Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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Oshkosh, Wisconsin
Downtown Oshkosh
Downtown Oshkosh
Nickname(s): Sawdust City
Motto: "On the water"
Oshkosh Location in Wisconsin
Oshkosh Location in Wisconsin
Country United States
State Wisconsin
Counties Winnebago
Settled 1853
Government
 • Type Council-Manager [1]
 • Mayor Burk Tower
 • City Manager Mark Rohloff
Area[2]
 • City 26.61 sq mi (68.92 km2)
 • Land 25.59 sq mi (66.28 km2)
 • Water 1.02 sq mi (2.64 km2)
Elevation 790 ft (241 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 66,083
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 66,653
 • Density 2,582.4/sq mi (997.1/km2)
 • Metro 160,000
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP Code 54901-54904
Area code(s) 920
Website www.ci.oshkosh.wi.us

Oshkosh is a city in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, United States, located where the Fox River enters Lake Winnebago from the west. The population was 66,083 at the 2010 census. The city is located adjacent to and partially within the Town of Oshkosh.

History[edit]

Oshkosh on the Fox River

Oshkosh was named for Menominee Chief Oshkosh, whose name meant "claw"[5] (cf. Ojibwe oshkanzh, "the claw").[6] Although the fur trade brought the first European settlers to the area as early as 1818, it never became a major player in the fur trade. It was the establishment and growth of the lumber industry in the area that spurred development of Oshkosh. Oshkosh was incorporated as a city in 1853, although it had already been designated the county seat, and had a population of nearly 2,800.[7]

The lumber industry became well established as businessmen took advantage of navigable waterways to provide access to both markets and northern pineries. The 1859 arrival of rail transportation expanded the ability to meet the demands of a rapidly growing construction market. At one time, Oshkosh was known as the "Sawdust Capital of the World" due to the number of lumber mills in the city, 11 by 1860. By 1874, there were 47 sawmills and 15 shingle mills. By 1870, Oshkosh had become the third-largest city in Wisconsin with a population of over 12,000. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper (now the Oshkosh Northwestern) was founded around this time, as was the Oshkosh State Normal School (now the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh). On April 28, 1875, Oshkosh had a "Great Fire" that consumed homes and businesses along Main Street north of the Fox River. The fire had engulfed 70 stores, 40 factories, and 500 homes costing nearly $2.5 million (or $51.2 million in 2010 money) in damage.[8][9]

Around 1900 Oshkosh was home of the Oshkosh Brewing Company, which coined the marketing slogan "By Gosh It's Good." Its Chief Oshkosh became a nationally distributed beer.

Historic districts[edit]

Houses in the Algoma Historic District

The city has a total of 33 listings on the National Register of Historic Places. The lumber industry made the fortunes of area entrepreneurs and businessmen, who made significant contributions to the community, politics and philanthropic organizations. Availability of materials and capital, along with devastating downtown fires in the mid-1870s, created a range of well-designed buildings for residential, commercial, civic and religious use. The many structures which make up the city's historic areas are largely a result of the capital and materials generated by the lumber and associated wood manufacturing industries. Oshkosh had six historic districts as of October 2011. They include the Algoma Boulevard, Irving/Church, North Main Street, Oshkosh State Normal School on the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh campus, Paine Lumber Company and Washington Avenue historic districts.

The city had 27 historic buildings as of October 2011. Eleven are houses, four are churches, and the remainder include schools, colleges, a bank, a fire house, an observatory, the county courthouse, and a cemetery where many of the entrepreneurs are buried.

Geography[edit]

Oshkosh is located at 44°1′29″N 88°33′4″W / 44.02472°N 88.55111°W / 44.02472; -88.55111 (44.024983, -88.551336).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.61 square miles (68.92 km2), of which, 25.59 square miles (66.28 km2) is land and 1.02 square miles (2.64 km2) is water.[2]

Transportation[edit]

US 41.svg
U.S. Route 41 Northbound, US 41 routes to Appleton and Green Bay. Southbound, US 41 routes to Fond du Lac and Milwaukee. This is a full interstate grade freeway. It has 6 exits serving the Oshkosh area at:

WIS 26/Hwy N Waupun Rd., WIS 44/91 South Park Ave./Ripon Rd., 9th Ave., WIS 21 Oshkosh Ave./Omro Rd., US 45 Algoma Blvd., and WIS 76 Jackson St.

