In the mid-1800s, Chicagoans began to notice the Chain O’Lakes region as a hunting and fishing paradise, although it was difficult to get there. The roads were little more than well-worn trails and paths. When the railroad tracks were extended from Chicago to McHenry in 1854, the journey became a bit easier. For those who wanted to get to the various lakes, the bad roads could be circumvented by water transportation. Boats began providing taxi service, and there soon became a demand for excursion boat rides with a special interest in seeing the Lotus beds.
The peninsula called Nippersink Point, bordered by the Fox and Nippersink lakes, was particularly intriguing to many wealthy sportsmen who began constructing clubhouse and summer cottage getaways on the shorelines. They enjoyed being isolated in nature’s backyard. While these private clubhouses provided some employment during the summer season, most year-round residents had to rely on hunting, fishing and the crops they grew to be able to live in the area.
HEART OF THE CHAIN
As far back as 1910, Fox Lake was referred to as being at the “Heart of Nature,” a slogan that was later changed to being the “Heart of the Chain O’Lakes.” The reference reflected the Village’s key location as a main artery on the Chain, fronting on the Nippersink, Fox and Pistakee lakes, as well as the primary channel leading up to Grass Lake. None of the other villages on the Chain have as many water resources within its limits. The train access and the (eventual) major highway did make it a major transportation artery.