Monday, June 26, 2017

Mississippi Lock #19 at Keokuk, IA

This is the lock for Dam #19.
20140613 0046, you can see the powerhouse in the middle in the dam in the background
This view was taken from the old roadway of the swing bridge that is now an observation deck.
The original lock was 110x358 (one source said 400 for the length), the same width as the Panama Canal Locks. The current lock is 110x1200 and can handle a standard upper-Mississipi tow of fifteen barges.

Satellite
Google Map's satellite image has a glitch, but it is good enough to tell a tow is leaving the lock. Bing caught the lock when it was empty and the swing bridge was closed.

Satellite
A view taken upstream from the lock's visitor center. Note that the gate is not a miter gate. It is opened by being lowered into a slot in the canal bed.

A view looking downstream from the visitor center that also catches a train on the bridge.

https://www.panoramio.com/photo/63045521
Inside Lock #19 - Keokuk
https://www.panoramio.com/photo/4694903
Mississippi locks at Keokuk

Keokuk, Iowa Historians posted two photos with the comment:
Keokuk, Iowa Historians Vintage Photo Archive
Circa 1893
THE LOWER LOCK OF THE DES MOINES RAPIDS CANAL AT THE KEOKUK RIVERFRONT
Many years before the construction of the current dam at Keokuk, river navigation between Montrose & Keokuk was hampered by what was known as the Des Moines Rapids.
The city of Keokuk was built mainly on the business of LITERING OF BOATS travelling between St. Louis to St. Paul. Because of the Des Moines Rapids at this location, boats travelling upstream were forced to stop at the port of Keokuk to unload cargo to lighten the boat, the cargo was taken upriver to Montrose by road & the boat, sans passengers & cargo, was then safely able to navigate the rapids slowly. At times this process could take several days, therefore Keokuk needed several hotels to house layover passengers, its stores and restaurants thrived from the business of these passengers. In its heyday before the canal was built Keokuk was considered the most important port between St. Louis & St. Paul. Because Montrose was smaller, and boats coming downstream from St. Paul had to undergo this same process, most of those passengers also opted to come to Keokuk to await the arrival of and reloading of the boats at the Keokuk landing
For many years, the 12 miles of rapids at Keokuk, Iowa, were the northern head of navigation. At high water the rapids were dangerous. At low water, they were impassible. Cargo headed up river or down river had to be unloaded from the boats and carried past the rapids in horse-drawn wagons.
The US Army started to clear the Mississippi River as early as 1829. Lieutenant Robert E. Lee ran a project from 1831 to 1833 to remove snags and blast the largest rocks in the rapids. While this made running the rapids a little less risky, it did not solve the problem. A canal would be the solution, but that would have to wait until after the Civil War was settled.
The Canal envisioned by Lee was approved and construction started in 1866. The canal was built along the west bank of the river. Starting at Keokuk, a wall was built 8 miles long to create a river channel that was independent of the main Mississippi River channel. This channel was deepened, and three locks were installed, with the upper lock at Nashville, now Galland, the guard lock & drydock at Price's Creek and the lower lock at Keokuk. This section of the canal opened to river traffic in 1877. A further 4 miles of canal was built south of Keokuk down to the Des Moines River. This was accomplished by blasting the bedrock to create a deeper channel along the west side of the river. This part of the canal was not separated from the main river as the upper portion was. The canal featured an overall depth of not less than 5 feet.
The Des Moines Rapids Canal was in operation for 36 years. Increasingly large river boats were too big to fit in the canal locks, and ever heavier barges required more than 5 feet of water depth. Congress responded by approving the 6 foot navigation channel plan. The result was the huge dam, the monumental power plant, and new Panama-sized lock that opened in 1913. Much of the old canal was destroyed and submerged when the new lock and dam opened. This structure is largely in place today. The major change is that the Panama-size lock was too small once Congress approved the 9-foot navigation channel plan. It was replaced with the current 1200-foot long lock in 1952 -1957.
Tapati McDaniels Interesting glimpse into the potential that was expected of Keokuk and how various factors diminished it's prospects of becoming a larger city. Much has to do with transportation changes, both passenger and freight. Changes in manufacturing was the final blow.
I hope fortunes change again so Keokuk can finally realize its potential.

1

2

No comments:

Post a Comment