May 12, 2017 by: Keith Hansen
Picture Yourself in Red Chair's seat
It is hard to believe Red Chair departed the Franklin Street Inn in Appleton, WI about a week ago. Over the next several weeks Red Chair will reflect on his stay here through this blog. Above Red Chair enjoys the view of the locks on the Fox River along the riverfront at Lutz Park. Red Chair learned about the Fox River and its locks system, the only available network for transporting large quantities of commercial goods prior to the railroad. Once the locks were opened, the area economy boomed, and 24 steamers per week came to port in Appleton by 1857.
Red Chair also learned about the power of the river and the various dams built in the area to harness the power from the river. Appleton became a national leader in developing hydroelectric power for incandescent lighting to local homes and businesses. The Vulcan Hydroelectric Central Station boasts several first, including the first commercially successful electric trolley system, which operated in Appleton from 1886-1930.
The "You are Here and Red Arrow" in the lower middle picture of the information board above notes Red Chairs viewing location from the opposite side of the river and dams,
Red Chair took some time to read about the history of the Fox-Wisconsin Waterway that linked Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River. The Waterway allowed boats to bring new settlers, as well as manufactured goods, more readily to Appleton and the Fox Valley region as well as other parts of Wisconsin. Narrow steamboats were specially built to navigate the river’s narrow and often overgrown channels back then.
Picture yourself in Red Chairs place. Come visit Appleton and learn more about the other firsts in hydroelectricity and the many influences the Fox River has had on Appleton and the Fox Cities.
Red Chair will be posting about his other experiences in Appleton over several weeks this spring and summer. Check back periodically to learn more about history, events and attractions in Appleton and the Fox Cities.