The airport opened with one runway (5200-ft runway 12) around 1965.
In 1933 Appleton's airport was George A Whiting Field, three miles south of town; by 1936 the municipal airport had opened northeast of town on the south side of US 41, southeast of the intersection at 44°17′15″N88°22′30″W / 44.2874°N 88.3749°W / 44.2874; -88.3749. In the 1950s and when it closed it had a 3750-ft paved runway; North Central DC-3s landed there after 1958-59.
The airport covers 1,638 acres (6.63 km2) at an elevation of 918 feet (280 m). It has concrete runways: 3/21 is 8,002 feet (2,439 m) by 150 feet (46 m) and 12/30 is 6,501 feet (1,982 m) by 150 feet (46 m). The airport added a new ground level seven-gate concourse in 2000 and renovated the existing passenger terminal, which was designed by architect Paul W. Powers. The architectural theme was representative of the river flowing through the historic paper manufacturing region.
In 2007 the airport had 49,710 aircraft operations, average 136 per day: 55% general aviation, 34% air taxi, 11% airline and <1% military. 69 aircraft were then based at this airport: 75% single-engine, 19% multi-engine and 6% jet.
The terminal was built in 1974, with expansions in 1983, 1990, and 1998. The terminal underwent its most extensive renovation and expansion to date in 2001. The new 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) gate area included more spacious seating areas with natural lighting, in floor heating, new passenger paging system, and five aircraft boarding bridges; a 6th bridge for larger planes was added later. It cost $10.7 million and was designed by Mead & Hunt, Inc.