Keeping History Alive

Waupaca and the Chain O'Lakes

Virtual Railfan just installed two cameras at the historic Waupaca Depot for 24-hour viewing of the trains and tracks. Thanks to a grant from the Waupaca Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, we installed higher speed Internet for the cameras so they can be viewed around the world. Waupaca is the first location in Wisconsin and the Midwest to be featured on Virtual Railfan! You can check the video feeds out for free this year at Youtube:


  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 relinquished the last of their lands, including Waupaca. In June 1849, the five men from Vermont claimed land along the Waupaca River at what is now the city of Waupaca. These early settlers came to Waupaca looking for the "The Falls" that they'd heard so much about. Eventually the settlement took its name from a Menominee word meaning, "the quality of the light, or morning light on the 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 historic buildings today and let us help you discover Waupaca's past today!


Upcoming Programs 

Thurs., Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. 

"On the Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin" with author Robert Willging


(Sponsored by Niemuth's Steak and Chop Shop)

Thurs., Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. 

"The History of Beer Making in Wisconsin" with Jerry Janiszewski of the National Brewery Museum


(Sponsored by Badgers Den Brewing Club and Deb and Steve Fenske)

Thurs., Dec. 5 at 6 p.m.

"Waupaca's Danes and the Lutheran Church" with Michael Koehler from the Danes Hall, Waupaca


(Sponsored by Bill and Peggy Riemer and Trinity Lutheran Church)

Current Exhibits at the Holly Center

From the Falls to the Foundry: The History of Waupaca

Carnegie Library and Waupaca's Women's Clubs

Waupaca's Warriors

Whispering Pines Park

Scrapbooks: A Collection of Waupaca's Memories

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

And much more!

Chain O'Lakes Past and Present

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