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We at the Shawano Area Chamber of Commerce are proud to present you with this community guide to our area. We hope this book will be a valuable source of information about our business and industry as well as the community at large.

As you peruse this community book, you will get a flavor of what Shawano Country has to offer. Whether its work, play, education, health care or any other quality of life issue, you will find that our area offers significant choices of dependable services. The Chamber is committed to fostering a healthy economic climate in our community. We provide our members with many quality services and benefits. If you would like further information on Chamber membership, please call me at 715-524-2139.

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to our area. Please feel free to contact the Shawano Area Chamber of Commerce with any questions you may have or stop by the office at 1404 E. Green Bay Street and pick up a street map, vacation guide or calendar of events.

Sincerely yours,

Stacey Burris
Executive Director
Shawano Area Chamber of Commerce


All seasons are great in Wisconsin's northland. Residents of Shawano and Shawano County make the most of each, enjoying the special beauties of summer, the rich colors of fall, the crispness of winter, and the wonders of rebirth in spring.

Long a summer resort area, Shawano County is also a strong industrial community. Some 50 industrial firms make Shawano and Shawano County their home, assuring a strong economy year around. Resorts, hotels and motels, dozens of rental cottages, and as many restaurants bring tourist dollars into the community, as well.

But more important, the Shawano area is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Public and parochial school systems are excellent and top quality colleges and universities are within easy reach.

Recreation opportunities are everywhere. The county boasts 54 lakes, each a glistening gem, and a myriad of streams. The Wolf River flows through the county. The largest lake, Shawano Lake, is only a short distance from the City of Shawano. Systems of city and county parks, many on the banks of the Wolf or the shores of the lake, provide camping, picnicking, fishing, boating, and endless family outdoor fun.

Shopping is convenient, with stores, services, and shopping centers lining two primary arteries in Shawano. Less than an hour's drive away are enclosed regional shopping malls. Health care is also readily available, with a hospital and a major clinic located in the heart of Shawano.

Government and about a dozen organizations encourage business and industrial development in the community and county. A variety of incentives are available and there is a large pool of labor that's well educated and well trained.

Life in Shawano and Shawano County is living at its best.


Located in east central Wisconsin and away from the heavily beaten path, Shawano enjoys convenient access to that path. State highway 29, in transition from a two-lane roadway to a four-lane, limited access freeway, connects the city with Interstate 43 and U.S. 41, another freeway. Both highways extend southward from Green Bay to Milwaukee. I-43 skirts the Lake Michigan shoreline, touching the lake shore communities of Manitowoc and Sheboygan. U.S. 41 cuts through the heart of the bustling Fox Valley, which includes Appleton, Neenah, and Menasha, then swings west of Lake Winnebago passing Oshkosh and Fond du Lac.

Three state highways link the community with other northeastern Wisconsin resort cities, towns, and villages. These are state routes 22, 47, and 55.

A total of 33 trucking and warehousing establishments serve Shawano County. The Wisconsin Central Railroad serves Shawano's business and industry.

Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport is about 35 miles from Shawano. The airport is served by Northwest Airlines, American Eagle, United Express, and Skyway/Midwest Express Connection. Outagamie Airport, in Appleton, and Central Wisconsin Airport, at Mosinee, are also within easy reach. Limousine service to Straubel International is available locally. In addition, there is local taxi service and a shuttle bus service.

The Shawano City/County Airport, with a 3,900-foot paved runway and pilot-controlled lighting, can accommodate corporate aircraft and is the base for numerous private planes. Shawano Flying Service provides charter flights, scenic flights, and aircraft services and maintenance. The nearby communities of Clintonville and Waupaca also have airports.


After the end of the Blackhawk Wars, after the Menominee Indians had settled onto their reservation, after Wisconsin became the nation's 30th state, a man named Samuel Farnsworth and a few other men journeyed north from Neenah, paddling up the Wolf River. The year was 1843. In the area that is now Shawano County, Farnsworth found remarkable stands of white pine and reasoned that the trees could be cut into logs and floated down the Wolf to market.

