Kaukauna (pron. ) is a city in Outagamie County, Wisconsin, United States, on the Fox River, approximately 100 miles (161 km) north of Milwaukee, with a population of 12,983. It is a part of the Appleton, Wisconsin Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, Wisconsin Combined Statistical Area with a combined population of around 350,000. It is considered the easternmost of the Fox Cities.
Prior to 1880, and shortly afterwards, Kaukauna was known as "The Lion on the Fox." This nickname was changed to "The Electric City" upon the completion of the hydroelectric plant
. When the city was incorporated in 1885, it was separated from the adjacent, and still rural, parts of the town
. The first land deed in Wisconsin was given to Charles A. Grignon, who built a mansion on the river on Kaukauna's north side. The home, which bears Grignon's name, is operated as a museum by the Outagamie County Historical Society.
The city is divided into the North Side and South Side by the Fox River, which is spanned by five bridges.
Kaukauna is served by the Kaukauna Area School District, whose enrollment totals almost 4,000 students between kindergarten and 12th grade. The city has five elementary schools and one middle school, which is housed in the former high school. Kaukauna's Catholic parishes have created the Kaukauna Catholic School System, which is also a major educator of children through the eighth grade
. There is no parochial
high school in the city, but religious high schools in the area include Catholic Xavier High School
and Fox Valley Lutheran High School.
Kaukauna has one public high school, named for the city, with an enrollment of approximately 1,350. The current school was constructed in 1999 to replace the first Kaukauna High School (see above), which the district had outgrown despite expanding the building twice since its construction in the late 19th century. The school's mascot is the Galloping Ghost, supposedly named after a football game sometime in the early days of the school. On a foggy night, the announcer was heard to describe the running back as a Galloping Ghost - possibly a reference to Red Grange, a professional football player whose nickname was "The Galloping Ghost".
Kaukauna athletics participate in the Fox Valley Association Conference with nine other Fox Valley schools. Intense rivalry throughout the conference is present, but most historically with the neighboring Kimberly Papermakers.
Kaukauna is mainly served by Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches.
Kaukauna is located at the intersections of several major roads. US 41
, which forms the backbone of the Fox Cities
region's transit network, runs along the northern edge of the city, where it intersects State Highway 55
. 55, State Highway 96
, and two busy county roads serve as important streets within the city. US 10
is just to the south of Kaukauna, and Fox Cities beltway Highway 441
is just to the west.
Kaukauna is also a member of Valley Transit, which provides bus service.
The city includes diverse industrial and manufacturing businesses, including the Oscar Thilmany Paper Mill, constructed in 1883. The name dropped off the mill when it was purchased by HammerMill in 1969, which was in turn bought by International Paper
in 1986. In 2005, New York
-based equity firm Kohlberg & Company
bought the mill, changed the name back to Thilmany
, and created a company of the same name. It is this paper mill that is the cause of a less than desirable odor that can be detected at times throughout the Fox Valley. Kaukauna club cheese
, once made in the city, is now manufactured by the Bel/Kaukauna
corporation in the neighboring village
of Little Chute
As of the census
of 2000, there were 12,983 people, 4,971 households, and 3,365 families residing in the city. The population density
was 2,092.5 people per square mile (808.5/km²). There were 5,142 housing units at an average density of 320.2 persons/km² (828.8 persons/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 95.48% White, 0.27% African American
, 0.75% Native American
, 2.22% Asian
, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.30% from other races
, and 0.91% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 4,971 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 32.3% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the city the population was spread out with 27.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,980, and the median income for a family was $50,187. Males had a median income of $38,880 versus $22,830 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,748. 4.8% of the population and 2.6% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 4.6% are under the age of 18 and 10.4% are 65 or older.