Fond du Lac, Wisconsin

This article is about the city. For the adjacent town, see Fond du Lac (town), Wisconsin.
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Nickname(s): Fondy

Location within the state of Wisconsin.
Coordinates: 43°46′N 88°27′W / 43.767°N 88.450°W / 43.767; -88.450Coordinates: 43°46′N 88°27′W / 43.767°N 88.450°W / 43.767; -88.450
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
County  Fond du Lac
Incorporated 1847 (as a village), 1852 (as a city)[1]
  City 20.11 sq mi (52.08 km2)
  Land 18.82 sq mi (48.74 km2)
  Water 1.29 sq mi (3.34 km2)  6.41%
Elevation 760 ft (232 m)
Population (2010)[3]
  City 43,021
  Estimate (2012[4]) 43,045
  Density 2,285.9/sq mi (882.6/km2)
  Metro 100,070
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
  Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code(s) 920

Fond du Lac is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The name is French for Bottom of the Lake,[5][6] named as such because of its location at the bottom (south end) of Lake Winnebago. The population was 43,021 at the 2010 census.

The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Fond du Lac Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Fond du Lac County (2000 population: 97,296). Fond du Lac is the 342nd largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States. The Fond du Lac MSA and the Beaver Dam (city), Wisconsin Micropolitan Statistical Area, form the larger Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam Combined Statistical Area.


Lake Winnebago on the 1835 Tourist's Pocket Map of Michigan among the "Mennomonie" villages of Wisconsin Territory. Present day Fond du Lac is labeled "White Bosom Village".

Lake Winnebago on the 1835 Tourist's Pocket Map of Michigan among the "Mennomonie" villages of Wisconsin Territory. Present day Fond du Lac is labeled "White Bosom Village".

Native American tribes, primarily the Winnebagos but also the Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Mascoutin lived or gathered in the area long before European explorers arrived. Although the identity of the first white man to explore the southern end of Lake Winnebago is uncertain, it was probably Claude-Jean Allouez, followed by French fur trappers.[7]

James Doty, a federal judge for the western part of the Michigan Territory, thought that the land at the foot of Lake Winnebago might be a good location for a city, so he and his partners bought land in the area. In 1836, during the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, John Arndt proposed making Fond du Lac the new capital.[8] The motion failed, and Doty convinced the legislature to choose Madison instead.

Colwert and Fanna Pier were the first white residents of the area. In 1835, the construction of the Military Ridge Road began. It passed through Fond du Lac, connecting the forts in Wisconsin and Fort Dearborn in Illinois.[9] The first school in Fond du Lac was built in 1843. The first railroad came to the community in 1852. About 1856, the first English newspaper in Fond du Lac, the Fond du Lac Commonwealth, was founded. Logging and milling were primary industries in the late 1880s, with access to the lake as the engine of the industry.

Historic districts

Fond du Lac has 20 listings on the National Register of Historic Places, including four historic districts: the South Main Street Historic District, the North Main Street Historic District, the Linden Street Historic District, and the East Division Street-Sheboygan Street Historic District. Other listings include six houses, two octagon houses, two hotels, a church, a fire station, a train depot, an apartment building, a commercial building, and a prehistoric site. Most of the buildings listed in the register were a result of economic prosperity following the lumber industry boom in the Fox Valley and the newly rich building residences in the area.[10]


Fond du Lac is located at 43°46′N 88°27′W / 43.767°N 88.450°W / 43.767; -88.450 (43.775, -88.445).[11]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.11 square miles (52.08 km2), of which, 18.82 square miles (48.74 km2) is land and 1.29 square miles (3.34 km2) is water.[2]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201542,933[12]−0.2%
Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam CSA and its components:
  Fond du Lac Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Beaver Dam Micropolitan Statistical Area

Fond du Lac is the larger principal city of the Fond du Lac-Beaver Dam CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Fond du Lac metropolitan area (Fond du Lac County) and the Beaver Dam micropolitan area (Dodge County),[14][15][16] which had a combined population of 183,193 at the 2000 census.[17]

2010 census

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 43,021 people, 17,942 households, and 10,395 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,285.9 inhabitants per square mile (882.6/km2). There were 19,181 housing units at an average density of 1,019.2 per square mile (393.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.6% White, 2.5% African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 2.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.

