Green Bay’s rich history can be traced back many years. By the 1600s, large populations of Menominee, Winnebago and Chippewa Indians lived in what is now Green Bay.
The lure of riches, fur and the possibility of a northwest passage to the Orient brought the first European explorers. Jean Nicolet claimed the land for France in 1634. He called it La Baye Verte (Green Bay) because of the greenish spring and summer waters. Fur trappers and Indians formed a permanent trading post at La Baye by 1655. Nicolet was followed by other French explorers, Jesuit missionaries and fur traders. A mission church and frontier fort were built by 1684 and by 1700 La Baye was the most productive fur trade area in New France.
This was a period of turmoil in the eastern Woodlands. Decimation by disease and warfare forced many Indian groups to abandon native territories and move further westward. By the mid 1700s, France and England were engaged in a series of wars in North America. After the American Revolution, the United States annexed the area as part of the Northwest Territory but was unable to occupy the region. After the War of 1812, the U.S. finally claimed the critical fort here, naming it Fort Howard. Soon, Yankee settlers mixed their culture with the predominantly French society. Green Bay became a chartered U.S. city in 1838 and later a county seat. In the mid-1800s, German, Irish, Dutch, Czech, Belgian and Polish immigrants began pouring in to work at farming and logging, and later joined the iron smelting industry. The first paper mills were built around the turn of the century.
To many, Green Bay is best known for it’s professional football team, the Green Bay Packers. Founded in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Calhoun, the Packers have gone on to earn national stature and virtual world-wide recognition by winning more championships (13) over the intervening three quarters of a century than any other team in professional football.
The fact that these achievements on the gridiron have come while representing a city that currently boasts over 100,000 inhabitants, in competition with the country’s population giants, has endeared them to the nation’s football fans, many of whom are intrigued by the David vs. Goliath concept and the Packers’ unique status as a community owned corporation. Click here for a complete history of the Green Bay Packers.
Today, Green Bay’s abundant history is reflected in its people and its pride. The area still resonates with the impact of the logging industry, with three of the area’s top 20 businesses being paper mills, and two others revolving around the paper converting and paper machinery industries. The area has also developed a reputation as a regional medical center, with three hospitals in the area employing nearly 4,800 people. Additionally, Green Bay is home to the largest meat packing center east of the Mississippi River, and is one of the top convention destinations in the Midwest.
Brown County Population: 218,149
Average Temp January: High 23, Low 5
Average Temp July: High 80, Low 58
Average Yearly Snowfall: 47 inches
Average Yearly Precipitation: 28.83 inches
Airport: Austin Straubel International
Newspaper: Green Bay Press-Gazette
The arts scene in Green Bay thrives with two symphony orchestras, its own opera company, several local theatres, and three college campuses (St. Norbert College, UW-Green Bay and NWTC) whose events are open to the public. The crown jewel of the arts community is the Weidner Center For the Performing Arts. Located on the campus of UWGB, it plays host to numerous musical and theatre productions. In the past the Weidner has also been a stop for Broadway touring companies, including Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast.
In June 1999 the Green Bay area was declared one of 10 cities in America to receive the “All-America City Award” from the National Civic League and Allstate Insurance Company. The All-America City Award is the oldest and most respected community recognition program in the nation. This is an award that celebrates innovation, cooperation and effort in addressing community issues like the quality of education, diversity and neighborhood development.
Green Bay is situated within Brown County, which has a population of roughly 220,000. Brown County is comprised of the city of De Pere and the villages of Allouez, Ashwaubenon, Denmark, Hobart, Howard, Pulaski, Suamico and Wrightstown. As the oldest city in the state, Green Bay remains the county center and is the third largest city in Wisconsin after Milwaukee and Madison.
Note: Special thanks to the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce for furnishing information above.
The city of Green Bay is diverse in many ways. Many nationalities find their home here. It’s also religiously diverse. There are over 100 different churches in Green Bay. How can you choose just one church? Do you choose a community church? A Lutheran church? A Baptist church? Here’s a great guide by John MacArthur to help you make that decision: How to Choose a Church Home. You may also consider watching this very short video (1 minute, 42 seconds): How Do I Find a Good Church?