Letter from the Winneconne Historical Society

The Village of Winneconne began as a pioneer settlement on the Wolf River. Around 1849 settlement began on the east side of the river until the treaty of Poygan with the Menominee Indians was signed. Then, in 1852, people began to settle on land west of the river.

The village began to grow slowly but steadily. By 1855 Winneconne had three stores, one sawmill and a population between 300 and 400 people.

David Mapes was the man responsible for persuading Ripon businessmen to develop the west side of the river. He persuaded the railroad to bring its tracks into the village and believed that the building of hotels for tourist trade would be profitable. Plotting and planning the streets of Winneconne and advanced transportation by boat was also aided by Mapes.

Winneconne received its first telephone in 1890. It was installed in a hotel by the Wisconsin Telephone Company. By 1910 Winneconne had 40 phones. In 1907 Martin and Carl Mathison formed the Winneconne Heat Light and Power Company and by 1910 electric service was available in the village.

Fires plagued Winneconne in the late 1890s. Blocks of Main Street were burned to the ground. This area was rebuilt, and to prevent further occurrence of fires of this size, a new fire department was built in 1910. It has improved continually and today Winneconne-Poygan Fire District is one of the most modern volunteer fire departments in the area.

A village board was first established in 1849 and the village continues to operate with a president and six trustees on its board today.

Currently, Winneconne has a municipal center which hosts local government, a police department, a large library and public meeting rooms. It is home to four beautiful parks, a top performing school district in the state of Wisconsin, an award-winning bridge, new fishing piers on both sides of the river, a growing Industrial Park and a downtown area with new wide sidewalks. 

Take a walk through our community and enjoy the history and splendor of all that is Winneconne.

For more Winneconne history visit the Winneconne Historical Society’s Museum Complex at 611 West Main Street. The six museum buildings are open on Sunday afternoons, noon to 4 p.m. beginning Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Private tours available call (920) 420-0463 or (920) 582-4194.

Learn more about the Historical Society on their website