Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Thursday, July 9, 2015

La Fontaine Revisited

The passage below about the formation of Brown County in 1840 further elaborates on the La Fontaine railroad story as explained in this blog back in April:

As you might recall, Governor Doty's plan was to bypass the Fox River's rapids by a railroad from the village of La Fontaine near present-day Kaukauna to an envisioned "Winnebago CIty" on the northern shore of Lake Winnebago between present-day Menasha and the town of Cliffton (High Cliff). 

But in this case, several years later, a canal was now the prescribed means to avoid the Fox River problem. Of course, as we now know, this was eventually solved by a series of locks. 
Brown County 1840

The " town system" is adopted, and the county is divided into four towns — Green Bay, Depere, Kakalin and Howard.

The town of Kakalin is on the Neenah (Fox) River, in the south part of the county. The Grand Kakalin rapids, from which this town derives its name, is near the middle of the town. It is the principal and most noted rapids of the Neenah. In a space of eight thousand six hundred feet, according to the survey of Capt. Cram, there is a descent, over horizontal strata of limestone rock, of forty-four feet.

The river is here divided, by about thirty small islands, into numerous small channels. On approaching, and upon leaving these rapids, it has a direction nearly northeast, but upon the rapids it is deflected to a due east course. The Konkapot creek enters the river from the south, at these rapids; and a town, called La Fontaine, has been laid out near their foot. Stone, of excellent quality for building, may be quarried here in abundance. A company has been incorporated to construct a railroad from this point to Lake Winnebago. Bridgeport, or Waupakun, is situated at the mouth of Plum Creek, in this town, about two miles below Rapide de Croche. From this place a survey has been made for a canal to Cliffton (High Cliff), on Lake Winnebago. The length of the route is fourteen miles and five hundred and eighty feet: a feeder from the north branch of the Manitowoc river, nearly two miles in length, would be necessary.

The summit is eighty-five feet and fifty-one hundredths above Lake Winnebago, and the Manitowoc, at the head of the proposed feeder, is sixty-eight feet above that lake. By the construction of this canal the rapids of the Neenah would be avoided. The population of the town of Kakalin, in 1842, was 251.

from: Wisconsin: Its Geography, and Topography, History, Geology, and Mineralogy, Increase Allen Lapham; Milwaukee: I.A. Hopkins, pub (1846)
map courtesy of Wisconsin Historical Society, viewed online at on 9 Jul 15

1 comment:

  1. A great read!!

    Thanks for keeping up the interest in Menasha's history. Agree with DRC and we do need another book like the last one published by ARCADIA. Hope the author and Historical Society will embark on that venture.