In 1848, the first paper mill opened on the Lower Fox River in Appleton, launching the industry that put Wisconsin on the map. In 12 years, the state became the Midwest’s top paper producer.
Opening in 1865, the Neenah Paper Mill was the most profitable mill in the Fox Valley, eventually getting purchased by Kimberly-Clark in 1889. By the turn of the century, the paper industry was booming, with mills expanding across the Fox River Valley.
Although paper production has declined, the area remains home to 24 paper and pulp mills, producing over 5 million tons of paper annually.