Historic Keokuk Lock & Dam 19 on the Beautiful Mississippi River

Keokuk was named for Chief Kiyo' kaga, (one who moves about alert), 1788-1848, later known as Chief Keokuck. He figured prominently in the deeding of Indian lands that became Keokuk City. Known as the "Gate City" because of its important position as an embarking and disembarking point on the Mississippi River, KEOKUK'S HISTORY is many layered and fascinating.    The history of Lock and Dam 19 is also rich and interesting.      

istoric Lock and Dam 19 at Keokuk  is situated at the point where the natural barrier of a huge limestone shelf caused what was known as the Des Moines Rapids.  This shelf made it impossible for river traffic to continue up the river past Keokuk, thus making this small city the head of navigation on the Mississippi River, and very significant in the  history of the Midwest.

 BIRDWOOD HOUSE is one block from the edge of the 150 ft. high bluff that rises up from the Mississippi River .

Shown at left is Lock 19, with the old Municipal Bridge
in the foreground.  There is an Annual Art Over the Mississippi Art Fair held on the Old River Deck each August, in conjunction with the renowned Annual Keokuk  Rollin' on the River Blues Festival
“Iowa's Best Fest by a Dam Site”
  The road seen at the very bottom of the picture is actually the deck of the Keokuk-Hamilton Bridge.

Just out of the picture is Keokuk Waterworks.  
The tap water produced for the city at the Keokuk Waterworks Plant has been awarded the "Best Tasting Water In Iowa" by the Iowa Water Council.

Left, Keokuk in winter, looking East toward Illinois
is circled below in pink

Shown below is the magnificent Mississippi Queen as it passes Rand Park in a lovely Keokuk Autumn.
                "A steamboat was as beautiful as a wedding cake without the complications!" - Mark Twain"
There is big change in the future for Lock 19.  Keokuk was granted Port Status in 2006, and designation as a Foreign Trade Zone is in the works, expected to be approved in the near future. 

This will mean an upgrading, expanding and rebuilding  project that will allow the 148-foot-long, 12-ton blades manufactured by the new Siemens plant just north of
Keokuk, to be transported through the new lock. 
Iowa lies at the heart of the largest wind generation region in the U.S

vening pass through the Lock heading upriver          

Keokuk riverfront becomes home

to scores of majestic eagles in
winter, where
they feast on fish
that have gotten lovely and fat
during the summer months
Click to see an eagle eating his fish dinner in our tree at Birdwood!!

Sunset from Rand Park


Keokuk – Keokuk Cultural and Entertainment District

The local program, Main Street Keokuk, Inc., was formed in 1986 and Keokuk was officially designated a Main Street Iowa Community                on April 14, 1986.

Keokuk’s predominantly Victorian-era architecture includes houses once called “home” by Howard Hughes, Roger Maris, Elsa Maxwell, and Samuel Clemens.

Keokuk's new Aquatic Center opened in 2009
Click to enlarge

Keokuk has been selected as the host community for the 2011 Iowa Downtown Summit. 
The 2011 Summit will mark a  milestone year for Main Street.
Keokuk and Main Street Iowa will be celebrating their 25th anniversaries in downtown revitalization in 2011. 
Keokuk has been very active in downtown initiatives and the in Main Street Iowa program throughout the past 23 years.   Many life-enhancing projects have been completed.


Keokuk Yacht Club

Keokuk "peninsula"

Early morning view of Keokuk Riverfront, Birdwood is circled in pink

 *Click image to enlarge view

Barges leaving Lock 19, showing Keokuk Hydroelectric Power Plant

Mark Twain in Keokuk  Among the illustrious folk who have
called Keokuk home was Samuel L. Clemens, the famous Mark Twain. He learned to set type at his brother Orion's printing shop on Main Street. Keokuk Public Library owns the earliest known original oil painting of a young Sam Clemens.

                                                                        Public Library and Art Center

Famous and sought after Keokuk Geodes are found all

along the bluffs and tributary stream beds
of the Keokuk area of the Mississippi riverfront.
Click HERE to see some excellent specimens!

Keokuk is the home of the Annual L-Bird Fly-In, which celebrates its 20th year in 2010.

Click to enlarge