In Oshkosh, Farnsworth legally secured land along the Wolf River for a sawmill, then returned to Neenah where he contacted Charles Wescott and proposed that he go north to build the mill. The following year, Wescott and a crew of men loaded equipment and materials aboard barges and polled up the Wolf to the site Farnsworth had chosen.

Thus began Shawano's tenure as a lumbering center. By 1874 there were more than 100 lumbering camps on the Wolf River. It's judged that the Heritage Park Museum stands approximately where Farnsworth's mill stood in 1844.

In 1853, by an act of Congress, a military road was built through the area. The road passed near the sawmill and became a supply route for river drivers and lumbermen. As the settlement around the sawmill grew, it took on the name Shawanaw, derived from the Menominee Indian's name for the nearby lake: "Sha-Wa-Nah-Pay-Sa" or "Lake To The South." It was not until 1864 that the spelling of the name was changed from Shawanaw to Shawano.

Despite its economic progress, population growth in Shawano County was slow. In 1856, there were less than 300 persons living in the county. Germans predominated, but there were also Irish, Norwegians, and Yankees from back east. In 1871, Shawano incorporated, officially designated as a village.

As the stands of pine in the area were depleted and lumbering turned to the hardwoods that also grew in abundance, a means of transportation other than the river was needed. Hardwoods did not float well and deteriorated in quality when immersed in water. The need for a new mode of transportation was satisfied in 1884 by the coming of the railroad.

After the turn of the century, the rich land of the area became farm land and the agriculture and dairy industries joined lumbering as sources of economic power in the community. In the early years of the new century, cheese factories were established throughout Shawano county, often only a few miles apart. In 1925, there were more than 100 cheese factories operating in the county.

Over the years since, the character of the community has changed. Tourism has become a flourishing business. Small family farms have given way to corporate operations that market through national distributors such as AMPI and Kraft Foods. High tech industrial firms and other manufacturers now provide the jobs and the economic stability needed.

Today, Shawano's past is commemorated by two remarkable steel statues that stand on opposite corners at the community's primary intersection in the downtown area. One depicts a pair of loggers with handsaw chewing its way through a mighty log. The other shows a quiet dairyman leading his prized cow. Appropriately, these commemorative sites result from cash contributions made by people and organizations who make their homes in Shawano.


When you want to get away from it all, the Shawano area provides loads of opportunities for enjoying leisure to its fullest. First, there's big Shawano Lake, a lake large enough to accommodate fishing, powerboating, sailboating, and canoeing without complications. Fifty-three smaller lakes in Shawano county are also recreational delights. Next, there are the fine motor inns, attractive campgrounds, and cozy lakeside rental cottages that serve as a base from which to see the sights. There are 10 comfortable motels, five large campgrounds, and 18 cottage rental locations in the Shawano area.

Four driving sightseeing tours are already planned for you in a brochure titled: "From the Pineries to the Present." The tours take an hour or two to complete. In each you discover such historic places as the Menominee Logging Camp Museum, Menominee Indian Reservation, Tigerton Dells rock formations, the Pleshek-Bohemian settlement, Keshena Falls, and Spirit Rock.

A summer resort area of rental cottages, boat rentals, bait shops, and restaurants occupies the perimeter of Shawano Lake. It bears a peculiar name. History tells that a locally owned mule named Moose was accused of escaping his fenced enclosure and raiding neighboring vegetable gardens at night. Tracks led his accusers back to the enclosure where they learned that Moose could jump the six-foot fence at will. Taken to court, the owner was ordered to keep the mule inside his fenced yard. After that, it was the casual comment of passersby - "Moose is in his yard" - that eventually resulted in the name of the area: The Mooseyard.

A myriad of restaurants and supper clubs dot the Shawano area. They specialize in casual dining and tasty cuisine - everything from burgers, dogs, and fries to steaks and chops, sea foods, and ethnic delights.

For those who like the excitement of gaming, the Menominee Nation Casino and Bingo, in Keshena, and the Mohican North Star Casino and Bingo, in Bowler, are the places to go in the Shawano area.

