One of Iowa’s First Roadways Uncovered When Lake Drained

LOWELL, Iowa  --  The Iowa DNR has drained Lake Geode to remove the silt from the lake bottom.

In doing so, the lack of water in the lake has revealed one of Iowa’s first roadways ever built.

“The road was one of the first roads in Iowa, and it went from Burlington to the Indian Agency in what is now Agency, Iowa," said Russ Fry, a Burlington area historian. “It was a major artery for people headed west to settle in Kansas, Nebraska, or head to the gold mines out west.”

The road was still in use when Lake Geode was created in 1937. It was drained in 1981, and again now in 2017. Crews will take silt from the lake. There is no swimming or fishing or camping in the lake until the park reopens in 2019.

“There were two roads authorized by the U.S. Congress in the Iowa territory in 1839--one from Dubuque all the way down to the Missouri border and then this one from Burlington, which was a territorial capital,” said Fry.

While the road is historic, there are no artifacts or geodes to be found on this road. There is plenty of mud on parts of the road and the lake bed.

The Iowa DNR is advising people not to walk in the mud, as they could become stuck.