Keeping History Alive


  The Waupaca area, along with the Chain O'Lakes, were long home to the Menominee Indian tribe. The Waupaca River's falls and the nearby lakes provided an abundance of water, vegetation and wildlife. For many years, the Menominee moved around the area as the seasons changed, traveling from their village, likely on Otter Lake, to local camping grounds. 

In 1848, a federal treaty opened up local land for white settlement. In June 1849, the first settlers--the Vermonters--claimed land on the Waupaca River at what is now the city of Waupaca. These early settlers came to Waupaca looking for the "wonderful falls" on the Waupaca River that they'd heard so much about. Eventually the settlement took its name from the river, which was a Menominee word meaning, "tomorrow river" or "pale water."

Waupaca steadily grew around the water, harnessing the power of the falls and welcoming many more settlers, including many Danish and Scandinavian immigrants. The Waupaca Historical Society, located in downtown Waupaca on Main Street, strives to preserve this rich history while educating and informing the public.

Visit one of our four facilities today and let us help you discover Waupaca's past today!


Volunteers Needed!

Love history? Love to talk with people? We've got the perfect volunteer position for you!

The Hutchinson House and Depot are in need of volunteers to serve as tour guides and welcoming hosts at both locations. No experience needed! 

Contact us today if you are interested!

Current Exhibits at the Holly Center

Waupaca's Warriors

100 Years of the Waupaca National Guard

Keeping History Alive: A Look at What's New at the Waupaca Historical Society

In the Spotlight: Waupaca Theatres

And much more!

Check out our latest additions under Videos and Programs on the left!

Past article on the history of the Red Mill by Ron Arthur

Aug. 25, 2016 program, "Driving Waupaca" with local auto enthusiast John Gunnell

Tours of the Hutchinson House and Depot

Spring program entitled, "Strong Women of Waupaca" with curator Barbara Fay Wiese

Summer in Waupaca