Wisconsin Hometown Stories: Neenah-Menasha

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Explore the story of two Wisconsin cities with a contentious beginning that grew to be collaborative communities of innovation and service. Film, archival images, and interviews with historians, local citizens and experts illustrate the two cities' rich stories and their role in shaping international manufacturing and retailing.

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Video Segments and Teaching Resources

Segment Summaries | Wisconsin Biographies, Charles Clark: From Rags to Riches | Straight to the Source: Primary and Secondary Sources interactive lesson | Neenah and Menasha Map

Credits: Debra Burmeister (Neenah Joint School District), Grace Davis (Neenah Joint School District), Amanda Ironside (Menasha Joint School District), Greg Kehrning (Menasha Joint School District), Marissa Lukaszewski (Menasha Joint School District), Andra Mory (Neenah Joint School District), Suzy Weisbgerber (Neenah Joint School District), Justin VanderHoof (Martin Luther School), Don Nussbaum (Content Expert), Josh Ranger (UW-Oshkosh Archives and ARC), Menasha Historical Society, Neenah Historical Society

Segment 1: Rivalry (09:34)
Competition between land speculators led to the founding of two separate settlements.
Segment 2: Wood & Wheat (14:40)
Pioneer industries, powered by the Fox River, expand in both cities.


Segment 3: Paper (07:58)
Papermaking becomes profitable in Neenah, and expands throughout the Fox River Valley.

Segment 4: Building Communities (07:09)
Industrial wealth is channeled into solving the pressing problems of the day.


Segment 5: Better Than Cotton (08:20)
Wartime research fuels Kimberly-Clark Corp.'s invention of two ground-breaking products.

Segment 6: Makers (07:16)
Locally-owned industries make a wide variety of products, and provided thousands of jobs.

Segment 7: Retooling (07:19)
As industries faced tough competition, both cities found ways to reinvent themselves.