The area offers ample opportunities for all kinds of outdoor excitement. You can rent jet skis, snowmobiles, and power boats, go rafting on the Wolf River, play golf at several challenging courses, go water skiing, swim, sunbathe, watch a baseball game featuring the Shawano Lakers, or take a scenic airplane ride.

These and much more await you in Shawano and Shawano County.


Who doesn't dream of owning a home on the sandy beach of a lake, on a wooded river bank, or in deep woods seclusion? You don't have to be the head of your company or a big winner in the state lottery to live that dream in the Shawano area. There are 54 delightful lakes in Shawano County and deep woods are everywhere. The Wolf River flows through the county and through Shawano, itself. That makes for a lot of idyllic home sites, so many in fact that the average wage earner can readily afford the homesite of his dreams.

In Shawano, the banks of the Wolf River are lined with fine homes. Some old, some new. There are small bungalows and elaborate executive style homes. A cluster of executive style homes is located at the river's edge opposite downtown.

An elaborate mix of home styles and sizes ring the shores of Shawano County's numerous lakes. They range from year around homes with all the amenities to summertime rental cottages. Unlike many lakeside areas, there is breathing space between homes allowing passersby to see the lake and the power and sail boats docked at the lakeshore.

Several beautiful subdivisions are located on the shores of Shawano Lake. Woodland Oaks is a collection of new single family homes on the north shore of the lake. Also in this vicinity is Mason Woods Retirement Community, a luxury area offering one and two-bedroom apartments and cottages, private beach, boat slips, walking trails and housekeeping.

Delightful homesites in woodlands of pines and hardwoods are located throughout the rural areas of Shawano County. Often, a small trout stream flows by or a pond is a highlight of the property. For those who prefer renting, pleasant apartment complexes dot Shawano's neighborhoods.

Wherever you live in the Shawano area, whether your backyard is wooded, a lake shore, a river bank, or one of the area's many pleasant neighborhoods, you live a life that people elsewhere can only envy. Shawano is a special place to live, work, and raise a family.


Shawano residents enjoy relaxed shopping in the stores that line Main Street, the community's traditional downtown, and in the shopping plazas and convenience centers all along Green Bay Street. All wants can readily be satisfied and the service is friendly.

The full roster of consumer goods and services is found in the stores of Main Street. There is everything from clothing for the entire family to home furnishings, from restaurants and lounges to jewelry stores, from gift shops to professional offices. A movie theater continues to prosper in the downtown as well.

Green Bay Street is lined with motels, a variety of restaurants, a multi-screen cinema, two major shopping plazas, several small convenience centers, auto dealers, and two free standing national discount department stores.

Fairview Plaza is the largest of the two shopping centers on Green Bay Street. It has 19 stores, a supermarket, and a pizza restaurant. Shawano Plaza is second in size with 12 stores. This center is anchored by a major discount department store, a large food store, and a nationally famous department store. A bank occupies an outlet building.

Shawano area shoppers can still buy fresh cheese at one of several cheese factories that dot the county's roadways. One can even come across meat and sausage shops where the sausage is homemade and the meat is cut to order.

Not far away, in the cities of Green Bay and Appleton, shoppers can spend many more hours shopping in the enclosed comfort of regional shopping malls.


Companies established in the Shawano area have easy access to their markets via an improving transportation network. Their owners and employees shed the pressures of business each working day by living in a vacation resort environment of lakes, woods, and eye pleasing vistas.

Even Shawano Industrial Park, the area's premier corporate center, is heavily wooded. Dense woods ring plant sites. Phase II of the park has more than 100 acres available. In all, Shawano County has five business/industrial parks and five areas designated for business and industry.

The products produced by Shawano area manufacturers are many and varied. They include specialized logging equipment; fire fighting equipment, ambulances, and utility trucks; paper products, a variety of wood products, plastic components, industrial cutting tools, laser engraved products, machine parts, exterior insulation and coatings for buildings, ball hitches, knitted garments, cheese and cheese spreads, butter and condensed milk, industrial castings, cabinets and countertops, premixed mineral and vitamin feed supplements for agriculture.

No single company dominates the labor market, assuring a steady local economy. Aarow Iron Castings, the area's largest employer, has 303 workers. The second largest, Shawano Paper Mills, employs 235 workers. Five other firms each employ more than 100 people. Most of the 50 manufacturing and distributing companies that call Shawano County home have fewer than 50 employees.

