Wisconsin steamboat navigation locks, 1868

A map from 1868 shows a proposed navigation route for steamboats along the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, from Green Bay to the Mississippi River, with locks 160 feet long by 35 feet wide.

This State Journal editorial ran on the front page of the newspaper Jan. 24, 1868:

Military engineers estimate a system of canal and slack water navigation for river boats from Chicago to the mouth of the Illinois River — with locks 75 feet wide and 350 feet long, and 6 feet of water — will cost $18 million.We suppose there is no doubt but that the waters of Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River could be connected by a navigable channel large enough for most of the boats used on the upper Mississippi, through the Fox and Wisconsin rivers, at a cost of $1 million or $2 million.

For all general purposes of navigation, that channel would answer equally well with the proposed Illinois canal, though it would not serve as a sewer for Chicago.

Inasmuch as economy in public expenditures is the order of the day, we hope Congress will conclude to save $17 million by providing for opening navigable communication between the Lakes and the Mississippi via the Fox and Wisconsin rivers instead of through Illinois.

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