagamie County Historical Society. Museums include the Hearthstone Historic House Museum, the Houdini Historical Center, the Outagamie Museum and the Fox Cities Children’s Museum. Sporting events include stockcar and drag racing at the Wisconsin International Raceway and class A minor league baseball at the Fox Cities Stadium, home of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The NFL's legendary Green Bay Packers and Lambeau Field are also just a short drive away.
History shows that through the region’s progressive attitude many "firsts", both nationally and globally, occurred in the Outagamie County area. Academically, Lawrence University, the second oldest co-educational college in the nation, was established in 1847. Today Lawrence University draws students from virtually every state in the nation as well as from over 30 foreign countries. In 1917 the first facility in the United States constructed exclusively for vocational education was completed. This was the forerunner to what today has become the world renowned Fox Valley Technical College, serving over 40,000 students annually. With the joint cooperation of Outagamie and Winnebago counties, the state university system also maintains a campus, the University of Wisconsin - Fox Valley, in the area.
Fox Valley communities also were home to firsts in industrial innovations, as well. In 1877 the first telephone exchange in the state was established when a local banker connected his home and office. Soon thereafter other phones were added to this exchange, which was purchased in 1881 by the Wisconsin Telephone Company, now part of Ameritech. The year 1882 saw many firsts with the first hydroelectric central station in the United States beginning operation. Soon after, the Hearthstone House became the first home in the world lighted by a hydroelectric station. The Appleton Edison Light Company became the first organization in the world to commercially distribute electric power. In 1886 the nation’s, and probably the world’s, first commercially successful electric street-car line began operation.
And, let it be known that Outagamie County, Wisconsin, claims fame to being the home of the American classic - the hamburger - created here in the late 1800's. In 1954 a small enclosed shopping area was opened, and is credited with being the first enclosed shopping mall in the country.
Well known people from the Outagamie County region include escape artist Harry Houdini, who spent his childhood here and often referred to Appleton as his hometown. The Outagamie Museum houses the Houdini Historical Center which contains the world’s most extensive collection of Houdini memorabilia. Novelist Edna Ferber moved to the area as a young girl and graduated from the Appleton High School. Her first paid writing job was with the local newspaper. Senator Joseph McCarthy was born here and started his political career in the Fox Cities. Noted film director Howard Hanks grew up in the Fox Cities as did actor Willem Dafoe and Fox News personality Greta Van Susteren. Football star Rocky Bleier, of Pittsburgh Steelers fame, also was born and raised in the area.
For more information on activities in and around Outagamie County, Wisconsin, visit:
For more information on activities in and around the Fox Cities area in East Central Wisconsin visit:
(This and more local information is available at or through the above sites.)
Outagamie County Homes, Properties and Special Feature Real Estate
It’s not surprising, then, that homes, cabins and properties in and around Outagamie County, Wisconsin are highly prized and sell quickly. If you’re already picturing yourself owning Outagamie County, Wisconsin real estate, you’re not alone. And some of the area’s finest homes, frontage properties, retirement and other special feature homes – in a variety of attractive sizes and styles - are likely available at the right price right now.
Outagamie County, Wisconsin real estate includes a wide variety of homes for sale, condos for sale, water access properties (waterfront or scenic view), active adult communities, hobby farms and executive properties. Sellers who have been in the area for a while know our reputation for knowledgeable advice, enthusiastic service, creative marketing and professional networking. We mine every source for suitable properties so you can feel at ease that your search will produce the right kind of solution for you.
For buyers new to the area, CENTURY 21 First Realty will provide the specialized services you deserve: a strong work ethic, personal real estate expertise to help define your needs, help with selecting and securing standard financing for your purchase, special technology, constant communication throughout the transaction, and more. Our recognized expertise, professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction has made us the choice of many previous home buyers to help guide their search - from existing homes for sale, properties for sale, lots, vacant land, new construction, 55-plus and retirement communities, investment properties, waterfront, golf and recreational properties, golf course lots - all the way to luxury villas, estates and executive homes.
So when you're ready to buy or sell real estate in or around Outagamie County, Wisconsin, please let CENTURY 21 First Realty help you find the home or property of your dreams. Contact CENTURY 21 First Realty today!
Other nearby communities have similar real estate characteristics as Outagamie County and may also be of interest to you in your home search. Please feel free to ask CENTURY 21 First Realty about homes for sale, lakeside/riverside properties and other real estate listings for nearby communities, such as Appleton, Neenah, Menasha, Kaukauna, Little Chute, Combined Locks, Kimberly, Greenville, Darboy, Hortonville, Winneconne, Winchester, Fox Valley, Fox Cities, Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Lake Winnebago, Fox River [the one here, not near Chicago], Lake Poygan, Little Lake Butte des Morts, Lake Butte des Mortes and much more.
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CENTURY 21 First Realty services the real estate needs of home buyers and home sellers in search of real estate, homes for sale, condos, investment properties, commercial real estate, new construction, new homes, land, lots, waterfront properties, scenic view homes, farms and recreational property in these nearby communities and more!