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Things to do in Appleton

  • Hearthstone Historic House Museum Hearthstone Historic House Museum Appleton, Wisconsin
    Visit the first house in the world to use hydroelectric power to run its electrical needs; and this was in 1882, one hundred and twenty years ago. The Hearthstone house, residence of Henry James Rogers, paper company executive and entrepreneur used the system invented and designed by Thomas Edison; and today it is a museum that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Sitting atop a bluff in Appleton, Wisconsin, overlooking the Fox River, the Queen Anne architectural styled home is a marvel and was a marvelous wonder when built those many decades ago. The home was powered by the Appleton Edison Light Company, which was the first commercial electric plant in the country; and it also sent power to two paper mills where Rogers was the manager. It was just two weeks before that the Pearl Street Station had powered up in New York City by using steam. The wires coming into the house were bare copper, taped where they went through walls and the fuse blocks were made of wood. All this equipment is still in use today at the Hearthstone; a constant and spectacular reminder to all the world that this fantastic operation has withstood the test of time and alternative inventions that have done nothing to improve the cost nor pollution that the fossil fuel derivatives have done. The lighting wasn't constant back then since there weren't any voltage regulators; but many weeks later, the power wheel was moved to a shed where the paper mills' operations wouldn't interfere or be fluctuating. Then terrible storms and broken branches resulting from those storms cause havoc on the wires and many short circuits were encountered. The electric plant was shut down until the problems were discovered and corrected; whereupon the power was steady and on from dawn until dusk. The following is an excerpt from a letter that Rogers wrote to the Western Edison Light company in November of 1882, "Gentlemen, I have used 50 lamps in my residence and have used them about 60 days. I am pleased with them beyond expression and do not see how they can be improved upon. No heat no smoke no vitiated air and the light steady and pleasant in every way and more economical than gas and quite as reliable." Unbelievable isn't it? Just think about those thousands of men that went down into horrible working conditions and quite often death, because the wealthy people in this country refused to develop this never ending source of energy, that is much more healthier than most electric sources; not to mention the horrendous pollution of this earth and the health problems that are the results of this "alternative" energy source. The house was designed by a Wisconsin architect named William Waters, who designed many grand buildings in the state. It was lit with hydroelectricity on September 30, 1882 and the local paper stated the house was as "bright as day". Rogers had built the house for his wife, Cremora and daughter, Florence, until 1893, when they moved to Chicago. Many people rented the house until 1900, when A. W. Priest bought the home, but when he died in 1930, it couldn't be sold. John Badenoch made it a restaurant called the Hearthstone Tea Room in 1931, then Frank Harriman took it over in 1933, and ran it until 1938. The house was then sold the Frederick Hoffman in 1940, and then the Mares family bought it in 1960, owning it until 1986; when it was bought by the Friends of the Hearthstone, Inc and opened it a museum in 1988. Tours are done Tuesday through Saturdays, using the original Thomas Edison fixtures and period electroliers, similar to chandeliers. One of the magnificent features is the "hydro adventure center" which is a hands-on model of the earliest hydroelectric station that is still operating. There are nine fireplaces in the house, with many surrounded by imported Minton tiles, period furnishings, stained glass windows and beautiful exquisitely carved woodwork from native woods in Wisconsin.

  • The Building for Kids
    The Building for Kids, Inc. was started in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin in 1991 and officially opened in 1992. It is a museum for children and was enlarged in 2006, with more exhibits and restored old ones, many of which were designed by kids for their contemporaries. The main mission is to build kids' confidence, creativity and imaginations. It is a non-profit organization that exists by donations, entrance fees and memberships. Over 130,000 visitors come here each year to explore the world of imagery. The building and all its contents are cleaned by a commercial company every night, with disinfectant wipes used continuously throughout the day to make sure that it is a healthy place for children to visit and play. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the facility to keep all hands clean, and once a year a certified safety consultant is brought in to make sure that the building and all the exhibits are completely safe for use by the children. Children are encouraged to use the facility for cub scouts, birthdays, girl scouts, corporate events and overnight sleepovers. The museum also has field trips to help with education, demonstrations, classes and many activities. A gift shop is also situated on the premises and has gift bags with many surprises inside for kids. The entire museum is geared towards children and is an exciting place to visit with your family.

