Fox Footprints: local history

The Appleton Public Library is very interested in preserving local history and collecting our shared stories. This blog is a place to share those stories, sometimes from Appleton, sometimes from elsewhere in Wisconsin. I hope to connect people with others who are interested in the footprints of the past. Feel free to chime in about your history.   -Karen


Boomers and basements

I read another article in the newspaper today about Baby Boomers ending up being custodians of the accumulated treasures of their parents and grandparents.  Speaking as someone who currently has a basement full of such things, I understand that completely.  I also understand that some of those things are treasures to me as well because I know their story.  That beautiful etched glass vase was a wedding present 60 years ago.  Someday I will put flowers in it.   But more and more, I don’t have a clue.  Why did Gramma need four dozen salt cellars?  (Probably the same reason I need all 37 of the hymn books I have.)  The next generation will know less and less about these things and will likely toss them away as soon as possible.   My sons and their wives, have already chosen a couple of small things, but continue to ask when we are going to clean out the rest of that stuff.   

There is one thing that won’t be tossed, ever, and that’s the big box of family photos.  Grampa as a little boy on the farm with his pet goat.  Gramma’s graduation photo.  The one single tiny black and white photo from their wedding.  These are priceless, and must be kept!  Luckily there are many ways to do that, and to share those things to keep their stories alive.   Millennials (people under 30) have grown up with everything being available instantaneously on some kind of device.  Heirlooms don’t fit in well in small apartments and moving every few years.  But pictures do.  They can be digitized or scanned and hundreds can be on a single gadget.   So when you do get around to cleaning out the attic or the basement, capture those memories instead of just tossing them out.  Surely your kids have room for a CD or two.  You might even look at them occasionally.

Then think about who else might enjoy them.  Do you have a photo of a building that is no longer standing in Appleton?  Is your family one that has been here in the Valley for generations?  Do you have a picture of the original angels on the Avenue? The Appleton Public Library has a collection of photos, some physical photos and some just scans of photos shared with us.  We'd love to see some of yours!   Check it out at www.foxvalleymemory.org.  Plus, let me know if you are interested in a lot of glass salt cellars!

Appleton Public Library history

I have been here for over 30 years, and I learn something new about our own history almost every day.  If only that beautiful wood desk in the lower level of the library could talk!  If you haven't seen it, stop down next time you're here.  Just take the elevator to the basement and there it is!  It has been refinished over the years of course, but it is the original desk from the 121 S. Oneida location.   I love the fantastic capabilities of our online catalog and all that technology does for us, but there's still something about a good old card catalog that makes me smile.  I'd also like to point out an interesting presentation about the history of the Appleton Public Library.  One of our volunteers, Emily Gilbert, did a presentation at the November 2011 meeting of the Appleton Historical Society.  You can watch it here.

Aviation in the Fox Valley

This week the Appleton Historical Society had our regular monthly meeting.  Just in time for EAA, the topic was the history of aviation in the Fox Valley.  Ken Syring presented a terrific overview of the development of airlines and airports in the Appleton area.  I learned the current airport is actually the third one.  I never knew there was one at the corner of Ballard and OO.  We have some photos of the first, the George F. Whiting airport included in Fox Valley Memory.  I hope to find some of the second airport to add to FVM soon.  Thanks Ken for the great program!

Welcome to Fox Footprints!

Welcome to Fox Footprints!  The Appleton Public Library is very interested in preserving local history and collecting our shared stories.  This BLOG is a place to share those stories, sometimes from Appleton, sometimes from elsewhere in Wisconsin.  I hope to connect people with others who are interested in the footprints of the past.  Feel free to chime in about your history!

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