WIS 21.svg
WIS 21 travels west to Omro, Wautoma and Tomah, Wisconsin. WIS 21 is partly or entirely along Omro Rd., Oshkosh Ave., Congress Ave., and Algoma Blvd.
WIS 26.svg
WIS 26 Southbound, routes to Rosendale, Waupun, Beaver Dam, Watertown, Ft. Atkinson and Janesville, Wisconsin. This is Waupun Rd.
WIS 44.svg
WIS 44 travels southwest to Ripon, Wisconsin. WIS 44 is partly or entirely along Ripon Rd., South Park Ave., Ohio St., Wisconsin St., and Irving Ave.
US 45.svg
U.S. Route 45 travels north to New London, Wisconsin and travels south to Fond du Lac along Lake Winnebago. US 45 is partly or entirely along Fond du Lac Rd., Main St., Algoma Blvd. (Northbound) / High Ave. (Southbound), Jackson St., Murdock St., and Algoma Blvd.
WIS 76.svg
WIS 76 travels north to Shiocton, Wisconsin. This is Jackson St. from US 45 Murdock St heading north.
WIS 91.svg
WIS 91 travels west to Berlin, Wisconsin. This is cosigned with WIS 44 along South Park Ave west of US 41 to Waukau Rd. Then it continues west on Waukau Rd.

Other main streets in Oshkosh that are not state or federal highways are Washburn St., Koeller St., Witzel Ave., 9th Ave., 20th Ave, Sawyer St., Oregon St., New York Ave., E Murdock Ave., W Murdock Ave., High Ave. (one way south), Algoma Blvd. (one way north), and Harrison St.

Oshkosh is also served by the Oshkosh Transit System, which runs nine fixed-route bus routes throughout the city from 6:15 AM until 6:15 PM Monday through Saturday. One of these routes also connects Oshkosh with Neenah, Wisconsin and the Fox Cities' transit system, Valley Transit.

Oshkosh also has an airport named Wittman Field or Wittman Regional Airport which opened in 1927 as Oshkosh Airport Inc. The airport had commercial traffic starting in 1928 when Northwest Airways delivered mail to Oshkosh and the Fox Cities. In 1972, the airport was renamed after race pilot Steve Wittman who was the airport manager for 38 years. Wittman Field did have commercial service on United Airlines and American Airlines until the mid-1980s. Today, Wittman Field is the home of the AirVenture Air Show and Expo (formerly the EAA up to 1998). The EAA started in 1953 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at Timmerman Field. In 1959, the EAA was moved to Rockford, Illinois. By 1969, the EAA had grown too big for Rockford Municipal Airport. The convention voted on moving to Oshkosh. During the Air Show, Wittman becomes the busiest airport in the world with more than 500,000 people and 10,000 airplanes attending AirVenture each year.

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 6,086
1870 12,663 108.1%
1880 15,748 24.4%
1890 22,836 45.0%
1900 28,284 23.9%
1910 33,062 16.9%
1920 33,162 0.3%
1930 40,108 20.9%
1940 39,089 −2.5%
1950 41,084 5.1%
1960 45,110 9.8%
1970 53,082 17.7%
1980 49,620 −6.5%
1990 55,006 10.9%
2000 62,916 14.4%
2010 66,083 5.0%
Est. 2012 66,653 0.9%
U.S. Census Bureau[11]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 66,083 people, 26,138 households, and 13,836 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,582.4 inhabitants per square mile (997.1 /km2). There were 28,179 housing units at an average density of 1,101.2 per square mile (425.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.5% White, 3.1% African American, 0.8% Native American, 3.2% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.

There were 26,138 households of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.7% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.1% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 33.5 years. 18.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 18.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 23% were from 45 to 64; and 12.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.2% male and 48.8% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 62,916 people, 24,082 households, and 13,654 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,662.2 people per square mile (1,028.0/km²). There were 25,420 housing units at an average density of 1,075.6 per square mile (415.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.73% White, 2.19% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 3.03% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 1.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 52.2% were of German and 6.3% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 24,082 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 18.1% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,636, and the median income for a family was $48,843. Males had a median income of $33,750 versus $24,154 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,964. About 5.2% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

City hall

Oshkosh Correctional Institution, a Wisconsin Department of Corrections prison, is located in Oshkosh.

