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Chamber 150th Anniversary

We're Celebrating a Super Sesquicentennial Year!

2024 marks a historical milestone in the Fox Cities Chamber’s long and distinguished history. For 150 years our Chamber has been a driving force behind the economic growth and development of our region. We have championed the interests of our members, promoted collaboration, and provided a platform for businesses of all sizes to connect, grow, and lead. We look forward to celebrating with our members and the community to commemorate this remarkable achievement!

Be a part of the celebration:

  • Is your business celebrating a milestone anniversary in 2024? Let us know so we can celebrate with you! Click here.
  • Check out our members also celebrating milestone in 2024 here!
  • Promote your business and help us celebrate 150 years! We are giving away member gift cards at all of our 2024 Business After Hours. Any amount is appreciated, from $5 on up. To donate, email [email protected].

Special 150th Events

  • January 16 – Official kick off of our 150th at Celebrate: A Toast to 150
  • February 13 – Launch of our 150th History Publication
  • February 29 – Leap of Kindness Day
  • Summer TBD – Time Capsule Ceremony
  • September 11 – Appleton Historical Society history presentation
  • September 28 – Get our 150th branded beer on tap at Octoberfest
  • December 10 – Wrap up of our 150th and celebration of Chamber members at The Connection

See our Events Calendar for all 2024 events.

Watch for our “Monday Memories” every week on Facebook and LinkedIn!

150th History Publication

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Our 150th anniversary in the news

150 years of connecting, growing, and leading...

1874
1874
1874
1919
1920
1923
1920-1940
1940
1946
1965
1967
1976
1981
1988-1993
1992
2008-2017
2012
2020
2022
THEWAV2

A CHAMBER?

A group of Appleton business leaders met at the Waverly House in August to consider a Chamber for the city.

AL Smith first chamber president lighter

IT'S OFFICIAL

In September, 21 men officially signed the Chamber charter. Membership was $3 and mayor A.L. Smith was board president.

houdini

AT THE TIME

Ulysses S. Grant was president of the U.S., and Harry Houdini was born in Budapest but later moved to Appleton with his family.

History Menasha

MENASHA CHAMBER

The Menasha Chamber of Commerce was organized around this time, just 7 years after the U.S. Chamber formed.

appleton 1920ish

A REBIRTH

The Appleton Chamber of Commerce reorganized and re-energized amid much fanfare and with great success. On March 29 it was officially relaunched, with 612 enthusiastic members signing up immediately.

Aid Association of Lutherans circa 1923 FCMp 27 OCHS p79.015.576.024 copy

LOCATION

Chamber offices were located on the second floor of the old AAL building, on the corner of Superior and College Ave.

TRAINS, PLANES, AND AUTOS

Always working for businesses, transportation was a huge focus of the Chamber, from securing faster train service to creating a traffic bureau and an aviation committee.

East Wisconsin Avenue looking East from Commercial Street Neenah 1940 Fox Cities Memories Courtesy Neenah Public Library copy

NEENAH CHAMBER

The Neenah Chamber of Commerce was formed by a group of Neenah merchants and businessmen to align the interests of the business community.

p 82 78 127 44 Appleton Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Conway Hotel Appleton April 24 1946 Fox Cities Memories copy

NEENAH + MENASHA

The directors of the Neenah Chamber invited Menasha to join with them to become
the Neenah- Menasha Chamber of Commerce, a true “twin cities” chamber.

airport illustration 1960s

AIRPORT

The Chamber helped advocate for construction of a new airport in Greenville, which opened in 1965 along with the start of Air Wisconsin.

Appleton CoC 5

ACTION PLAN

An action plan from this time stated how the Appleton Chamber was instrumental in projects such as the establishment of FVTC, Appleton Redevelopment Authority, and the downtown Appleton rejuvenation project.

Chamber old office Walnut

CONSOLIDATION

The Appleton and Neenah/Menasha chambers consolidated to become the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Screenshot 2024 01 24 140059

OCTOBERFEST

Appleton’s Octoberfest was held for the first time as a way to promote businesses
and showcase downtown Appleton.

441 construct

HIGHWAY 441

The Chamber was instrumental in the planning and development of Highway 441, a beltway designed to relieve traffic on
US 41.

DOWNTOWN

The Chamber’s Appleton Downtown Business Association morphed into the new Appleton Downtown, Inc., still a thriving business organization today.

fox cities expo center 2018

EXPO CENTER

From a feasibility study in 2008 to opening in 2017, the Chamber was a vital partner in making the Fox Cities Exhibition Center a reality.

REGIONAL PARTNERSHIP

The Chamber identified a need for a division focused on economic development and launched the Fox Cities Regional Partnership.

image 3

A PANDEMIC

The Chamber coordinated efforts and resources for Fox Cities businesses when an unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic swept through the world.

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CONNECT FREE

The Chamber was the first in the state to roll out a free membership level for small businesses who qualify and added nearly 500 new members by year-end 2023.

Want to learn more? Download our comprehensive history.

Thank You Sponsors!

150th Super Sesquicentennial Supporter

150th Sesquicentennial Supporter

150th Friend of the Chamber

Time Capsule

History Video

Media