  • The History Museum
    The history museum is where the past comes alive with stories, artifacts and photographs involving the people of Fox Valley. Their mission is to inspire the residents of the valley to enjoy the wonderful history of its communities through education, exhibits and collections. This museum contains relics from the valley that are from the period 1840 and up to the present. Through the exhibits, times and local events it weaves a perspective of relevance through educational workshops for people of all ages. There are numerous programs all through the year that include magic workshops and papermaking programs, plus Houdini holiday events and other activities. The structure was originally a Masonic temple that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of the continuing exhibits is the sports and spirit that shows how organized sports make and strengthen the ties within the valley. Another is the AKA Houdini that shows how the illusions were done with a hands-on activity. There are many of the performance paraphernalia and documents that belonged to Houdini and when people learned that the museum planned on opening this exhibit with the truth about the illusions they protested, however, the museum still opened it and it is bringing in a great many visitors to see how these marvelous escape routines were done.

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  • Wriston Art CenterWriston Art Center Appleton, Wisconsin
    The Wriston Art Center's upper level is dedicated to the history of art and exhibitions, with the serpentine gallery containing study reproductions and transitory exhibits. On the west side, there are three galleries, the Kohler, Hoffmaster and Leech, with each one leading into another. They have 5 or 6 large exhibitions each year, and are free to the public. The permanent collection has over 3,000 items that contain three dimensional works, prints, paintings and drawings in various medias. There are early modern American and European art, with prominent collections of Japanese prints, oceanic artifacts, German expressionism and archaic and Byzantine coins. Some of the artists that are shown here include Paul Signac, Hendrik Goltzius, William Penhallow, Egon Schiele, Frank Grangwyn, Louise Nevelson, Heinrich Campendonk, Jan Saenredam and Maxime Maufra. The art history classes incorporate these originals into their studies and students have access to the collections for their research. Various selections of the art center are shown in any of the three galleries. The Ottilia Buerger collection of ancient and Byzantine coins contain the many rare coins that Ottilia acquired during her years. She was from the class of 1938, and started collecting in the 1950s, and it is considered one of the best in the country. Ms. Buerger considered the coins were small beautiful eyewitnesses to history and these marvelous pieces of history could evoke a vivid reality to the past. She loaned her collection to the college in 1991, so that students of history, classics and art history could study them. The online catalog has been viewed by over 4 million people. Sadly, she passed on in 2001, but left her collection to the school and left a bequest that they establish a professorship in her name in the classics or medieval studies. The La Vera Pohl Collection of German Expressionists was given to the college in 1989. La Vera Pohl was born in 1901, in Milwaukee, where she became an artist, collector and museum director who went to Germany in the 1920s and 1930s to study art and art history. Over the next 40 years, she acquired over 220 prints, drawings and paintings, with the majority being created by German artists. It was a strange collection of early German artists from the early 20th century when much of the American public knew very little of the modern German art. These include Emil Nolde, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wassily Kandinsky, Karl Shcmidt-Rottluff, Paul Klee and Oskar Kokoschka. She left her collection to the Milwaukee-Downer College that later became part of Lawrence University. Another fine collection of works is the Japanese Woodblock Prints that are ukiyo-e artist works that date back to the 17th century up to the 20th century. The majority are from the 19th century that depict various subjects. These include; images of beauties; Kabuki actors and landscapes. 

  •  Appleton Art Center
    The art center was started in 1960 to teach, promote and encourage the appreciation and creation of the visual arts by educational programs, information and exhibitions. The following years were so successful that the original building was unable to hold all the exhibitions, so a larger venue was secured increasing the size from 5000 square feet to 25,000 square feet. With over a 100,000 visitors each year, the exhibitions go all year long, on the first two floors and the third holding room for the adult and children's art classes, with the offices on the fourth. The building also houses the White Heron Chorale, Appleton Boychoir and the Fox Valley Symphony. The activities held here involve three categories that fulfill its mission; special events, exhibitions and educational programming. The center is devoted to making high quality exhibitions which give the community a general artistic education. The public is exposed to many forms of art through these exhibitions, including regional and international artists. Year round classes are available to adults and children that include sculpting, drawing and painting. They also have classes that pertain to the exhibits that are on view during that time. Tours are available so that the public can gain a deeper understanding of the exhibitions shown. There are many special events throughout the year that are for big fund-raising extravaganzas. Current exhibitions are Fritz Faiss: A retrospective and David Kapszukiewicz. Past exhibitions included 1857-2007, Then and Now; A stitch over time: fiber art; art; art of the diamond; artSCIENCE; Chagall; Dallas Anderson; Green; members exhibit and Seasonal Settings; the Holiday table.

