Waterways

Iowa is the only state with two borders completely defined by rivers. Many rivers running north and south provided Iowans with jobs, goods and a way to travel.

Steamboats on the Mississippi

Steamboats transported goods to and from Iowa before railroads were built. 

Question

How might steamboats have helped settlers establish a new life in Iowa?

Steamboats on the Missouri River

The Missouri River was a connection for Iowans and others traveling west. However, the Missouri River was strong, dangerous and caused many boats to sink.

Question

How was travel on the Missouri River different from travel on the Mississippi River?

First Dam on the Mississippi

Steamboats on the Mississippi River connected Iowa to other parts of the country, but not without challenges. Learn how engineers overcame problems faced by the Des Moines Rapids.

Question

How did the Keokuk-Hamilton Dam benefit Iowans in the early 1900s?