There were 17,942 households of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 36.9 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.

2000 census

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 42,203 people, 16,638 households, and 10,282 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,501.3 people per square mile (965.9/km²). There were 17,519 housing units at an average density of 1,038.3 per square mile (401.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.59% White, 1.86% Black or African American, 0.51% Native American, 1.52% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.27% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. 2.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,638 households out of which 30.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,113, and the median income for a family was $50,341. Males had a median income of $35,682 versus $22,492 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,996. About 4.6% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.


The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) has four churches in Fond du Lac: Redeemer Lutheran Church, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, and Faith Lutheran Church.

Fond du Lac's population is about one-third Roman Catholic.[18] In 2000 the six Catholic parishes merged into a single entity called Holy Family Catholic Community. St. Louis Catholic Church burned down in 2007 and the building was demolished. The St. Patrick and St. Joseph churches closed, while Sacred Heart, St. Mary, and St. Peter remain open.

Agnesian HealthCare

The mother house of the Sisters of Saint Agnes is located in Fond du Lac. The order operates Agnesian HealthCare and St. Agnes Hospital in the city.

Fond du Lac is the episcopal see of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac. St. Paul's Cathedral is the mother church of the diocese.

Fond du Lac also has a synagogue, Temple Beth Israel. Although Jewish people first came to Fond du Lac in the late 19th century, the first synagogue was not established until 1914.[19]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a congregation in Fond du Lac.[20]

42.7% of Fond du Lac residents do not affiliate with any religion.[21]


Fond du Lac is served by the Fond du Lac School District. Its schools include:

Goodrich High School was the public high school from 1922 to 2001. When Fond du Lac High School was built, the Goodrich building became Riverside Elementary school.

Private secondary schools in Fond du Lac include: Winnebago Lutheran Academy, a Lutheran (WELS) high school;[23] St. Mary Springs High School, a Catholic high school;[24] Fond du Lac Christian School, an interdenominational K-12 school;[25] and Trinity Baptist School, a Baptist K-12 school.[26]

St. Mary's Springs Academy also operates an elementary school and middle school, which were formerly named Fond du Lac Area Catholic Education System (FACES).[27] Fond du Lac also has four Lutheran primary schools.[28][29][30][31]

Fond du Lac is the home of three colleges: Marian University, a private Catholic four-year university; the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac, a two-year campus in the University of Wisconsin Colleges; and Moraine Park Technical College, a two-year technical college in the Wisconsin Technical College System.





Business and industry

The largest employer in Fond du Lac is Mercury Marine, a division of the Brunswick Corporation. Mercury Marine, which has its world headquarters in Fond du Lac, is the largest maker of outboard motors in the world,[32] employing approximately 2,500 people in its factory and offices. Other industry includes Giddings & Lewis, a manufacturer of machine tools, owned by the Fives Group; Brenner Tank, a builder of transport tankers; Chicago Tube & Iron, a division of Olympic Steel; Saputo Cheese; and J. F. Ahern, a mechanical and fire protection company.

Fond du Lac is also home to an AC Nielsen data gathering center. Other businesses include Charter Communications, Society Insurance and an office of Wellpoint, which operates as Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Fond du Lac has one hospital, St. Agnes Hospital.


The main retail district includes Forest Mall which includes a Kohl's and a Younkers. Other retailers in Fond du Lac include Shopko, Walmart, Target, Mills Fleet Farm and Menards.


Fond du Lac is the county seat of Fond du Lac County and the site of the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds. The Fond du Lac County Fair takes place annually in late July.

Fond du Lac is also host to Walleye Weekend,[33] an annual summer festival centered around the Mercury Marine National Walleye Fishing Tournament. Walleye Weekend, usually hosted on the second weekend in June is a "Free Family Fun Festival" held in Lakeside Park on the south shore of Lake Winnebago.

