Support The Locks

Fox Locks Preservation Fund

The Fox River has been home to native peoples, a main thoroughfare for transporting goods, a source of hydroelectric power, ground zero for the state’s paper industry, and is now having a renaissance of recreation and environmental awareness. Keeping the system of 17 locks open and operational will fuel economic and recreational growth.

Help us by supporting the locks to sustain this engineering marvel for future generations.

How the locks started

Construction started on the locks in the 1840s by Irish, German, Scandinavian and Dutch laborers using only manpower, horses, pickaxes, virgin timber, and the stone quarried from the local hills. Even more amazing—the locks don’t rely on mechanical pumps or motors. All operation on the system is the result of manual labor and an innovative use of hydraulic engineering.

The system is the largest restored, hand-operated lock system in the United States and all of the 17 locks are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Success from state and local support

The Army Corps of Engineers proposed filling in the locks and closing the system in the 1980s. Doing so would have ended navigation of the Fox River and the loss of this historical system. Local leaders stepped in to help with these results:

The Future

We are establishing the Fox Locks Preservation Fund for the ongoing preservation and operation of this historic lock system. Our goal is to sustain the operational support of the system to include staffing, administration, annual maintenance, repairs, and property rehabilitation. General donations will be used to maintain levees, spillways, maintain/repair lock chambers and lock mechanisms and fund staffing levels.

Special projects include:

How can you help?

Join the hundreds of area residents who are helping us preserve this unique asset for future generations. Your tax-deductible donation may be made simply by clicking on the link below or by contacting our office at 920-455-9174. Consider these ways to leave your legacy: