Winneconne’s location has helped to dictate its history. An 1849 Oshkosh news article recognized the importance of our community’s resting place as follows:
Last week we were up in Winnekona, a new town just laid out a little above the junction of the Fox and Wolf Rivers. Everything is entirely new. Evidences are that it will grow rapidly. It is a beautiful site. Several men of responsibility are taking hold. The country around it is rich and well settled, and the place must thrive.
The pioneers who settled the Winneconne area included Yankees, Germans, Norwegians and Irish. Census figures show a pattern of settlement. In 1855, there were 839 residents. With the railroads arrival in 1868 there was an impetus to growth. Today’s population hovers around 2,500.
Winneconne is in a unique position because of the narrows of the river. It also has a unique name. It was Winneconnah, Winnekona, Wau-nau-ko, and even Winnikning. In 1851, the Town Board officially named the village Winneconne.
Four bridges have spanned the Wolf River during Winneconne’s history. The 849 foot distance has been home to a float bridge, built by J.D. Rush in 1853. This first bridge provided a thrilling crossing when it sometimes sat below the water on a windy day. The second bridge was built in 1871, it was a wooden draw bridge paid for by the village and the town of Winneconne at a cost of $20,000.
In early years, many forms of mills lined the river. Commercial fishing was also a thriving business and several shipyards repaired boats. The rivers and lakes provided bountiful fishing and hunting, and Winneconne soon became known as a “hunting and fishing paradise.” Resorts and tourist services soon became an integral part of the village economy.
Today Winneconne has a new municipal center which houses our local governments, a large beautiful library and public meeting rooms. We are home to three beautiful parks, a top performing school district in the State of Wisconsin, and a downtown that has been newly redesigned. Take a walk through our community and enjoy the history and grandeur of all that is Winneconne!