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Des Moines River Locks No. 5 & No. 7

Bonaparte, IA 52620

National Historic Register - 1977

Lock and Dam No. 5 was built in 1852 as part of the Des Moines River Improvement Project, approved by Congress in 1846, and represents one of the few sets actually completed.

The project was designed to make the Des Moines River navigable from its mouth to the Raccoon Fork (present site of Des Moines) by constructing a series of twenty-eight locks and dams. Towns along the river dreamed of unprecedented growth, with steamboats bringing loads of people and supplies to their docks.

The project was never finished. In 1856, Edward Manning of Keosauqua reported to the Legislature that in six years, only "three stone-masonry locks" and two dams had been completed. In 1858 the State Legislature gave up on the project. Though boats could no longer ply the river, the river power could still be harnessed and used by the many mills along its banks. The dam was replaced in 1872, and that dam was destroyed in 1903.

Lock No. 5 is located in City Park, Bonaparte, IA. The mill race ran between the lake and the park for many years. Photo shows all that remains of Lock No. 5

Lock No. 7 is located on privately held property in Keosauqua, IA.