Oshkosh - Encyclopedia

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OSHKOSH, a city and the county-seat of Winnebago county, Wisconsin, U.S.A., about 75 m. N.N.W. of Milwaukee, on the W. shore of Lake Winnebago at the mouth of the Upper Fox river. Pop. (1900) 28,284, of whom 7356 were foreign-born (including 4500 from Germany), and 16,942 of foreign parentage (including 10,655 of German and tots of Bohemian parentage); (1 9 10 census) 33,062. Oshkosh is served by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul, the Chicago & Northwestern and the Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste. Marie railways, by river steamboat lines connecting with other Fox River Valley cities, with the Wisconsin river at Portage, and with the Great Lakes at Green Bay, and by interurban electric lines connecting with Fond du Lac on the S., Green Bay on the N. and Omro on the W. Th: city lies on both sides of the Fox river, here spanned by six steel bridges, and stretches back to Lake Butte des Morts, an expansion of the Fox. North Park (60 acres), on the lake front, is the most noteworthy of its parks; and there are Chautauqua grounds on the lake front. Yacht races take place annually on Lake Winnebago. Among the public buildings are the City Hall, Post Office, Winnebago County Court House, Public Library (22,000 volumes). Oshkosh is the seat of a State Normal School (1871), the largest in the state. The principal industries are the manufacture of lumber and of lumber products, although the former, which was once of paramount importance, has declined with the cutting of neighbouring forests. In 1905 the value of the city's factory product was $8,796,705, the lumber, timber and planing mill products being valued at $4,671,003, the furniture at $751,511 and the waggons and carriages at $475,935Oshkosh is an important wholesale distributing centre for a large part of central Wisconsin. Farming and dairying are important industries in the vicinity.

Under the French regime the site of Oshkosh was on the natural route of travel for those who crossed the Fox-Wisconsin portage, and was visited by Marquette, Joliet and La Salle on their way to the Mississippi. There were temporary trading posts here in the 8th century. About 1827 the first permanent settlers came, and in 1830 there were a tavern, a store and a ferry across the river to Algoma, as the S. side of the river was at first called. The settlement was first known as Saukeer, but in 1840 its name was changed to Oshkosh in honour of a Menominee chief who had befriended the early settlers and who lived in the vicinity until his death in 1856. The real prosperity of the place began about 1845 with the erection of two saw mills; in 1850 Oshkosh had 1400 inhabitants, and between 1860 and 1870 the population increased from 6086 to 12,663. In July 1874 and April 1875 the city was greatly damaged by fire.

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