An annual fall festival is also held in September, called Fondue Fest. The festival was first held in September 2007 when a collaboration project between The Melting Pot and Brenner Tank created and set the Guinness World Record for the world's largest fondue set. The festival has been held since.

Fond du Lac has a children's museum, which displays rotating child-centric exhibits.[34]


On August 15, 2016, it was announced that the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Marian University were teaming up to bring a Northwoods League baseball team to the city in 2017.[35] The new team will use Herr-Baker Field, which is on the Marian University campus. The team is holding a public competition to choose the new name.[35]


Lakeside Park entrance

The largest park in Fond du Lac, Lakeside Park contains more than 400 acres (1.6 km2) of open recreational space on the south end of Lake Winnebago. Year-round activities include a whitetail deer exhibit. Summer activities include flower displays, boating, picnics, and weddings within the park's picturesque landscape. From April 15 to October 15, the Lakeside Park Lighthouse, built in 1933, and its observation tower are open. Visitors can take rides on a miniature train and an antique carousel. The park also contains four jungle gyms and a petting zoo. A steam locomotive stands at the Main Street entrance to the park, donated by the Soo Line in 1955. Lakeside Park hosts a holiday event featuring a "dancing lights" display,[36] decorations and music.

Buttermilk Creek Park is a large, grassy, hilly park containing an amphitheater, tennis courts, two jungle gyms, and a sledding hill.

Other parks include: Taylor Park and Pool, Butzen (Danbury) Park, Jefferson Park, Fairgrounds Park and Pool, and Playmore Park.




The Canadian National now operates the only railroad in Fond du Lac. Fond du Lac was the headquarters of the Wisconsin Central Railroad until 2001. It was part of the Soo Line until 1987.

Mass transit

Fond du Lac Area Transit is the local public transit operator in the city. The first public transit in Fond du Lac was a privately owned streetcar service in the 1880s; it converted to busses from 1944 to 1967.[37] After several private operators, the bus system ceased operations in 1967. The current city-owned transit system began operations in 1973.[37]

Roads and highways

Interstate 41 Northbound, I-41 routes to Oshkosh. Southbound, I-41 routes to Milwaukee via Lomira. I-41 is a freeway bypassing Fond du Lac on the west side with 5 interchanges serving the area. The interchanges are at US 151, Hickory St, Hwy D Military Rd, Wis 23 Johnson St, and Hwy OO Winnebago St. The interchange for Wis 175 Main St was removed when the new US 151 bypass was built.
U.S. 41 US 41 is cosigned with I-41 in the Fond Du Lac area.
U.S. 151 Southbound, routes to Waupun, Beaver Dam and Madison. Northbound, routes to Chilton and Manitowoc. Formerly running through the city, the highway now bypasses Fond du Lac to the southeast since a grade-access expressway was completed in the mid 2000s.
WIS 23 (Johnson St.) travels west to Wisconsin Dells via Rosendale and Ripon and east to Sheboygan via Plymouth.
WIS 175 travels south parallel to I-41 & US 41 and consists of most of the route US 41 took before the construction of the freeway.
US 45 travels north to Oshkosh, Wisconsin along the lakeshore of Lake Winnebago, and south to West Bend via Eden and Kewaskum. US 45 has been rerouted onto the US 151 bypass, I-41/US 41, and Wis 23. The former route was returned to local control.

Other important streets in the Fond du Lac area are as follows:

Notable people






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  5. "Dictionary of Wisconsin History". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
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  18. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin Religion Data Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
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  20.,-88.402048,17&lang=eng&id=meetinghouse:5521726-01-01 Retrieved 2016-03-05.
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  24. Archived February 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. "ベルタ葉酸サプリ は男性用も人気があります". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  26. "Trinity Baptist School | Quality education in a Biblical setting". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
  27. Archived July 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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  35. 1 2 Rhonda Roberts (August 15, 2016). "Northwoods League team coming to Fond du Lac". WBAY-TV. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  36. "Lakeside Light Show, Fond du Lac, WI". FDLLights. Retrieved 2015-11-28.
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  39. David M. Cheney. "Bishop Pablo Ervin Schmitz Simon [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 2015-11-28.
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