Thank You 



City of Christmas    Open Thanksgiving thru Christmas Welcome to the City of Christmas in Keokuk's Rand Park. As you stroll through Rand Park, you will view well over 300,000 beautifully arranged Christmas lights and 100 delightful displays. Keokuk's City of Christmas began in 1989 when dreams became a reality and Toyland, Santa's Barn complete with reindeer and elves, Santa's Workshop, a Nativity scene, and the International Christmas Display all appeared in Rand Park for the month of December. Public reaction was outstanding and a holiday tradition began. Over a decade of memories have been shared by visitors to the City of Christmas, with totals of over 20,000 vehicles passing through Rand Park each year. All of the displays are original and created by local citizens with many hours devoted to construction, decoration and upkeep and totally funded by donations. Jim Shuman, coordinator of these activities is the recipient of the distinguished 2005 Spirit of Keokuk Award because of his efforts. The City of Christmas is a non-profit corporation staffed by volunteers. As you journey where visitors from all over the world have toured, we hope you feel the Spirit of the Holiday Season!    
Lock and Dam    Construction on U.S. Lock and Dam #19 began in 1910, and when completed in 1913, it was the largest electricity generating plant in the world. Lock 19 is the largest lock on the Mississippi and is on the National Register of Historic places. The area is open 24 hours a day for viewing of river traffic. Call (319) 524-6363 for information. The lock and dam, as well as the rest of the river, can be viewed from a distance on the Observation Deck of the old bridge. The locks are 1200 feet long and 110 feet wide, with a lift of over 38 feet and large enough to handle a full-length fleet of barges. The present lock was put into operation in 1957 at a cost of 13.5 million dollars. It is owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Power House and spillways (shown above) are owned and operated by Ameren Power Company. Lock and Dam 19 is the highest "step" in the stairway of locks and dams along the Mississippi River. The pool created behind the dam, Lake Cooper, is the largest pool in the series of dams with 240 miles of shoreline. This dam, along with Lock and Dam #1 are the only ones used to produce electricity.   
Riverboat Museum    The George M. Verity River Museum is located in Victory Park on the riverfront. The paddle boat was built in Dubuque, Iowa by the U.S. Government in 1927 to revive river transportation and move barges from St Louis to St. Paul. It was then known as the S.S. Thorpe. Armco Steel Corporation bought the boat in 1940 and put it into service on the Ohio River, renaming it after the founder of their company, George M. Verity. The George M. Verity was donated to the City of Keokuk in 1961 after being retired from service. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends only April 1 - Memorial Day and Labor Day - October 31. Admission is $3 for adults and $1.50 for children. Located at Victory Park at the river, from Hwy 136 east (Main St) turn right on 2nd St (at Keosippi Mall), turn left on Bank St down to the railroad tracks.   
Amana Colonies    The Amana Colonies. The Inspirationists emerged in the early 1700's as part of the Pietist and Spiritualist movement within the Lutheran Church in Germany. Eberard Gruber and Johann Friedrich Rock were early spiritual leaders in this Community of the True Inspirationalists. The Inspirationalists placed a great deal of emphasis on the development and the nurture of Inner Life via direct mystical contact with God. A strong commitment to church discipline and close community relationships also characterized the Inspirationists. In 1842, 800 German Inspirationists settled near Buffalo, New York, and began to practice full communal life institutionalizing precepts concerning dress and lifestyle. For economic and spiritual reasons, however, the group bought 18.000 acres in Iowa in 1854 and called their new home "Amana" a word taken from the Old Testament Song of Solomon, which means "to remain faithful." In 1932, the year of the "Great Change," community of goods was discontinued. Strict regulations on dress and lifestyle have also been gradually eliminated. Church life itself however, continues with its spiritualistic pattern and simple form of worship. in unadorned meetinghouses. Despite the large number of visitors who come to the Amana villages each year, many unique cultural traditions remain and are, in fact, affirmed and passed on from generation to generation.   
Keokuk, Iowa    Keokuk is named in honor of the Sauk/Fox chief 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 by the Sauk and Fox tribes 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 the newest scientific wonder — the steamboat. Although large 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 1860s, Keokuk played a vital role as the departure point for northern troops headed for southern battlefields of the Civil War. Returning hospital boats created a need for medical care, and as many as seven hospitals and two medical colleges were established in Keokuk, including one 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 the largest of its time, fortified Keokuk as a major force along the Mississippi, with rapid industrial growth through the 1950s and expansions into the twenty-first century. 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.