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Wisconsin Travel Ideas - Neenah, Oshkosh and Green Bay

Updated on November 3, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

In many ways, music saved my life, and I have the most famous director of the USMC bands to thank for it!

Fox River Paper Company buildings at Appleton among the Fox Cities. National Historic Register.
Fox River Paper Company buildings at Appleton among the Fox Cities. National Historic Register. | Source

A Manufacturing Center in America on Lake Winnebago

The job and business market of Neenah is strong in comparison to the rest of the nation, allowing the city to continue to develop new Travel and Tourism attractions for visitors and new residents.

Located along the Fox River and Lake Winnebago, outdoor activities and water sports are popular among the Fox Cities from Oskosh through Neenah and Appleton, northward to the famous Green Bay, Wisconsin. Route 41 takes drivers through the several cities, towns and villages along the Fox River fr an easy trip. People are moving to this region as well.

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Fox River between Neenah and AppletonLake Winnebago and the Neenah Lighthouse.
Fox River between Neenah and Appleton
Fox River between Neenah and Appleton | Source
Lake Winnebago and the Neenah Lighthouse.
Lake Winnebago and the Neenah Lighthouse. | Source

Relocation for Attractions and Jobs

From spring 2009 - spring 2010, job listings in Neenah increased by 30%, relative to a countrywide decline of 24%; and, jobs have continued to increase.

Neenah and the Oshkosh-Neenah Metro Area market make up one of the Top 50 Manufacturing Centers of America, with one-third of the working population employed in diverse manufacturing concerns.

Neenah is an American Indigenous-Peoples word, possibly from the Winnebago or Menominee Nation. It refers to powerful moving waters like those in rivers and streams. Located in the Fox River Valley, 30 miles southwest of Green Bay, this city was built on Lake Winnebago.

In early 2010, it became well known as the fastest growing city in the state, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek data at


Neenah supports more than 1,000 businesses and is an economic leader in an area of Wisconsin known as the New North. This is an 18-county marketplace in Northeast Wisconsin that is progressive, forward-looking, and sustained by ongoing local and regional economic plans.

The Neenah Metro area was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the “Best Small Places for Business & Careers” in 2009. In 2010, it received the distinction of fastest growing place in Wisconsin.

Neenah is a “Best Performing City” as designated by the well known Milken Institute. The Fox Cities together are on the list of 100 Best Communities for Young People and has deserved that honor from America’s Promise Alliance for Youth in 2006, 2007 & 2008. As such a city, Neenah consistently provides young people with a healthy, safe, engaged, and encouraging hometown.

Neenah Of the New North and Some Fox Cities

Oshkosh, WI, USA

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Neenah, Wisconsin:
Neenah, WI, USA

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Appleton, WI, USA

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America's first hydro-electric central station began in Appleton during Autumn 1882; the first successful electric streetcar company began in 1886.

Green Bay:
Green Bay, WI, USA

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Just 30 miles northeast of Neenah, Green Bay is not am official "Fox City." The Fox River flows into it and The Fox River Trail covers 26 miles here.

Lake Winnebago WI:
Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, USA

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Attractions of The Fox Cities

The self proclaimed Fox Cites include, from southwest to northeast:

  • Oshkosh - "Oshkosh, by gosh!" is a slogan for children's clothing manufacturing. Very little or no paper manufacturing in the 2010s.
  • Neenah - Neenah of the New North has strong paper manufacturing.
  • Menasha - Strong paper manufacturing.
  • Appleton - Strong paper manufacturing.
  • Little Chute - Manufactures famous Kaukauna Cheese, once made in neighboring Kaukauna. Little Chute was the former name of the Fox River among local Native Americans had numerous sugar camps.
  • Kimberly - Named for John A. Kimberly of Kimberly Clark Paper.
  • Combined Locks - Paper manufacturing occurs at Combined Paper Mills, Inc. (since 1889). The village population increased by 50% from 2000 to 2010, to over 3,300 people. Many German, Dutch, and Irish settlers came here to live in the mid-1800s. The Irish worked the canals and locks. Today, the village is a big supporter of youth sports and adult softball as well as relaxing lifestyles.
  • Kaukauna - Oscar Thilmany Paper Mill, since 1883.

