Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
The Cunningham era in perspective, pp. 3-11 ff. PDF (2.8 MB)
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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