Fox Chain Boating History.com

The History of Boating on the Fox Chain-O'Lakes is a 580 page pictorial history of regional development and boating activity from the mid-1800s to present.  The Fox Lake Region was first known to Chicagoans as a sportsman's paradise.  Three railroad lines that extended into the region (McHenry 1854, Lake Villa & Antioch 1884-1886 and Ingleside-Fox Lake 1899-1901) led to rapid shoreline developments and the creation of a tourist trade which continued to grow until the Great Depression struck (1929-1939). 


Steam paddle-wheelers and later, internal combustion powered excursion boats provided the primary means of transportation throughout the Fox River and Chain-O'Lakes from before the Civil War (1865) until cars became king after WWII (1945).  As Chicagoland's watery playground, the Fox River and Chain-O'Lakes has been the world's busiest waterway on a per-acre-basis since the Roaring Twenties. 


According this author's research the Fox River and Chain have also been home to more boat racers who have captured more national championship titles and set more speed records on water than racers from any other single body of water in the world. 


Come discover our waterway's amazing and nearly forgotten historical-legacy.

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