The Atlas and Vulcan Mills: Papering Appleton's Riverbanks

Photographed March 14, 2015
Appleton, Outagamie County, Wisconsin
44.444314,-88.229335
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THE ATLAS AND VULCAN MILLS
Papering Appleton's Riverbanks
 Known as the "Paper Valley" in the U.S., the Fox River has been home to the greatest concentration of paper mills in the world. A number of these mills were located along this very stretch of Appleton's riverfront -- including the Atlas and Vulcan Mills, which helped forge the international success of the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Built in 1878, the Atlas Mill was one of Kimberly-Clark's first papermaking facilities. It was here that a number of innovative new ideas in papermaking were developed. The Atlas Mill was the first mill to produce paper from ground mechanical wood pulp -- a practice that would become an industry standard. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Appleton's Atlas Mill was also the nation's leading wallpaper manufacturer.

Kimberly-Clark's Vulcan Paper Mill was built in 1881 directly west of the Atlas Mill. The Vulcan Mill produced book paper, and was one of the three buildings to be lit by the nation's first hydroelectric central station using the Thomas A. Edison system. The mill was dismantled in 1908, and the Vulcan Hydroelectric Power Plant was built on the same site the following year.
The marker is located adjacent to the Fox River at Vulcan Heritage Park, located at 535 West Water Street, Appleton, Wisconsin 54911.






The innovations that came from the Atlas Mill were remarkable. This legacy is celebrated in the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame Inc.'s Paper Discovery Center, which is housed in the refurbished mill and opened in February 2005.
The mill buildings . . .



The Vulcan Hydroelectric Power Plant is now
home to Fratellos Riverfront Restaurant.


Another of the mill buildings . . .

The marker is one of six placed along this walkway.

The marker is located at Vulcan Heritage Park.

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