Did You Know? 1939.

In 1939, the country was still reeling from a decade of economic depression. In an attempt to build new jobs, the WPA project was created along the Iowa River, with the hopes of addressing the on-going problems associated with spring-time flooding…

The WPA Project: The city hired workers through the Works Progress Administration to redirect the Iowa River. The soil from the dredging, widening, and redirecting of the river influenced much of the city’s current geography. Where once a very sharp bend existed in the corner of City Park (see map above), now there is a curved northeast corner. Much of the mud and water removed from that sharp corner was pumped into Lower City Park, raising the land three feet. Of the two City Park ponds that residents used for ice skating, only one remained while the north duck pond was filled with dredges. And sadly, the project also eliminated The Island (see below).

When Walter Terrell built his dam & mill (1843), there was an island in the center of the Iowa River. So, Terrell built his dam in two sections. One part was built from the eastern side of the island to the present Dubuque Street side, and the other was built from the island west to what is today, City Park.


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