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The Valley of the Lower Fox: historical, descriptive, picturesque
(1887)

The Fox and Wisconsin improvement,   pp. [12]-[19]


Page [18]

 
1W 
       The estimates calculatcd for works to render the river navigable from
Lake Winnebago to Green 
 Bay, by digging canals around the following rapids: 
                        Name.                                        No.
ft. Distance 
                                                                     Fall.
  Apart. 
                    DePere          -       -       -                   8
     o 
                    Little Kaukauna              -     -                8
     6 
                    Rapid Croche            -                 -    -    8
     6 
                    Grand Kaukauna             -            -          50
      4' 
                    Little Chute    -                    -             38
     2'2 
                    Cedar Rapid      -                     -     -     IO
                    Appleton           -           -                   38
     4 
                    Menasha                                             0-
- 0 414 
                          Total                   -                   170
      28 
       In 1846 Congress passed an act granting to the State of Wisconsin,
on its admission into the 
Union, for the purpose of improving the navigation of the river, and uniting
it with the Wisconsin 
by a canal across the portage, a quantity of land equal to one-half of three
sections in width on 
each side of the Fox River and the lakes through which it passes from its
mouth to the Wisconsin at 
the portage to be selected by the Governor. 
       On January 29th, 1848 an act was passed by the Legislature accepting
the grant.  By this, and 
 subsequent acts, nearly eight hundred thousand acres of the most valuable
lands in the State were thus 
 appropriated for the purpose of this improvement. 
       The State undertook the construction of the works tinder the supervision
of a Board of Com- 
missioners, and up to 1853 made the following expenditures: 
                    DePere,   -                                        $
 1,365 81 
                    Little Kaukauna,               -                - 
                    Rapid -Croche, -                                    
26,105 02 
                    Kaukauna,                                           
27,547 04 
                    Little Chute,  -                                    
36,661 21 
                    Cedar Rapids,                                       
25,997 42 
                    Appleton,                                           
32,469 67 
                    Menasha, 
                    Upper Fox River,               -    -       -       
26,926 69 
                    Portage Canal,              -                 -     
69,754 02 
                    Wisconsin River,               -    -         -     
15,105 39 
                    Miscellaneous,    -                             -   156,953
56 
                          Total,     -                              - $428,855
83 
       In 1853 the Legislature passed an act incorporating the Fox and Wisconsin
River Improvement 
Company, with a capital stock of $5oo,ooo, under bonds of $200,000 to complete
the work in three 
years from date. During the three succeeding years the work was carried through
with great energy and 
activity, and in October, 1855,-two years and three months after the formation
of the company--the 
first boat passed from Green Bay to Appleton. The following June a steamer
made a round trip from 
Pittsburg, Pa., via. the Ohio, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Fox rivers. 
       From 1856 until 1862, during summers, the river was lively with trade
and traffic.  In 1863 the 
railroad was completed to Green Bay and the commerce of the river began to
decline. The Improve- 
ment Company was finally forced into insolvency, and in February i866 the
works of improvement, land 
grant etc., were sold at public sale. The purchasers organized themselves
Linder the name of " The 
Green Bay and Mississippi Canal Company."   In 1871 the Government proposed
to purchase the work 
and complete it, and the Company consenting to sell, an act of Congress was
passed providing for 


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