Milwaukee developers try to dig a water route to the Lead Region in the 1830s.

A documentary history of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal, ... (excerpt)

One motive behind the founding of Milwaukee in the 1830s was the possibility of linking its deep-water port to the lead region in southwestern Wisconsin by means of a canal. Byron Kilbourn, the chief proponent of this idea, brought engineer and scientist Increase Lapham to Milwaukee in order to oversee the canal's development; Lapham had worked previously on the Eria Canal in New York and on the locks that by-passed Ohio River rapids near Louisville, Kentucky. As secretary of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Company, Lapham edited this documentary history of the proposed canal project in 1840. He compiled all of the published and unpublished laws, reports, and other documents relating to the canal back to 1836, adding some explanatory notes, in order to present a full account of the development of the proposal to unite Lake Michigan with the Rock River. We give here only the first 31 pages of his text, from a copy of the book owned by Gov. James D. Doty. Although work was begun on locks on the Milwaukee River north of the city, no other progress was made on the canal.

Related Topics: Immigration and Settlement
Great Lakes Steamships and Canals
Creator: Lapham, Increase Allen, 1811-1875
Pub Data: Milwaukee: printed at the Office of the Advertiser, 1840
Citation: Lapham, Increase Allen. A documentary history of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal, compiled and published by order of the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee and Rock River Canal Company (excerpt). (Milwaukee: Office of the Advertiser, 1840). Online facsimile at Online facsimile at:; Visited on: 12/7/2021