Of the county's more than 38,000 residents, nearly 21,000 constitute the work force, so there is a large labor pool available. Specialized job training is offered through the area's schools and technical colleges. There's a strong pro-business climate as well. A TIF district was established to create Shawano Industrial Park, thus lowering the cost of locating there. In addition, a revolving loan fund and industrial revenue bonds are utilized to assist business and industry seeking to relocate. Couple these incentives with a low cost of living that translates into low wage rates and low utility rates and the merits of the Shawano area as a business location are clear.

Several organizations are prepared to assist the entrepreneur or business manager seeking to relocate to the Shawano area. Among these are the Shawano Area Chamber of Commerce, Shawano County Economic Progress, the City of Shawano Industrial and Economic Development Commission, Wittenberg Area Development Corp., Tigerton Advancement Association, and Shawano Improvement, Inc.

Agribusiness, with emphasis on dairying, plays an important role in the economy of Shawano County. The county has more than 800 dairy herds with more than 41,700 cows. Per cow milk production is in excess of 20,000 pounds annually.

Shawano and Shawano County are great places to do business.


Shawano area families live close to nature, so all of nature's appealing resources are readily accessible. Many live on the shores of the county's 54 lakes or along the banks of the Wolf River where they enjoy the full range of water sports.

Throughout the year a variety of festivals and special events bring area families together. There are fish, steak, and game fries, fish boils, dances, native American craft festivals, a strawberry fest and craft show, the maple syrup festival, music festivals, old-time firemen's picnics, bake sales, gigantic Fourth of July celebrations, corn roasts, fall festivals, spaghetti suppers, chili dinners, potato pancake dinners, band concerts, parades, and a December visit by Santa Claus. The summertime stock car races at the Shawano County Fair Grounds draw big crowds, as does the continuing series of flea markets held at the fair grounds.

The area's most avid golfers and those who come as vacationers have a wide choice of area golf courses. There's Maple Hills Golf Course, Wittenberg; Golden Sands, an 18-hole public golf course in Cecil; Shawano Lake Golf Club, with an 18-hole course and clubhouse banquet facilities and a lounge; and Pine Hills Country Club, Gresham. The regionally famous "Mooseyard" summer resort area offers miniature golf, as does Shawano.

Hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers make good use of the Shawano County section of the Wiowash Recreation Trail, which stretches for 102 miles from the Fox Valley to the Shawano area. Twenty-seven miles of the trail run through Shawano County. Another popular trail is the Mountain Bay State Trail that spans 83 miles between Green Bay and Wausau, extending for 51 miles through Shawano County. The county's section of the trail is opened to hiking, biking, horseback riding, horse drawn vehicles, snowmobiles, dog sledding, and ATVs.

The Navarino Nature Center, located on 20 acres within the Navarino Wildlife Area in Shawano County, provides opportunities to study nature close up and personal along a self-guided path. The walkway passes through woods and fields and along the edge of a marsh. Nature is abundant and strollers often see white tailed deer, ruffled grouse, marsh hawks, Sandhill cranes, muskrats, rabbits, gray squirrels, and a variety of song birds.

Embarrass River Park has about 20 miles of ATV trails along gorges created by the Embarrass River which flows through the park. The park offers camping facilities, picnic areas, playgrounds, and a nature area with a walking trail that has marked points of interest, plant and wildlife identifications, and a beautiful scenic views.

Anglers become enthusiastic at the mention of Shawano County's 54 lakes and the many streams of the county's lake and river system. Prize catches are always waiting, from trout to muskie, from walleye and northern pike to large and small mouth bass.

Besides three well-equipped community parks in Shawano, residents utilize four county parks. Shawano Lake County Park on Shawano Lake offers picnic shelters, camping, swimming, volleyball, tennis, basketball, and tennis courts. Hayman Falls Park, located on the Embarrass River about 13 miles southwest of Shawano, features picnic tables and grills, playground, horseshoe pits, and a ball diamond. Waukechon Riverside Park, six miles south of Shawano, offers a wildlife habitat and a boat launch to the Wolf River. Mielke Park, site of the Mielke Arts Center, features interpretive nature trail and fishing for youngsters under 14 years of age.

