Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Before Silicon Valley, There Was Paper Valley

From 2013 06 Wisconsin

Long before Richardson's Telecom Corridor or even California's Silicon Valley, the Fox River Valley in northeastern Wisconsin was known as Paper Valley. The combination of Wisconsin's vast timber resources and water and power from the Fox River was ideal for making paper. The resulting paper mills created prosperous communities and wealthy paper barons with names like Kimberly and Clark. A hundred years ago, it was said that there were more millionaires per capita in Neenah, Wisconsin, than in any other city in America.

After the jump, the Fox River today.

The Fox River Valley remains a major center of paper production today. In addition, the Clean Water Act of 1972 has allowed the river to become more than just an industrial source of water, power, and waste disposal. The river itself is now an attractive place to live near again, with some of the old mills converted into condominiums, restaurants and shops.

During our recent visit to Wisconsin, we had lunch at the old Atlas Mill in Appleton, where my father worked seven decades ago. The renovated building is now home to a paper museum, restaurant and gift shop overlooking the river and locks.

From 2013 06 Wisconsin

From 2013 06 Wisconsin

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