Mississippi Feature

The Biggest Dam In Their World

In 1910, Keokuk, Iowa, became a major tourist attraction. A three year project had just begun to build the largest hydroelectric plant in the world, costing $25,000,000. (Today, the largest dam in the world is the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River in China.) Completed in 1913, the lock was 358 feet long. Now the dam is 4,460 feet long, containing 119 arch spans. Each span has a gate which regulates water flow.

During construction, tourists watched without benefit of guard rails or other protective equipment required today. When it was all finished, tourists could watch boats be raised forty feet in height from one part of the river to the other in the locks. The city took a week's holiday in celebration of the finished project, hosting a national regatta.

The construction of the Keokuk dam was a great boon for the area. Besides providing construction jobs and electrical power, the dam brought a huge amount of attention to the area. Keokuk became known internationally, due to its dam and power plant. This interest and electricity allowed the area to flourish commercially, not to mention the resulting improvements in river navigation.

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