Shawano's Park and Recreation Department offers a wide range of sports and recreation programs for residents of all ages. Swimming lessons and several youth camps are available. The department also organizes league play in "A" ball, "T" ball, tennis, girls softball, pom poms, and tumbling. The city's Recreation Center offers an exercise room and large indoor pool.

The Shawano City-County Library serves as a community cultural center. The library has more than 124,300 items in its collection, including more than 88,600 books, 2,400 video cassettes, and the latest issues of 173 periodicals. With some 13,600 card holding patrons, the library's annual circulation exceeds 236,800.

The library offers a variety of programs. Among these are special services to the blind and physically challenged, story hours, story programs for toddlers and for families, access to the Internet, a summer reading program, a movie program for seniors, and day care and Head Start visits.

Live theater lovers fill the 250 seats of Mielke Arts Center, located just outside Shawano, for all performances throughout the year. The theater features a variety of musicals, dramas, and concerts performed by local amateur and professional artists, including Shawano High School student performers. Theater goers park near the highway and stroll a wide pathway through woods to the secluded theater, circling a quiet pond along the way.

Shawano residents can see nationally and internationally famous performers, as well as the regionally renowned, at the University of Wisconsin's Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay, only 35 miles to the east.

Family fun is ever present when you live the good life in Shawano and Shawano County.


Shawano residents are served by the Shawano-Gresham School District which operates six school buildings and has a total enrollment of some 2,800 students. A growing system, the district opened a new $17 million high school in the fall of 1997. The former high school became the district's middle school, replacing a school building dating back to the early decades of the 20th century.

The sparkling new high school sits on 40 acres. An adjoining 20 acres is occupied by a baseball complex owned by the city and used by the school's athletes. The new school has 253,000 square feet of space under roof and includes a six-lane swimming pool, a four-station gymnasium, and a 750-seat auditorium. It has state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for vocational, technical, and academic studies.

The district's elementary schools emphasize the basics of language arts, mathematics, and social studies. These are augmented by music, art, and physical education. Each school has a computer lab and networking capability. All students have access to the Wisconsin Interloan WISCAT system that opens to them the contents of 800 libraries with a total of 20 million volumes.

Shawano high school students choose from more than 140 different courses. Among these are more than 20 courses relating to vocational-technical subjects designed to prepare students for entry into a career field after graduation. Also included are advanced honors courses in English, Math, Accounting, Computer Assisted Technology, Science, Social Studies, Agribusiness, Music, Art, French, and Spanish. Some of these are advanced placement courses that offer college credit while still in high school. Gresham High School, with about one-tenth the number of students, offers fewer courses and extracurricular activities.

Shawano High School encourages student participation in a variety of special interest clubs and organizations, as does Gresham High School. Both field boys and girls athletic teams in major sports.

Nearby Bonduel is headquarters for the Bonduel School District. It operates four schools: Bonduel High School, and elementary schools in Bonduel, and the smaller communities of Navarino, and Cecil.

A few miles to the north of Shawano is the Menominee Indian Reservation. In Keshena, at the southern edge of the reservation, the Menominee Indian School District operates an elementary school and a combined junior-senior high school. The junior high has a total of 130 students, while the high school has an enrollment of 270 students. High school students choose from more than 70 different academic and vocational courses. Courses include those that focus on the language, music, and culture of Menominee Indians, such as traditional Menominee crafts and music, native American literature and history. The school offers six semesters of study of the Menominee language. Some of these courses use a fiber optic distance learning studio that allows students to learn from instructors in distant locations.

Shawano area parents have a choice of several parochial school systems are alternatives to public education. In addition, a number of daycare centers and preschools are located in Shawano to assist working parents with young children.

The Shawano area is surrounded by excellent higher education facilities located in the communities of Green Bay, Appleton, Wittenberg, and Keshena.

