January 01, 2014

I enjoy reading David Galassie's Menasha Book blog detailing interesting facts, influential people, and notable places and buildings in Menasha's history.  Each morning it's a little mini adventure around our City at different points in its history.  One thing that I've noticed is that Menasha continues to change to suit new generations of residents, new technologies, and new entrepreneurs.  We've been an industrial city for generations, and continue to have a rich heritage and future producing things.  Names change; we no longer see American Can, Central Products, Banta, Wisconsin Tissue, or John Strange Paper but we see Graphic Packaging, Intertape Polymer, RR Donnelley, SCA, and US Paper.  We also see new types of business coming into the community; insurance, machining, healthcare, plastics, recycling, and more.

This Sunday January 5th will mark another upcoming change for Menasha.  One of the last pieces of the Gilbert Paper Company will be leaving us.  Standing over 1000 feet tall the smokestack from the paper company's powerhouse will be coming down at approximately 8AM.  In a spectacular demise, it will be toppled in a single piece falling towards the riverfront.  The best viewing areas will be to the west the government dam, the Racine St bridge, or even downtown near the marina. 

The site will be changing from industrial use to commercial and/or residential use while adding public access along the waterfront.  The changes will allow us to take advantage of  Menasha's exceptional waterfront as the asset it really is to all of us.   I believe that the 5 acre site holds much promise to: reconnect island neighborhoods to the river, create a walking & biking loop through the downtown and island, and bring new employment to our community.

The first phase will be the construction of the riverwalk which is funded in large part through the donation of the land and DNR Stewardship grants.  The nearly $1million project is expected to be complete before the close of 2014.  Additional land is being marketed and will continue to be marketed to bring new people and employment to Menasha. 

So if you're around this Sunday morning don't miss this next stage in ever changing Menasha, the story continues.


  1. I am very excited to watch the transformation continue within this wonderful city. Although it's sad to watch history fall, the demise of this landmark will pave the way for new energy and a 'current' of wonderful activity. So many great things in store for this area, just when people need something to grab on to and call their own.
    I have heard that the bricks may be sold to raise funds for some projects along the path, is this true?

  2. I don't think that there was a brick sale planed but there might be a potential to get one if you ask

  3. Growing up on Oak Street in Menasha in the 70's, 80's and 90's, I would wake up looking out my bedroom window to the Gilbert Stack. Will be sad to see it gone.

  4. Is this still planned for Sunday at 8am with the frigid temperatures expected?

  5. My understanding still planned for Sunday

  6. I wish I had known about this. My husband worked at Gilbert for over 42 years. I would have been there to see the last of it go. Isn't it strange, that 3 of the biggest mills in the area supported me in my lifetime. Bergstrom Paper, first 20 yrs., then Banta Publishing 18 yrs, Gilbert 24 yrs. It is so sad to see what is called progress, because it comes about due to demolition of life. Why couldn't the smoke stack have been preserved? We are losing so many landmarks.