Waupaca Historical Society: Holly History and Genealogy Center
Waupaca annually attracts many historians, professional or amateur, who are seeking information about personal heritage, Native American history, Civil War events. The area’s rich and colorful history often can be found in documents at the Holly Center, 321 South Main Street. Local experts or the Center’s Executive Director, Tracy Behrendt, provide assistance as requested.
- Wednesday through Friday 10am – 2 pm
- and by appointment
Group Tours: by appointment (715) 256-9980
- Waupaca Now -Waupaca County Post newspaper
- City of Waupaca
- City of Waupaca Municipal Code Book
- Waupaca Historical Society
- Waupaca County website
- Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce
- Waupaca School District
- UW-Extension- Waupaca
- Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
- Waupaca Post Office (715) 258-2010
- Wisconsin Family Rescource Center
- Ruby’s Pantry
- Waupaca County Recycling Center
- Waupaca’s Farmer’s Market
- Waupaca County Community Resources
- Waupaca Area Services
- Winchester Academy
- Waupaca Fine Arts Festival
- Waupaca Area CVB Tourism
Looking for a great gift? Purchase your "Safer at Home" Waupaca community cookbook today!
Cookbooks cost $10 each. The "Safer at Home" cookbook is a joint fundraiser for the Waupaca Historical Society and Waupaca Public Library featuring recipes, stories and photographs from this pandemic year. You can purchase a copy at the Waupaca Public Library, Waupaca Historical Society and other area businesses with cash or a check made out to the Waupaca Historical Society.
Waupaca County History
A brief overview of Waupaca County history from Early History of Waupaca by Freeman Dana Dewey.
- Early History of Waupaca – Find in InfoSoup
- Early History of Waupaca – Online via Wisconsin Historical Society
Waupaca County was officially established by an act of the legislature on February 17, 1851. Because it is located on the southern boundary of what was the great pine forest, the logging industry grew rapidly. The first sawmill was started in Mukwa in 1848 and that was soon followed by one in Weyauwega. Farming developed right on the heels of logging with the first field plowed in the town of Lind in 1849. Agriculture became an important part of the economy. In fact, the Waupaca County potato became well-known in the Chicago area for its excellent quality. Dairy farming also became an important part of Waupaca’s economy. The economic base of Waupaca County was later diversified with the introduction of manufacturing.
The county seat was first established in Mukwa, but it soon moved to its present location of Waupaca. The move to Waupaca was not without difficulty. There was a great deal of conflict between Weyauwega and Waupaca about which community should be the county seat. This question was voted on a number of times. The results of these votes was in question because people from Waupaca found out that people from Weyauwega were stuffing the ballot box. After hearing that, it didn’t take the people from Waupaca long to follow suit. Since they failed several times to get the county seat moved to Weyauwega, the residents of that town finally gave up. During the approximately five years it took to get the matter of the county seat settled, Waupaca County was divided into Eastern Waupaca County and Western Waupaca County. Each section had its own elected officials. The matter was finally decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but even this took two tries to get the desired results because again people from Weyauwega tried to change the outcome. Even though the Supreme Court said that Waupaca should be the county seat, the lawyer from Weyauwega sent the Circuit Court judge a notice that he should hold court in Weyauwega, the judge sent the notice back to the lawyers and told them to go back to Madison and try the case again. This time the matter of the county seat was settled. It was Waupaca.
In spite of problems establishing a county seat, the county grew and flourished. Settlers were attracted by the beauty and diversity of the landscape. The forests drew loggers while the fertile soil drew farmers. The western part of the county has hills and lakes with the Chain O’Lakes in the southwestern part of the county providing what has become an important tourist attraction. The eastern part of the county is dominated by the mighty Wolf River which meanders through several communities. The Wolf River was an important part of the Waupaca County economy since it provided a means for the loggers to get their logs to market and a means for people to travel. The need for goods to support the logging and farming industries created a perfect environment for the expansion of manufacturing. In no time at all Waupaca county had a thriving economic base. This thriving community with its beautiful lakes and hills drew many settlers to the area.
The beauty that drew the first settlers soon drew vacationers to the area and by the latter part of the 1800’s the area had become quite well known as a lovely vacation spot. The 240 lakes and 74 rivers and streams became the heart of what would become a flourishing tourist industry. From the early Grand View Hotel to the many modern motels the tourist industry has grown steadily until it was able to replace vanishing logging industry as an integral part of Waupaca’s economy.
Winchester Academy, located in Waupaca, Wisconsin, is a center for lifelong learning. It was inspired by the tradition of the Scandinavian Folk Academy. Winchester Academy brings free programs to the community to stimulate participants to want to learn more about the topics. The Academy offers approximately 20 free public lectures each year, in three series – fall, winter-spring, and summer.
Winchester Academy Programs
Winchester Academy presents a series of lectures on a wide variety of subjects throughout the year. Unless otherwise noted, programs are presented in the downstairs meeting rooms of the Waupaca Area Public Library. Each presentation lasts approximately one hour. There is no admission charge. Should a late cancellation be necessary, it will be announced on thelakes (FM 92.7), WILW 96.3 FM, or on Facebook. Programs usually begin at 6:30 P.M.
Go the Winchester webite for a current schedule or to inquire about reservations for in-person attendance.
WINCHESTER ACADEMY MISSION
OUR MISSION: “Winchester Academy’s mission is to enrich the community by providing free, intellectually stimulating, informative, and engaging programs.”