Oshkosh (WI)

Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Oshkosh is a city in Winnebago County, Wisconsin, United States, located where the Fox River enters Lake Winnebago. The population was 62,916 at the 2000 census; it had a metropolitan area of 159,972 people. The city is located adjacent to and partially within the Town of Oshkosh.

History

Oshkosh was named for Menominee Chief Oshkosh, whose name meant "claw (cf. Ojibwe oshkanzh, "the claw"). While the fur trade brought the first European settlers to the area as early as 1818, it was a frequent target of Indian attacks and never became a major player in the fur trade. It wasn't until the establishment and growth of the lumber industry in the area that spurred development of Oshkosh. Oshkosh was incorporated as a city in 1853, although it had already been designated the county seat, and had a population of nearly 2,800.

The lumber industry became well established as entrepreneurs took advantage of navigable waterways to provide access to both markets and northern pineries. The 1859 arrival of rail transportation expanded the ability to meet the demands of a rapidly-growing construction market. By 1870, Oshkosh had become the third-largest city in Wisconsin with a population of over 12,000. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern newspaper (now the Oshkosh Northwestern ) was founded around this time.

Around 1900 Oshkosh was home of the Oshkosh Brewing Company, who coined the marketing slogan "By Gosh It's Good." Their Chief Oshkosh became a nationally distributed beer.

Historic districts

The lumber industry made the fortunes of area entrepreneurs and businessmen, who made significant contributions to the community, politics and philanthropic organizations. Availability of materials and capital, along with the devastating downtown fires in the mid 1870's, created a range of well-designed buildings for residential, commercial, civic and religious use. The many structures which make up the city's historic areas are largely a result of the capital and materials generated by the lumber and associated wood manufacturing industries.

Oshkosh had six historic districts as of March 2008. They include Algoma Boulevard historic district, Irving/Church historic district, North Main Street historic district, Oshkosh State Normal School historic district on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus, Paine Lumber Company historic district, and the Washington Avenue historic district.

The city had 27 historic buildings as of March 2008. Eleven are houses and four are churches. The rest of the buildings come from various aspects of society, including schools/colleges, a bank, fire house, an astronomy observatory, the county courthouse, and a cemetery where many of the entrepreneurs are buried.

Geography

Oshkosh is located at (44.024983, -88.551336).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.2 km²), of which, 23.6 square miles (61.2 km²) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.0 km²) of it (3.20%) is water.

Sites of interest

Though its manufacturing operations have been outsourced,Oshkosh is probably best known for OshKosh B'Gosh, a manufacturer of overalls and children's clothing founded in Oshkosh in 1895. Originally a small-town manufacturer of adult work clothing, it has become best known for its children's lines. The original children's overalls, dating from the early twentieth century, were intended to help children dress like their fathers. According to the company, sales increased dramatically when Miles Kimball, an Oshkosh-based mail-order catalog, featured a pair of the overalls in its national catalog. As a result, OshKosh B'Gosh began to sell their products through department stores and expanded their children's line. Despite the name, OshKosh B'Gosh overalls are no longer made in Oshkosh, though the company maintains corporate offices there.

Oshkosh is also the home of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration" held by the Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. ("EAA"). AirVenture is the world's largest airshow, and during AirVenture, air traffic at Wittman Regional Airport exceeds that of any other airport in the world. EAA is a non-profit member organization, particularly dedicated to home-built aircraft, restored aircraft, and the new class of light-sport aircraft.

Oshkosh is home to Oshkosh Corporation, one of the world's leading manufacturers of emergency, utility and military vehicles, and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, the fourth largest university in the state.

Oshkosh is also home to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute

Other points of interest:

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 62,916 people, 24,082 households, and 13,654 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,662.2 people per square mile (1,028.0/km²). There were 25,420 housing units at an average density of 1,075.6/sq mi (415.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.73% White, 2.19% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 3.03% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. 1.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 24,082 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 18.1% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 99.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,636, and the median income for a family was $48,843. Males had a median income of $33,750 versus $24,154 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,964. About 5.2% of families and 10.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.

Culture and entertainment

As with the rest of the Fox Valley area, Oshkosh has seen a recent (as of 2006) resurgence in its cultural and entertainment options.

A downtown redevelopment plan led to the construction of the outdoor Leach Amphitheater on the Fox River, hosting the weekly Waterfest concert series during the summer as well as national touring musical acts and local community events. Also in downtown Oshkosh is the Grand Opera House, a performing arts center.

Downtown Gallery Walks, held every first Saturday of the month year-round, surged in attendance in comparison to previous years through the warmer months of 2006. A number of downtown Oshkosh music venues have opened and existing venues have tended to expand their schedules, following the trend of the area at large.

Long-running community festivals such as Sawdust Days in Menominee Park continue to be popular. Menominee Park is also the site of the Menominee Park Zoo and "Little Oshkosh", a community-built playground. There are two well known chocolate companies located in Oshkosh, Hughes and Oaks. Oshkosh is home to "Country USA" featuring entertainment from dozens of country music acts over a 5 day period in June.

Education

Oshkosh has sixteen elementary schools, five middle schools, four high schools, and six charter schools. It is also home to the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Public libraries

Winnefox Library System serves Oshkosh.

Notable Residents

References

External links

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