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Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
(1958)

The Cunningham era in perspective,   pp. 3-11 ff. PDF (2.8 MB)


Page 11


THE CUNNINGHAM ERA
Co." This private concern expended "huge" sums of money for
development of the
navigation and power of the river and did a thriving business as an economic
ven-
ture.
  Then came the Civil War and, with it, need for federal control of waterways
in the
interests of the national welfare. So the navigation rights were sold to
the federal
government for some $Io,ooo,ooo, with the power rights still held by the
private
company as it exists today.
  A reconstruction period followed, when locks, and dams, modern for the
day, were
constructed with federal funds, toll was removed and navigation on the Fox
River,
Wisconsin, became, tonnage-wise, second only in the United States in rivers
of its
class. The "Merrimac" in the east carried a few more tons annually.
  All this activity, and the removal of tolls, had a material effect on the
use of the
waterway as a means of pleasure. Motor launches and palatial yachts began
to
appear on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River. Yachting and boat clubs came
into
being. Two of those later merged into one, the Neenah-Nodaway Yacht Club,
which
today holds the distinction of being the second oldest in North America.
  To review the roster of inhabitants of Neenah in the i88o's and i89o's
is to read
a directory of boating and yachting enthusiasts. The craft varied widely
as to type;
motor launches, steam yachts, sailing cargo vessels, side wheelers, stern
wheelers,
sailing yachts, canoes and row boats all mingled together to give the twin
"port"
of Neenah-Menasha a nautical atmosphere which is in strong evidence in this
year
of 1957.
                                                               H. B. PALMER
Four of the shallow draft paddle wheelers that plied these waters at the
turn of the century carrying
freight and passengers up and down the Wolf and the Fox rivers and the length
and breadth of Lake
Winnebago. During the summer months, these ships were in demand for excursions.
Neenah's Riverside
Park was one of the popular ports of call. The old pavilion was placed at
the north end of Riverside Park
to accommodate the visitors coming by water.
~C~9
II


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