Fast Facts

Has a tornado ever hit Appleton?

In the mid-1980s, a tornado touched down at the Zion and Moses Montefiore Cemetery, across from Appleton Papers.

Though not in Appleton, on April 27, 1984 a tornado in the Town of Greenville killed one person.

On August 7, 2013, five tornadoes were confirmed in Outagamie County, but despite initial reports, none struck the city of Appleton.

On June 14, 2017 a series of storms spawned nine tornadoes in the region, including an EF1 tornado that struck Appleton's east side, Kimberly, and Little Chute.

Appleton experienced widespread tree damage and power outages for days when, on July 20, 2019, several tornados struck in the area: an EF-1 near New London; an EF-1 in Hortonville with winds reaching 90 miles per hour; an EF-0 in Greenville with winds reaching 85 miles per hour; and an EF-0 in Wrightstown.



Post-Crescent, 7-4-1998, B-1.
Post-Crescent, August 8, 2013, A-1; August 9, 2013, A-1; August 11, 2013, A-2; August 13, 2013, A-1, A-4; June 22,  2017, A-6.

What is the tallest building in Appleton?

The tallest building in Appleton is the downtown 222 Building (the former AAL Building), which is 10 floors tall and 183 feet. The Zuelke Building is 12 floors tall, but is shorter at 168 feet.

The Oneida Street water tower is 117 feet 10 inches from the ground to the top (per head of City of Appleton Utilities department)
The current Zion Lutheran church building, built in 1902, was said to be 163 feet to the top of the steeple in a booklet called “Zion—Historical Notes”, page 3, by Mrs. Elizabeth Tock, written in 1983 for the church’s 100th anniversary.


Post-Crescent, 11-9-1996, B-1.

Are there 'secret tunnels' under the city of Appleton?

No. Appleton Police and Public Works departments have said they have never seen evidence of an underground tunnel anywhere in the city.


PC article, 1-5-92, B1


The "Underground Railroad" was not a literal, underground tunnel from the South to the North. Consequently, it is possible for a town or city to have been part of the Underground Railroad and not have secret tunnels anywhere. Lawrence University's Main Hall was rumored to have been a station on the Underground Railroad to Canada; in 1974, it was entered in the National Register of Historic Places of the U.S. Park Service.

The Underground Railroad is a catch-all term that refers to any of a large number of methods that American slaves and those sympathetic to them used to help those enslaved in their flights to freedom before and during the American Civil War.

The Railroad wasn't necessarily a train route, although it was in part for many escaped slaves. It wasn't necessarily underground, although many underground tunnels and hiding places were used to shield runaways from slave-chasers.

The term is known to have been in use by 1840, although it is certain that people had been escaping from slavery long before that. As is often the case, historians often point to one instance as the first use of the term: supposedly, the term was first used by the owner of Tice Davids, an African man who fled slavery in Kentucky by crossing the Ohio River. The owner tracked Davids to the river, where the enterprising Davids disappeared without a trace. The man chasing him remarked that Davids had "gone off on some underground road."

Get more details about the Underground Railroad on the National Parks Service website.

Is Common Law recognized in Wisconsin?

No, Common Law is not recognized in Wisconsin.


256 WIS 214
40 NW 2nd 588
59 Wis. 2d 451
208 NW 2nd 423

Is there a public well in Appleton?

There is a public well in downtown Appleton, in Union Springs Park, with access from Franklin St. The well is located where the Lutz Ice Plant used to be.


City of Appleton Parks and Recreation Department.


The water is turned off in the winter and turned back on (after testing) in the Spring (around the first part of May). See images here.

What is the coldest recorded temperature in Appleton?

The coldest recorded temperature in Appleton is minus 32 degrees, set February 20, 1929.


Post-Crescent, 2-4-1996.


See the Wisconsin State Climatology Office web site for more information on climatological extremes for Wisconsin.

What is the highest point on an interstate highway?

The highest point on an interstate highway is the west portal of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 in Colorado, which is 11,153 feet above sea level.


Federal Highway Administration


For more information see the Colorado Department of Transportation's Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels web site.

Which American rivers flow north?

Many of the world's rivers flow north. Among major U.S. rivers, the St. Johns (Florida) and the Willamette (Oregon) both flow north. Wisconsin's Fox River flows in a northeasterly direction.


Dictionary of Misinformation, p. 216 (1975) (R 031.02 Bur)


See also Rivers That Flow North, one librarian's homage to this frequently asked question.

Have any US Presidents ever visited Appleton during their time in office?

  • William Howard Taft, October 26, 1911, Lawrence University
  • George W. Bush, March 30, 2004, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center (Post-Crescent, 3-31-2004)
  • George W. Bush, July 14, 2004, bus trip through Appleton (Post-Crescent, 7-15-2004)

PC articles

In Appleton, where is true north?

In Appleton, true north is about one degree east of magnetic north.


Post-Crescent, April 14, 1991, C-2.

What is the distance between Appleton and the North Pole?

The air mile distance between Appleton and the North Pole is approximately 2,743. This was determined using the following information: The North Pole is at 90 degrees lattitude. Appleton is at 44.17 degrees lattitude. Each degree of lattitude is "about 60 nautical (sea or air miles)."


World Book Encyclopedia, "Lattitude."

What was the name of Green Bay's Lombardi Avenue before it was named Lombardi?

Green Bay's Lombardi Avenue was previously called "Highland." The name was changed in 1969.


Green Bay City Directory, 1968 and 1969. Courtesy of the Brown County Library.

What is Wisconsin's Lemon Law?

Wisconsin's "Lemon Law" can be found in the Wisconsin State Statutes, chapter 218.015. Also see Wisconsin Department of Transportation Division of Motor Vehicles Lemon Law page.


