The Locks / Kaukauna

Lock 1

signage_kaukauna1There are five locks in Kaukauna because this is the the Fox River’s steepest drop in elevation—and as of summer 2021, all five locks are open to navigation!

The area was discovered in 1634 and called KaKalin Falls by the Native Americans; for the next several decades, the area was known as Grand KaKalin. Now, The Gran KaKalin is a riverfront development of the old Eagle Mill which includes the new public library and commercial space.

Renovation of Lock 1 was done to maintain the historic construction and completed in 2015. Crews took the lock apart stone by stone—each limestone slab weighed about 6,000 pounds.

Street Address: 701 Canal St., Kaukauna WI, 54130

General Information

Latitude: 44.28235
Longitude: -88.26215
Opened Date: 1856
Rebuilt Date: 1880-1920, 2014
Construction: Quarry stone masonry, concrete caps, wood gates

Lock Dimensions

144 feet x 35 feet
Sill Depth - 6 feet
Lift - 10.3 feet

Hours of Operation

May - October

Location

Lock 2

signage_kaukauna2This lock is near one of only two pony truss swing bridges built in 1901 that is still in operation. The bridge can open/close in under one minute and still carries rail traffic today. This lock was also the site of scientific research by the U.S. Geologic Survey and you can learn more about their project at this link. This lock also overlooks the massive footprint of the Thilmany Mill owned by Ahlstrom-Munksjo. There has been a paper mill in Kaukauna for more than 130 years.

Street Address: 950 Augustine St., Kaukauna, WI  54130

General Information

Latitude: 44.28265
Longitude: -88.25856
Opened Date: 1856
Rebuilt Date: 1903, 2013
Construction: Quarry stone masonry, concrete caps, wood gates

Lock Dimensions

144 feet x 35 feet
Sill Depth - 6 feet
Lift - 9.6 feet

Hours of Operation

May - October

Location

Lock 3

signage_kaukauna3Lock 3 is located adjacent to our headquarters and hosts the only dry dock in the system. Built in 1901 the dry dock was primarily used to maintain and store vessels. Located behind lock 3 is the only paper mill in Kaukauna.

Street Address: 1014 Augustine St., Kaukauna, WI  54130

General Information

Latitude: 44.2835
Longitude: -88.25594
Opened Date: 1856
Rebuilt Date: 1880, 2012
Construction: Quarry stone masonry, concrete caps, wood gates

Lock Dimensions

144 feet x 35 feet
Sill Depth - 6 feet
Lift - 10.2 feet

Hours of Operation

May - October

Location

Lock 4

signage_kaukauna4_newTwo regional attractions are at Lock 4.

“The Big One” is a famous cross section of a Douglas fir that was cut down after standing for 586 years.

In total, the fir grew to a considerable circumference of 34 feet 8 inches, a diameter of almost 13 feet, and a head-spinning height of 238 feet.

This Big One was 133 years old when Columbus arrived in America. The Big One was on display at the entrance to the Menasha Corporation in Wisconsin until 1969. Not long after, the Army Corp of Engineers transported the tree by barge down the Fox River to its current home at Kaukauna Lock No. 4.

The Grignon Mansion is within walking distance of the lock and is a national and state historic site. This Greek Revival home has been restored to the time period of 1837 when it was built by Charles A. Grignon for his new bride. The home was called the “Mansion in the Woods” and was an elegant escape from the life of a fur trader. Tours are available early May through Labor Day.

Street Address: 1200 Augustine St., Kaukauna, WI  54130

General Information

Latitude: 44.28451
Longitude: -88.25286
Opened Date: 1856
Rebuilt Date: 1880, 2011
Construction: Quarry stone masonry, concrete caps, wood gates

Lock Dimensions

144 feet x 35 feet
Sill Depth - 6 feet
Lift - 10.2 feet

Hours of Operation

May - October

Location

Lock 5

signage_kaukauna5This is perhaps the most historic and the last of the Kaukauna Locks. The construction materials in this lock are stacked stone rubble and are original to the 1850s. For more than 150 years, this construction has withstood weather, storms and regular use. When the locks were restored in 2015, construction crews lined the lock with wood timbers to protect the stone construction (and the boats using the lock). Accessible from Doyle Park in Little Chute, the Little Chute Lock displays this same historic construction style and material.

Street Address: 1750 Augustine St., Kaukauna, WI  54130

General Information

Latitude: 44.28681
Longitude: -88.24663
Opened Date: 1856
Rebuilt Date: 2012
Construction: Quarry stone masonry, concrete caps, wood gates

Lock Dimensions

144 feet x 35 feet
Sill Depth - 6 feet
Lift - 10.3 feet

Hours of Operation

May - October

Location