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Local Restaurants in Appleton
  • The Black & Tan Grille
    Starting in 2002, the Black and Tan grille has brought great classic American cuisine to the city of Appleton, Wisconsin. With exceptional warmth, outstanding hospitality and excellent cuisine, the chef team at the Black and Tan offers a menu that reflects the seasonal bounty and the freshest ingredients from farm and market. The menu is tantalizing and mouth watering with continuous attention to freshness. Appetizers include; mango shrimp cocktail is court boullion infused olive oil poached gulf shrimp complemented with a salsa mango slaw and curry aioli; wild mushroom & goat cheese brushetta topped with balsamic marinated tomatoes and parmesan cheese on walnut & onion bread; artichoke & leek encrusted filled with grilled artichokes, leeks and Maytag bleu cheese finished with a smoked tomato romesco sauce; crab cakes with roasted sweet peppers, scallions and complemented with a chipotle aioli; flash blackened tuna served with ginger slaw, wasabi coulis and caramelized soy. Soups include; vine ripened tomato bisque and southern western chicken which is a creamy and spicy soup loaded with grilled chicken, black beans, bell peppers and sweet corn. Salads are; spinach with grape tomatoes, hard boiled egg and sweet red onions drizzled with hot bacon dressing; classic Caesar with crisp hearts of romaine tossed with baked croutons, parmesan cheese and house Caesar dressing; or the wedge with iceberg lettuce dressed up with bleu cheese dressing, ripe tomatoes and crispy bacon. The entrees are; vegetarian manicotti is manicotti stuffed with grilled artichokes, roasted red peppers, boursin and parmesan cheese, wilted spinach and oven roasted tomatoes; maple leaf duck is a pan seared duck breast seasoned with white and black peppercorns, served with a bacon, raspberry and white bean ragout and avocado potato croquettes finished with a raspberry glace de canard; Black & Tan is an 8 ounce center cut choice tenderloin grilled to order, served atop an oven bronzed bleu cheese bruschetta topped with caramelized onions and surrounded by natural jus demi and a chevre demi swirl, served with baby red garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables; Norwegian salmon is a Za'atar encrusted baked Norwegian salmon served aside potato-parsnip gnocchi tossed with crisp panchetta, shallots and a touch of lemon zest, harmonized with a beurre blanc infused with grilled lemons; pork tenderloin roulade is a fennel encrusted pork tenderloin roulade filled with Fuji apples, English Stilton cheese and spinach, served aside marsala mashed potatoes and accented with blueberry demi glace; Atlantic grouper is a chili and pesto butter pan seared Atlantic grouper served with oven roasted tomatoes and bour cheese risotto cakes painted with a cranberry wine reduction and garnished with sautéed panchetta and sweet bell peppers; Angus ribeye is a 16 ounce certified Angus beef ribeye topped with maitre de butter and crispy haystack onions served with baby red garlic mashed potatoes and fresh vegetables; Kansas City strip is a 16 ounce KC strip cast iron seared in roasted red bell pepper and herb butter served with red wine infused herb roasted baby red potatoes accented with a saffron emulsion.