Neenah, City and Town

Town of Neenah:
Neenah, WI, USA

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Fox River Valley Cities

The City of Neenah is partially surrounded by the less populated Town of Neenah, a separate entity that is not growing as quickly as the City.

The City of Neenah is one of the Fox Cities or Fox River Valley Cities of Northeast Wisconsin. It is located farthest southwest in the chain of some two dozen cities, villages, and towns.

Neenah is usually taken together with a neighbor and called the Oshkosh-Neenah Metro Area for examining travel attractions, businesses, and labor markets, along with other data like census figures.

You may remember the slogan for a local clothing manufacturer: “Oshkosh, by Gosh!”

Another piece of Neenah includes part of an island named for a former governor: Doty Island.

The Neenah area grew in an industrial/manufacturing and agricultural economy during territorial days before statehood. Missionary efforts with the Menominee Nation also grew at this time, in the 1830s.

The French arrived in today's Greenbay in the early 1600s, eventually following the Fox River southward by mid-century. They were joined by Germans, the Dutch, and the Irish. These early settlers built villages all along the Fox River, resulting in the Fox Cities of today, although Green Bay does not adopt the designation.

Additional Communities

The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce includes several other communities among Fox Cities. They include Buchanan, Clayton, Grand Chute, Greenville, Harrison, Hortonville, Sherwoon, and Vanderbroek.

Between 2010 and 2012, the total list of communities used by the Chamber increased population by over 8,400 people in just two years.


New Manufacturing

In two decades that have seen manufacturing concerns change to new products or die in the 21st century, Neenah is still a manufacturing city.

Many of America's unemployed during 2008 -2010 and thereafter felt that there was no manufacturing business left in the USA. However, the fact is, Neenah produces paper and iron products and is prolific in the printing industry as well. These are all manufacturing and blue collar trades that also now require IT and manufacturing engineers as well.

Kimberly-Clark headquarters moved out of Neenah to take advantage of the lack of a state income tax in Texas, but continued its successful operations in paper products in Neenah.Thus, not all of manufacturing moved from Wisconsin.

As for iron and steel, Neenah is famous for its manhole covers produced in the Neenah Foundry.

Manufacturing in Neenah and Greenbay today involves agriculture, paper, printing, iron, and steel.

NOTE: A 21st Century Employment Interview Question is this: “Why are manhole covers round?” If you have not considered this one, see Weird and Wacky Interview Questions. What additional explanations you can offer besides the following?

Why are Manhole Covers Round?

  • Because there are no square manholes.
  • Because Einstein says so -- As any non-round manhole cover approaches its hatch, it decelerates to close only ½ of the ½-remaining distance and never reaches the opening. There is no such deceleration with circles.
  • To match the shape of sewer pipes for consistent décor.
  • Because circles are pretty.
  • Because other manhole cover shapes can fall through their matching openings if turned in the appropriate manner. With a circle, there is no such option – all turns result in the same shape-to-shape match.
  • Why do interviewers ask goofy questions?
  • I don't know the answer, so don't blow my cover by making me admit it.

Top Job Listers

  1. Schneider National - Five times as many job openings as Number Two on the list. This is a Trucking and Transport company. Search for their jobs in Neenah and across USA and Canada at
  2. OshKosh
  3. Aurora Health Care
  4. Associated Bank
  5. Affinity Health System
  6. US Tech Force
  7. Kimberly-Clark
  8. Globe University
  9. Bellin Health
  10. HCR Manorcare
  11. Aerotek
  12. PDS Technical Services
  13. Georgia-Pacific
  14. Argus Technical Services

Top 10 High Demand Jobs

  1. Truck Drivers
  2. Physical Therapists
  3. Sales Representatives
  4. Salespeople
  5. Customer Service Reps
  6. Brand Managers
  7. Assistant Managers
  8. Human Resources Managers
  9. Direct Support Professionals
  10. Production Supervisors
  11. Project Managers

Additional High Demand Jobs

  1. Manufacturing, Production, and Packing
  2. Project Managers
  3. Kitchen Managers
  4. Research Scientists
  5. Programmer/Analysts
  6. Human Resources Generalists
  7. Registered Nurses (RNs)


Largest Employers In Neenah

Six of the Top 9 Employers in Neenah are active in the manufacture and distribution of Paper & Plastics. Other successful industries include Printing/Publishing, Commercial Machines, Computer Techology, Specialty Foods/Packaging, and Transportation.

