September 9, 2020

The Marigold Mile

One of the things we love about Appleton is seeing and discovering new things about our community.  The longer we live here, the more we learn and like!  Recently, we were driving up Oneida Street to get gas for the car.  We were on the way home from buying groceries for our guests at the Franklin Street Inn. Traveling north from Calumet Street toward the Skyline Bridge, our day was brightened by the Marigold Mile.  The Marigold Mile even has a mission:

To beautify the Fox Cities with the planting of thousands of marigold flowers along our streets, while providing community service opportunities to volunteers.

Construction impeded the Marigold Mile

Now we had heard about the Marigold Mile before.  Unfortunately, we had not fully experienced it in the few years we lived here.  You see, that part of Oneida Street was under construction when we moved here.  With the widening and paving of the street, putting handicapped ramps at crosswalks, and other improvements, we rarely traveled that road in order to avoid the construction.

The work also created a lapse in fully planting the Marigold Mile the past couple of summers.  There were some marigolds planted along Oneida where the street was not torn up during that time. But the grand mile of marigolds folks told us about was not to be seen.  So when we did travel Oneida Street the other day, what a pleasant surprise that brightened our way!

yellow and orange marigolds line the curbs along a four lane street

It began with a row of marigolds!

In 1988, Pam Sturm from Fox Valley Nursery decided to add some curb appeal along South Oneida Street. She planted about 50 feet of marigolds along the street by the nursery. In the following years, she continued her quest by planting alternating yellow and orange marigolds along the curb. Businesses along South Oneida Street admired the flowers so much that they wanted marigolds planted in front of their businesses. John Law of Law Realty also wanted every resident between the businesses to have flowers. Thus, began what is known today as The Marigold Mile.

With the help of volunteers, under the direction of Fox Valley Nursery, marigolds were planted, weeded, and watered each year. In return, the volunteers were able to earn community service hours.

The Marigold Mile develops more roots

In 2007, the marigold projects was converted to a non-profit organization called The Marigold Mile, Inc. Currently, The Marigold Miles plants approximately 8-10,000 marigolds on the boulevards of South Oneida Street. The marigolds extend from the Skyline Bridge south to Calumet Street and beyond the original Marigold Mile.

While they may be small, the marigolds make a difference. It is not only a community project, but it brightens your heart and your day. The Marigold Mile gained so much popularity that in 2016, then Mayor Tim Hanna proclaimed the marigold as Appleton’s official flower.  You can read the proclamation yourself. just click on the link and enjoy.

About the Marigolds

orange and yellow marigolds beautify a street curb with plush green grass in the background
Orange and yellow marigolds give curb appeal along the Marigold Mile

The Marigold Mile plants Inca Marigolds, a variety chosen for their size, sturdiness and hardiness. Each flower can reach up to 18 inches tall and 10 inches wide. The orange and yellow marigolds thrive in warm, sunny, well drained areas.  August through September is the peak time to stop and smell the flowers.  If you are curious about the planting schedule, the Marigold Mile folks provide that here. To learn more about the flowers and planting methodology, click here.

Come see the Marigold Mile for yourself, it's sure to brighten your day!