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Water wheel installed at Kaukauna Lock

Water wheel and monument along Fox River Lock in Kaukauna, April 18, 2017 (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

KAUKAUNA (WLUK) -- A historic tribute built to honor one of Kaukauna's favorite sons is back in place.

Tuesday morning crews installed a brand new water wheel along the Fox River Locks.

At seven feet across, nearly two-feet deep, and weighing 1,000 pounds, the sight of a big wooden wheel driving down the road was hard to miss.

"Well, it looked great. It was a good feeling for my boys Todd and Dan, that worked on it," said Dean Krause of Krause Construction.

Todd and Dan Krause spent countless hours on the project.

"It's a replica of what was there, pretty much the same. A few little innovation things to make it a little better, but basically that's what it was, was there," said Dean Krause.

The wheel is part of a tribute to former Kaukauna Mayor Lewis Nelson. Nelson's 95-year old son, David Nelson paid for part of the restoration. Donations from area businesses and the City of Kaukauna helped too.

"We didn't have any costs, involved as far as refurbishing the wheel. We were just involved as part of the community to help with the manpower, and equipment to get it done," said Tim Clark, Kaukauna Public Works Department Street Foreman.

Crews guided the wheel into place Tuesday morning.

"First try, went right in. so that was a good feeling, and a lot easier on the guys than it was taking it out," said Todd Krause.

After some fine tuning, the wheel was working. Todd Krause says David Nelson would approve.

"As soon as it gets enough water, and we get it spinning, we'll definitely be able to take him for a ride, to come and see the dedication. Dedicate it to his father. So, it's a nice feeling," he said.

The lock is part of the Fox River Navigational System Authority, which manages 17 locks between Menasha and De Pere.

A dedication ceremony for the wheel is planned in about a month.

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