  1. Kimberly-Clark: Makers of the original KLEENEX brand toilet paper and bath tissues. In modern parlance, a Kleenex is a tissue. In the 1950s, grocery stores and new “supermarkets” stocked one brand in the household and bath paper products aisle – KLEENEX in the blue and white boxes and wrappers and KOTEX personal products, also blue and white. When competition arose, it was from the new brand, PUFFS and from new store brands. Kimberly-Clark remains as a major manufacturer of bathroom tissues, personal and health care products, and premium business and technical paper products.
  2. Plexus Corp.- Product R & D, material procurement, prototyping, assembly, testing, manufacturing, distribution, other.
  3. THEDACARE -- Theda Clark Medical Center - Full service, acute-care hospital
  4. Neenah Foundry - Gray and ductile iron industrial and construction castings
  5. Neenah Joint School District - Local public school system
  6. Neenah Paper - Paper products, custom.
  7. Alta Resources Corp. - Business Services, telemarketing bureaus.
  8. Menasha Corp. - Corrugated containers, plastic pallets, totes, returnable packaging, food service product, plastic parts for auto/medical industries; tags, labels,displays
  9. Alcan Packaging - Flexible packaging and converted paper products manufacture.

Data from 2009 Wisconsin Business Services & 2009 Wisconsin Manufacturing Directories; City of Neenah Employer Contacts, April 2009.

Higher Education for Manufacturing and Science

K-12 Education in Neenah advanced in 2009-14 with the introduction of its new Manufacturing & Engineering Academy. It works to create new engineering and technical jobs and to provide well trained professionals to full them, all at the high school level.

As in other of the fast growing US cities, this academy makes partnerships with high quality public schools, higher education, and private business. It STEM courses: science, engineering, mathematics, and technology - skills that place students directly into high demand, well-paying careers. Best Practices for learning are uses, specifically the hands-on problem-solving project. Built on the Asian principle “When I do, I learn”, the hands-on approach is also representative of American Know-How -- America was built by hand as the first settlers arrived in the Wild West as they had done earlier on the just-as-wild Eastern Seaboard and Central States.

Nearly 20 colleges and universities operate within a 60-mile radius of the Fox Cities. The most convenient educational centers to Neenah include:

The Kimberly Paper Mansions; Downtown Neenah

Riverside Park, Neenah WI:
Riverside Park, Neenah, WI 54956, USA

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Kimberly Point, Neenah WI:
Kimberly Point Park, 290 Lakeshore Avenue, Neenah, WI 54956, USA

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Downtown Neenah

Historic Downtown Neenah is a revitalized place of shops, eateries, and history.

At the far end of the historic, visitors can tour the preserved mansions of local paper barons that made their fortunes in Neenah, much as the lumber barons did just beyond Downtown Bay City, Michigan, not so far away.

The forests were lushly thick in both places, with potential wealth, when lumbering and paper production reached their zenith. Replanting has helped to provide a new sustainability in more recent years. The Neenah Paper Mansions are located around Kimberly Point and Riverside Parks, where the walking tour shows the architectural culture beside Lake Winnebago and the Fox River.

Future Neenah, Inc. is the nonprofit corporation that promotes all of this economic and cultural expansion in Neenah, with historic preservation, new events, and many years' worth of planning into the future.

Neenah-Oshkosh Metro Area, Southwest of Greenbay

Neenah, WI, USA

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Neenah is just 13 miles north of Oshkosh along Route 41.

Oshkosh, WI, USA

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Green Bay WI:
Green Bay, WI, USA

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Green Bay is 30 miles northeast of Neenah.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS


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