Wisconsin State Statutes

What is the deepest lake in Wisconsin?

The deepest lake in Wisconsin is Green Lake, with a depth of 236 feet.


Wisconsin Almanac (1989), p. 122.

How big is Lake Winnebago?

Lake Winnebago is the largest lake in Wisconsin.
It is 28 and one-half miles long.
It is 10 and one-half miles wide at its widest point.
It covers 215 square miles, or 137,000 acres.
It is 21 feet deep at its deepest.
It has 85 miles of shoreline.


Clarkson Map Company


For more information see the Army Corps of Engineers' Lake Winnebago Fact Book.

Who are the men in the famous flag-raising photo at Iwo Jima?

Iwo Jima flag raisersAssociated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal won a Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for the the photo of the Iwo Jima flag-raising. The men in the photo are (left to right): Ira H. Hayes, Franklin R. Sousley, John H. Bradley, and Harlon H. Block. Two other men, Michael Strank and Rene A. Gagnon, are in the background. Bradley was an Appleton resident.


World Book Encyclopedia (2000), vol. I, p. 525; Post-Crescent, 5-29-1988, C-15.


The web site presents pictures and biographies of the Flag Raisers.

Photo imported from the American Treasures of the Library of Congress.

What is the highest point in Appleton?

The highest man-made point is the downtown 222 Building (the former AAL Building), which is 196 feet tall.
The highest natural point in Appleton is on Wild Plum Court, north of Evergreen Drive, east of State Highway 47. It is 850 feet above sea level.


Post-Crescent, 6-8-1996, B-1.

What is the name of the sculpture on the north end of the Oneida Skyline Bridge?

The sculpture is titled "Fox River Oracle" and was named and dedicated by the sculptor, Dimitri Hadzi, on June 12, 1987. It is made of limestone. The plot of land on which it sits was designated as the "Skyline Triangle" by Mayor Dorothy Johnson.


Post Crescent, 6-12-1997.

What is the geographic center of Wisconsin?

The geographic center of Wisconsin is in Wood County, nine miles Southeast of Marshfield.


1988 Information Please Almanac, p. 751.

What are some facts about Wisconsin's Fox River?

Total length: 176 miles (Columbia County to Green Bay)
Direction: flows northeasterly Lower Fox (Menasha to Green bay)
Length: 39 miles
Width: 500-1,000 feet
Dams: 14
River level at Lake Winnebago: 745.1 feet
River level at Lake Michigan: 576.8 feet
Drop from Menasha to Green Bay: 168 feet


Lower Fox River Locks System, Wisconsin Legislative Council Staff, 7-26-1988.

What is the name of the fountain and sculpture in Appleton's City Park?

The sculpture is named "Ring Dance." It was sculpted by Dallas Anderson of Neenah. It cost $483,000, all in private donations. The sculpture and fountain was dedicated on August 2, 1996.


The Post-Crescent, 8-3-1996, A-1.

When did the ship The Edmund Fitzgerald sink?

The Edmund Fitzgerald sank on November 10, 1975. It was a 729-foot ore ship. The captain was Ernest McSorley.


Newsweek, 11-24-1975.


There are many Edmund Fitzgerald resources on the web. The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald provides basic history, a list of the crew, facts about the boat, and links to other web sites.

How long has Laurie Depies been missing?

Since August 19, 1992.


Post Crescent, 8-31-1993, B-1.


To report any information, contact the Town of Menasha Police Dept. Anonymous reports can be made by calling 1-800-236-5202.

What is the "Cooling Off Law"?

"Wisconsin law which provides a "cooling-off" period allowing you three business days to think about and cancel a direct marketing sale if you wish. This applies to credit transactions and cash sales of $25 or more that occur away from the seller's regular place of business. The three-day cooling-off period doesn't cover real estate, auctions, items used for agricultural purposes or insurance-even if sold door to door. Your three-day right to cancel starts after the seller has provided you the proper written notice of your right to cancel." (WI Dept of Ag, Trade, & Consumer Protection; incorporated with Wisconsin's Direct Marketing Rule)

See Wisconsin State Statute 423.201-205 or the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection fact sheets 3 Day Right to Cancel and Return and Refund Policies.


Wisconsin State Statutes

What was the original name of Appleton’s Memorial Drive Bridge?

The Cherry Street Bridge


City of Appleton Engineering Department, 8-2008

How should a wet book be dried?

Follow these steps:
1. Insert paper towels every 50 pages
2. Stand the book on end.
3. Open only the covers.
4. Frequently turn the book over.
5. Frequently change the paper towels.
6. Ventilate well, with a fan if possible.
7. After dry, use a weight to flatten the book.


Milwaukee County Library System Memo, January, 1993.

How can a musty smell be removed from a book?

Sprinkle one of these substances on the book: cedar chips, potpourri and silica gel, talcum powder, or baking soda. Let sit, then brush off when the smell is gone.


OWLS Tip Sheet , June 1990

What is the elevation of Appleton?

Appleton is 780 feet above sea level.


Rand McNally World Atlas

What is the geographic location of Appleton?

Appleton is at 44 degrees, 17 minutes North lattitude, 88 degrees, 24 minutes West longitude.


Times Atlas of the World

What are the age limits under Wisconsin law?

  • Driving: regular license: age 16/18   juvenile license:
    14 (State
    Statute 343.135
  • Drinking: age 21 (125.o1(8m))
  • Marriage: with consent: age 16;   without consent: 18 (765.02)
  • Voting: age 18 (U.S.
    Constitution, 26th Amendment
  • Purchasing Tobacco: age 18 (134.66
  • Source: 

    Wisconsin State Statutes