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Appleton’s first permanent settler was Hippolyte Grignon who built the White Heron to serve as trading post, inn and home for his family. Amos Lawrence chartered the construction project of Lawrence University which is now a successful educational institution. The project brought in many workers and their families who, once the construction was finished, made the Appleton area their home. The City’s name originated from Amos Lawrence’s wife Sara Appleton and his cousin Samuel Appleton. Since its incorporation as a city in 1857, Appleton has been a hub of economic prosperity and progress.

Appleton Fire Department was created in June 1854. On this date, the Council passed an ordinance intended to prevent fires and to regulate the fighting of fires. 

The City was divided into two fire districts. East of Appleton street was district one. Everything West of Appleton street was district two.

Fire Wardens were appointed to each district. Their job was to seek out fires in their area summon enough volunteers (and get enough water) to help fight it. The hope was that the fire wouldn't spread too much or get out of control too fast.

Today, we have six districts and we are a full-time career department with trained firefighters at each fire station 24 hours a day-365 days a year.

The Appleton Fire Department responded to 89 calls in 1895. Now we respond to over 3,000 each year.


In 1901, the Appleton Fire Department budget included $820.32 to care for the horses. The line items were listed as grain, hay and bedding, shoeing and harnesses. Today we have eight vehicles that respond on a daily basis for service calls in the City of Appleton.