  • The Apollon
    The Apollon Greek restaurant in Appleton, Wisconsin is well known for its authentic Greek and European cuisine using the finest ingredients available to them in the area. Their appetizers include; saganaki or flaming cheese is Kefalotin, a Greek imported cheese, flamed at the table with brandy; baby octopus is marinated and grilled with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and oregano; spinach triangles are baked triangles of filo pastry layers with spinach and feta cheese; kalamarakia is squid steak marinated and grilled served with tzatziki sauce; or homemade meatballs made with lamb, pork and spices served with tzaziki sauce. Their signature salads include a mix of lettuce, onion, peppercini, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta and kefalotyri cheeses; the Apollon includes the above with sliced chicken breast or the chef salad with all of the above plus it is topped with gyros meat. Their entrees include soup and Greek village salad; moussaka is layers of eggplant, potatoes and sauteed ground beef with bechamel sauce; spanakopita or spinach pie is made with fresh spinach, feta cheese, green onions, fresh dill and seasoning baked in filo dough; gyros dinner is a lean blend of seasoned beef and lamb broiled and served with raw onions, yogurt sauce and choice of potato; pastitsio is a pasta casserole with long tubular pasta, mixed with a combination of ground lamb and beef, tomatoes, nutmeg and cheese, topped with bechamel sauce. Dinners include soup, Greek Village salad and chef's choice of accompaniments; lamb chops grilled to perfection; lamb brochette is marinated skewered lamb, grilled and served with demi-glace; lamb tenderloin is marinated and grilled served with champagne saffron and shiitake mushroom cream sauce; flaming rack of lamb serves two is a rack of 10 chops flamed at the table and served with Metaxa and mushroom cream sauce on the side; lamb a la creme is cubes of tender lamb cooked in a white wine cream cheese sauce. Beef and chicken entrees include; breast of chicken Florentine is grilled then broiled with sautéed fresh spinach, onions, feta and kefalotyri cheese; filet mignon is a center cut tenderloin of Black Angus beef sautéed and covered in a Metaxa and mushroom cream sauce; breast of chicken with mushrooms and feta is grilled then topped with sautéed onions, fresh shiitake mushrooms and feta cheese; steak au pove is a 14 ounce center cut New York Black Angus strip with fresh crushed peppercorns and port wine reduction. Veal entrees include; veal medallions with mushrooms and feta sautéed with garlic, olive oil and topped with onions, fresh shiitake mushrooms and feta cheese; veal medallions Florentine is sautéed and broiled with spinach, onions, feta and kefalotyri cheeses. Seafood entrees include; shrimp diaboliques is jumbo gulf shrimp baked in a skillet with olive oil, butter, white wine, fresh tomatoes, green peppers and garlic; shrimp santorini is jumbo shrimp sautéed in olive oil and white wine served with creamy feta and kefalotyri cheeses with a touch of tomato.

Black Tan grouper Appleton, Wisconsin


Black Tan KC strip Appleton, Wisconsin


Black Tan pork tenderloin Appleton, Wisconsin


Black Tan ribeye Appleton, Wisconsin


Black Tan Norwegian salmon Appleton, Wisconsin


 Apollon Veal Appleton, Wisconsin

Apollon Shrimp Appleton, Wisconsin


Apollon Lamb Appleton, Wisconsin


Apollon Chicken Florentine Appleton, Wisconsin


Apollon Filet Appleton, Wisconsin



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  • WindsorBergstrom-Mahler Museum Bergstrom-Mahler Appleton, Wisconsin
    Evangeline Hoysradt would visit her grandmother and play with a paperweight that she had and soon grew to love that small glass piece. After her grandmother died, the paperweight was all she wanted, but some other family member got it before she could make her request known. Then many years later, she was in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1935, when she went to visit an antique show; something she didn't usually do. There, sitting on a table was a paperweight quite similar to the one she loved and lost; and it was for sale, marked with a B and 1847. Evangeline bought it and another she called a Fowlerton piece which turned out to be a Whitefriars Inkbottle. Her collection was shown at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1939, where over 200 of her collected weights were shown. Her collection was shown in the Hobbies Magazine and she was invited to talk about it on a WGN Chicago radio show. It became known as the Bergstrom collection and requests for her to show it came in. In 1939, she showed it at the Neville Public Museum and the Milwaukee Art Institute in 1940. In 1949, a plea from the Milwaukee Public Museum had her showing it there, as fan mail and personal thank yous for the showings continued to arrive. In the fall of 1940, Evangeline published a book herself on glass paperweights and it was one of the most authoritative reference books of her era. Robert Guggenheim asked for a copy after his original was burned in a fire. Authors, collectors, enthusiasts and publishers were all surprised and delighted with the beautiful publication and the writing style. The American Library Association recommended it as one of three picks for their Christmas gifts. Accolades from all over continued to arrive; Dorothea Yaeger was another noted collector wrote, with the highest regard for a fine work and Jennie Sinclair finished her letter with the hope of one day seeing this wonderful collection. John Nelson Bergstrom was thrilled to see his wife become such a grand expert and was instrumental in saving her efforts between 1935 and 1944. He wasn't alive to see the museum open, but his death in 1951 left the city with a great legacy and charge to have a museum built after Evangeline's death. The museum was opened in 1959 and Evangeline was one of the founders. Another addition to the museum was the Germanic glass collection of Carol and Ernst Mahler; while Evangeline passed away in February of 1958 with her collection part of the museum and her 1929 Tudor home. The museum has over 20,000 visitors each year and the glass collection now contains over 3000 items.