Keshena is the home of the College of the Menominee Nation, open to all area residents. It offers University of Wisconsin transfer programs in education, business administration, natural resources, and social work. It offers the first year of study in police science with transfer for a concluding year at Fox Valley Technical College. In addition, the college offers the first two years of nursing, with transfer to the Bellin College of Nursing where work toward a bachelor's degree is completed. The college also awards associate degrees and mastery certificates in microcomputer specialist and administration assistant, plus pre-apprentice certification in carpentry and electrical. Two highly specialized career fields are included in the college's curriculum: gaming management and hospitality and tourism management.

Northcentral Technical College has its main campus in Wausau, but operates a branch facility in Wittenberg, several miles west of Shawano, where approximately 500 students are enrolled. Several programs are offered by the Wittenberg campus. These are accounting, farm business and production management, computerized business applications, health services, general education, small business management, supervisory management, and human services/consumer education.

Other institutions of higher learning available nearby include the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, Lawrence University and Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. NWTC operates an outreach center at the new Community High School in Shawano. The outreach center offers basic education opportunities to help people to successfully enter higher education or meet the demands of employment and daily living. NWTC is now a part of the Shawano-Gresham School District Community Education Department, promoting the philosophy that school buildings are for community use for all residents.


The need for professional health care close to home is satisfied for families living in the Shawano area. Shawano Medical Center, a modern, not-for-profit, 46-bed hospital is located near the city's downtown business center. More than two dozen physicians serve on the hospital's medical staff, representing most major medical specialties. They are assisted by a hospital staff of some 325 full-time and part-time employees.

Shawano Medical Center operates a 24-hour emergency service staffed by physicians and nurses with special training in emergency medicine. The Lifeline response system is one of the services of the emergency department. Other medical services of the hospital include inpatient and same-day outpatient surgery, family-centered birthing, respiratory care, sports medicine with a certified athletic trainer, cardiac rehabilitation, physical - occupational - speech therapies, and a mobile cardiac catheter laboratory. The medical center also provides home health care and hospice.

The hospital boasts the latest in diagnostic equipment, including CT scan, ultrasound, low-dose mammography, nuclear medicine, mobile MRI service, and general radiography and fluoroscopy.

Reaching out to the community, Shawano Medical Center offers a variety of classes, wellness education, and assistance with Medicare and medical insurance questions and claim processing.

The Shawano Clinic augments the medical center in serving the health care needs of residents of the Shawano area. The clinic is part of United Health, headquartered in Appleton and serving northern Wisconsin. The Shawano Clinic has a medical staff of nine physicians and two surgeons, all affiliated with the Shawano Medical Center. Most of the doctors practice family medicine. However, several specialists from Appleton visit the Shawano Clinic one day each week.

The Shawano area has several excellent nursing homes providing short and long term intermediate and skilled nursing care. Among these are the County-owned Maple Lane Health Care Center, Evergreen Healthcare Center, Birch Hill Healthcare Center, and Heartland of Shawano Health Care and Rehabilitation. There are more than a half-dozen retirement communities in Shawano and Shawano County offering independent and assisted living for seniors.


The City of Shawano, with a population of approximately 7,900, is governed by a mayor-aldermanic form of government. Six persons make up the city council. City Hall is located on Green Bay Street, one of the city's primary arteries.

Residents dial 911 to secure emergency police and fire assistance. The Shawano Police Department has 19 sworn officers, five civilian dispatchers, a parking enforcement and community service officer, a secretary, and three crossing guards. The department provides a variety of public services. Among these are a school liaison officer and the Neighborhood Watch program.

The Shawano Fire Department has 40 paid-on-call firefighters who operate out of two stations, one in the heart of the community and the other at Shawano Lake. Firefighter equipment includes four 1,500-gallon pumpers, a 750-gallon pumper, a 55-foot aerial ladder truck, three rescue vehicles, a brush fire vehicle, and four tankers. Firefighters regularly visit the schools with a talking "Freddie the Fire Truck," and also give fire safety talks in the schools and before civic and social groups.

Shawano is the seat of government for Shawano County. A modern court house and county government center is located on the city's north side. From this location, the county provides a wide variety of social services to residents, guarding the public safety, public health, and assuring well being.


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