Preserving History for the Future
America’s First Great Dam Foundation
Keokuk High School Students and America’s First Great Dam Museum Volunteers Susannah Olsen and Jenna Summers
Lock and Dam #19 is a marvel of American Engineering. When it was completed in 1913, it was the largest electricity generating plant in the world. Its hundred year plus legacy not only created an economic and cultural impact for the Tri-State Area, but also gave the region a profound historical identity that will last for generations. In 2004, Lock and Dam #19 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Following the widely attended 100-year anniversary celebration of Lock and Dam #19 in 2013, community leaders established the America’s First Great Dam Foundation in 2015, and created the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam Museum. The mission of The America’s First Great Dam Foundation is to preserve and promote the history of the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam by collecting and restoring pertinent memorabilia and artifacts; creating interactive exhibits and informative displays and educating museum visitors of all ages.
In 2017, The America’s First Great Dam Foundation received a grant from the Keokuk Area Community Foundation to build exhibits and programs for the future America’s First Great Dam Museum. The original Lock and Dam #19 construction photography of famed photographer Herman Anschutz will be one of the highlights of the museum. Over 2,220 original Anschutz photos were preserved, organized and documented by the America’s First Great Dam Foundation Board and Keokuk High School Leadership Program students.