  • Kerrigan Brothers Winery
    Nestled in the heart of the Fox Valley, between Appleton and Green Bay, Wisconsin, this small winery makes varieties of fruit wines. The wines are made from 100% pure fruit at the peak of perfection and all of the fruit is used in the fermentation process so that the true essence of nature. There is wine tasting 7 days and tours on weekends. The winery started in 2000 and has grown to include an online web site that sells their wonderful products. Wines offered include; blueberry, apple, cherry, blackberry, blueberry cherry, cranberry, old fashioned cherry that contains bitters, brandy and mulling spices mixed with the cherry wine, Irish gold is mead wine made of fermented honey, kissed with orange citrus, Dutch apple, lemon, strawberry, sweet cherry and spiked lemoncello which is lemon wine sweetened with pear wine. They also offer accessories that include a chiller waiter, vacuvin stopper, vacuvin wine saver, picnic wine chiller, and a wine server. They have recipes that include wine and they can make special labels for your bottle that make great gifts. They also have gift baskets that will include anything you wish.

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  • Barlow PlanetariumBarlow Planetarium Appleton, Wisconsin
    Barlow planetarium is located on the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley campus that gives visitors a thrilling view into the cosmos. Here you can see the stars and galaxies that exist billions and trillions of miles away on a 48 foot projection screen with a 10,000 watt THX sound system. Included in the showings are exciting myths and awesome folklore that relates to the constellations. There are matinee shows each day and special events happening all the time. The planetarium was first opened in 1998, and is a world class venue for 3-D viewing, huge full color special effects and awesome five channel surround sound. It has seating for 98 people and room for four wheelchairs. The projector is an Evans and Sutherland digistar II that recreates a very authentic night sky and the 3-D effects pull the audience into the virtual sky. Each seat has an interactive keypad that allows visitors to interact with the shows. Just outside the planetarium is the Curler Science gallery that has exhibits that complement the shows at the planetarium and interactive computers to allow adults and children to explore the topics and universe at hand. Opening next year, 2010, in February, the Wisconsin space academy will help you learn how to explore the limitless expanse of the universe and beyond. 

  • Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve
    This magnificent preserve is located on 775 acres of pristine landscapes in Outagamie County, Wisconsin and is a non-profit wildlife preserve and nature education facility. Their funds come completely from the community without any government or endowment funds; just people that love the outdoors and want to see this preserve stay as natural as possible and keep it from becoming developed. It is a place to walk, jog or run through beautiful woodlands and meadows where the trails have developed by the use of the people walking over them. Wildlife can be seen all over the property, which has a cedar swamp, pond, forest and meadow habitats. There snowshoe and cross-country ski trails that are maintained in the winter months, with over 8 miles of trails available. There are no pets, smoking, alcohol or bikes allowed in the preserve. There is an earth sheltered nature center that holds exhibits and during hours, friendly staff. Many times throughout the year, there are educational talks, workshops, programs, guided tours and special events. There are many volunteers needed to continue the great work that these wonderful folks are doing and money donations are always welcomed. Remember they are all tax deductible.

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