Lost Towns of Red Rock

99 Counties | FIND Iowa
Jul 25, 2024 | 02:36

How do you think landforms impact where people live?

Lake Redrock is a manmade lake. When it was made, several towns were submerged under the surface and are now known as the Lost Towns of Lake Red Rock.


Abby Brown:

Right behind me is the mile long bridge that goes across Lake Red Rock, Iowa's largest lake. Pretty amazing, right? But there's something even more amazing under the water. In the 1960s Lake Red Rock was created by humans to give flood water a place to go, to protect natural resources, and for fun, like fishing and boating. So underneath this water there are six towns where people used to live, and work, and go to school! This map shows where the Des Moines River ran before Lake Red Rock was built. The towns of Coalport, Fifield, Rousseau, Cordova, Red Rock, and Dunreath had either already gone away due to other factors or made preparations to be flooded for the Lake Red Rock Project by moving buildings or abandoning them altogether. You would never guess by looking at Lake Red Rock now, but towns existed here; with homes farms, a bank, a post office, and even a school! That's all gone now, the memories are underwater. There's even a road that goes to nowhere. And one more thing: most towns have a cemetery, right? Well can you imagine moving a cemetery so that a lake can be built on top of it? Well, the people in those six towns decided not to move their cemeteries. This is the only cemetery left above water: Red Rock Cemetery. The other town cemeteries are under the waters of Lake Red Rock; likely around 60 graves.

Every county in Iowa has a hidden story to tell. Thanks for discovering Marion County with me.