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"Keokuk owes its existence, its presence, and its future to its more dominant force, the Mississippi River.   there is only one Keokuk in the world, located at the confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers in the southeast corner of Iowa.

Rich with history, culture and natural beauty, Keokuk boasts exceptional schools, health care facilities, neighborhoods, entertainments, and recreational options, and provides career opportunities for the entire Tri-State Area.  Today, nearly 11,000 call this beautiful city home.

Natural beauty, from the magnificence of the Mississippi to the delightful surprise of limestone-encased geode crystals, abounds in Keokuk.  Many visitors remark on the "greenness" of the city, with its gigantic trees lining most residential areas and its 16 public parks that offer recreational facilities as well as beauty. 

Keokuk, Iowa is the place where today and history meet, where opportunities about, and where the small town atmosphere and great people make it and enjoyable place to call home or visit.

Keokuk's uniqueness extends from its name, which honors the Sauk/Fox chief, Keokuk, of the descendants of aboriginal Algonquin peoples present when white settlers first explored the area.  Native Americans fished the Mississippi's waters and hunted game in the lush woodlands along the river for centuries, most recently the Sauk and Fox tries led by the city's namesake- Chief Keokuk.

The area was under French and Spanish rule for nearly 150 years prior to being included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.  In 1804, the area was set aside by special treaty as a tract for half-breed descendants of the Indians and early white fur traders.  By 1828, the first white settlers had arrived in Keokuk and began commerce on the Mississippi with newest scientific wonder --- the Steamboat.  Although lard unnavigable rapids blocked river traffic at Keokuk, ingenious businessmen and engineers soon solved the problem with a series of canals, and Keokuk prospered.

Evidence of this age of prosperity can be seen in the magnificent homes perched on the bluffs high above the river.  Many of those homes still reflect the opulence and refinement developed during the last half of the 19th century.

During the tumultuous 1860's, Keokuk played a vital role as the departure point for northern troops head for southern battlefields of the Civil War.  Returning hospital boats created a need for medical care, and as many as sever hospitals and two medical colleges were established in Keokuk, including on that later became the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.  President Abraham Lincoln established the first National Cemetery west of the Mississippi here.  It is still the only one in Iowa.

In 1913, a huge hydroelectric plant and dam, an engineering marvel and largest of its time, fortified Keokuk as a major force along the Mississippi, with rapid industrial growth through the 1950's and expansions into the 21st century.

All in all, Keokuk, is a progressive community firmly rooted in the past and eagerly reaching for the future, while maintaining the Midwest's famous small-town friendliness.


Chief Keokuk Statue

Overlooking the Mississippi river, Chief Keokuk, for whom the town is named, is honored by a monument in Rand Park.

Lock and Dam 19 and Observation Deck

Keokuk has preserved its history by converting the old swing span bridge to an observation deck.  Visitors are invited to a bird's eye view of the Mississippi and lock and dam 19 and the hydroelectric plant, built in 1913, an engineering marvel of its time.

George M. Verity Riverboat Museum

The George M. Verity Riverboat Museum, on the riverfront, provides history buffs a return to steamboat days of times past.

Miller House Museum

The Miller House Museum houses a rich collection of photos, furnishings, and objects d'art that focus on the lifestyles of area ancestors,  The superintendent's house at the Nation Cemetery is in the process of being renovated for future history museum.

Grand Avenue

The most obvious record of Keokuk's past is the magnificent homes perched on the bluffs high above the river.  Even today, each facade reflects signs of the refined wealth that was so evident in the last half of the 19th century. 

Keokuk Art Center

The Keokuk Art Center in Keosippi Mall offers monthly exhibits by area artists and has a fine permanent collection.  Artist lectures and art classes are offered.

National Cemetery

One of the original twelve designated by Congress, at the same time as Arlington, Keokuk's National Cemetery was the first west of the Mississippi River and is still the only one in Iowa.


Bald Eagle Appreciation Days begins the yearly calendar in January.  Because the dam creates open waters on the Mississippi River, hundreds of eagles spend winter in the Keokuk area, where they can fish below the dam.

April marks the now famous Civil War Reenactment of the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, featuring Keokuk's civil War hero Samuel Curtis.  The annual event is in its 16th ear and has garnered many awards.


4th of July celebrations include a kids-n-pets parade down Grand Avenue, a fishing

derby by the Keokuk Police Department and an afternoon full of games

for all ages in Rand Park, and conclude with an awesome

fireworks display to celebrate our country's freedom.




Rollin' on the River is a summer blues festival that attracts big-name R&B talent from across the country.

The summer months also see the gathering of one of the largest airplane conventions in the Midwest--the L Birds or Bid Dogs--and Wings Over the World competition.

The year ends in December with the City of Christmas display of lights in Rand Park.  The 100 plus displays, created by local volunteers, continue to grow each ear and attract over 30,000 carloads of viewers annually."


January 4 - April 16

Monday --- closed

Tuesday --- 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Wednesday - Friday --- 2:00 - 6:00 pm

Saturday --- 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

(sessions every hour)

May 2 - October 29

Monday --- 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Tuesday - Thursday --- 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

Friday --- 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Saturday --- 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

(Sessions every hour)

Novemeber 15- December 30

Monday --- Closed

Tuesday --- 11:00 am - 3:00 pm

Wednesday - Friday --- 2:00  - 6:00 pm

Saturday --- 8:00 am - 6:00 pm

(sessions every hour)

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