contentsFox Lake IL Chamberads


Not surprisingly, Prohibition took its toll on the economy, which relied on recreation, entertainment and fun. Many saloons were converted into ice cream parlors. Needless to say, the Great Depression had a more drastic impact on the local economy. Many lost their business investments completely, while others employed drastic measures to survive, such as subdividing and selling small parcels of their land. It became financially difficult for some to properly maintain their old wooden buildings.

Some of the resorts, clubs and other businesses succumbed to fires and were never rebuilt. The wooden frame structures were very vulnerable to fire, which created serious challenges for the all-volunteer fire departments forced to fight the fires with inadequate equipment.

When Route 12 reached Wauconda in 1920, there was still only an unimproved dirt road to take you into Fox Lake. Starting in the 1930s, the roads improved greatly, allowing the public to not only reach Fox Lake, but to pursue vacation and outdoor recreation destinations beyond Fox Lake. Many Chicagoans were now able to drive out to the Chain O’Lakes area, have some fun and return on the same day.

While World War II put most things on hold due to rationing and so many people in uniform, immediately following the War, things changed dramatically. Starting in the 1950s, the boating industry took off all across the country—and the Chain was open for business, but there were few resorts remaining.

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