Oshkosh is represented by Tom Petri (R) in the United States House of Representatives, and by Ron Johnson (R) and Tammy Baldwin (D) in the United States Senate. Rick Gudex (R) represents Oshkosh in the Wisconsin State Senate, and Michael Schraa (R) and Gordon Hintz (D) represent Oshkosh in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Business and industry[edit]

Oshkosh Corporation is headquartered in Oshkosh. Oshkosh Corporation, formerly Oshkosh Truck, is the leading manufacturer and marketer of specialty vehicles and bodies in four primary business groups: Access Equipment, Defense, Fire & Emergency, and Commercial. Plastic packaging is also a major industry, with Bemis as a major employer. There are two well known chocolate companies located in Oshkosh, Hughes and Oaks.

Oshkosh is known for OshKosh B'Gosh, a manufacturer of overalls and children's clothing founded in Oshkosh in 1895. Originally a small-town manufacturer of adult work clothing, it became best known for its children's lines. The original children's overalls, dating from the early twentieth century, were intended to help children dress like their fathers. According to the company, sales increased dramatically when Miles Kimball, an Oshkosh-based mail-order catalog, featured a pair of the overalls in its national catalog. As a result, OshKosh B'Gosh began to sell their products through department stores and expanded their children's line. Despite the name, OshKosh B'Gosh overalls are no longer made in Oshkosh, though the company maintains corporate offices there.

Oshkosh is also the home of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration" held by the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. ("EAA"). AirVenture is the world's largest airshow, and during AirVenture, air traffic at Wittman Regional Airport exceeds that of any other airport in the world.[13] EAA is a non-profit member organization, dedicated to home-built aircraft, restored aircraft, light-sport aircraft and fostering an interest in flying in children 8–18 years old through its Young Eagles program.

Tourism and events are part of the local economy. Recreational fishing and boating on Lake Winnebago includes many active fishing tournaments, an annual sturgeon spearing season, and frequent yacht and boat races. Music festivals include the summer-long WaterFest downtown and major summer music festivals for country, Christian, and rock music.

Oshkosh is also home to two regional hospitals and the Winnebago Mental Health Institute located in nearby Winnebago, Wisconsin.

Education[edit]

The University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, the third largest university in the state, is located in Oshkosh. The downtown campus serves approximately 14,000 students and employs 1,700 staff. Higher education is also served by a campus of the Fox Valley Technical College.

Main article: Oshkosh Area School District

Oshkosh has fifteen public elementary schools, six public middle schools, and two high schools operated by the Oshkosh Area School District.

High schools in the Oshkosh Area School District:

Private high schools:

Public libraries[edit]

  • Oshkosh Public Library serves Oshkosh.

Culture and entertainment[edit]

Oshkosh has seen a recent (as of 2006) resurgence in its cultural and entertainment options.

A downtown redevelopment plan led to the construction of the outdoor Leach Amphitheater on the Fox River, hosting the weekly Waterfest concert series[14] during the summer, as well as national touring musical acts and local community events. Also in downtown Oshkosh is the Grand Opera House, a performing arts center.

Downtown Oshkosh Gallery Walk, held every first Saturday of the month year-round, surged in attendance in comparison to previous years through the warmer months of 2006.[15] A number of downtown Oshkosh music venues have opened and existing venues have tended to expand their schedules, following the trend of the area at large.

Long-running community festivals such as Sawdust Days[16] in Menominee Park continue to be popular. Menominee Park is also the site of the Menominee Park Zoo and "Little Oshkosh", a community-built playground. Oshkosh is also home to "Country USA" featuring entertainment from dozens of country music acts over a five-day period in June, and "Rock USA" featuring entertainment from many rock music acts as well.

Other points of interest:

Recreation[edit]

Waterfest crowd at the Leach Amphitheater, June 2006

Oshkosh is the southern terminus of the Wiouwash State Trail.

Notable people[edit]

Fictional characters[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°01′27″N 88°33′40″W / 44.02417°N 88.56111°W / 44.02417; -88.56111