Thousands of years ago a glacier cut through what is today the City of Menasha , as a result Lake Winnebago, Little Lake Buttes des Morts and the Fox River were created. The Fox River flows north through Winnebago and Little Lake Buttes des Morts proceeds on to Green Bay . This waterway became the first highway on which Native Americans and Explorers traveled in Wisconsin and a source of tremendous economic growth. During the time when glaciers were receding, the Hochungra's (later called Winnebago by the French explorers) found their way into Wisconsin . These Native Americans used the waterway for transportation and communication.
Soon after the traders and voyageurs came they continued to use the waterways as a main means of transportation. Some settled here and began businesses others moved back east or on westward. James Doty envisioned a settlement here when he first traveled through in 1820.
Eventually the Federal Government and adventurous individuals became interested in creating a settlement and developing the Fox River Valley . In 1831 the U.S. Government bought 2.5 million acres of land from the Hochungras, which included the City of Menasha .
In 1841 Doty became the Territorial Governor of Wisconsin and he continued to work with his son Charles and with Harrison and Curtis Reed to develop the area of Menasha.
The area developed rapidly along with development of abundant water power. Mills soon sprang up along the river. Initially they were flour mills, but they soon gave way to the manufacture of paper and wood products such as barrels. In 1850 when Elisha Smith came to Menasha planning to run a store he soon decided making pails would be more profitable and that was the start of Menasha Corporation.
Our industries, recreational opportunities, beautiful parks and small town atmosphere make Menasha part of one of the fastest growing areas in Wisconsin today.
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