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 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 facilities today and let us help you discover Waupaca's past today!


Upcoming Programs

 Thurs., Oct.19th at 6 pm: 

“The Early History of the Chain O’Lakes Area” with Ray Reser

Thurs., Nov. 9th at 6 pm:

 Melanie McManus, “Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail”

Thurs., Dec. 7th at 6 pm: “Christmas on the Farm” with Jerry Apps 

Thurs., Jan. 18th at 6 pm:

“Remembering the Battle of the Bulge” with Eric Percy

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

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

Lost Waupaca