Our Town Guttenberg: Lockmaster House Museum and Aquarium explain Mississippi River history

KCRG-TV9's Jackie Kennon reports from the Guttenberg Aquarium and the Lockmaster House Museum.
Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 7:55 AM CDT
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GUTTENBERG, Iowa (KCRG) - The Mississippi River plays an important role to Guttenberg, from a past of industry, to a future of river recreation. It’s what brings people to the town to visit, and inspires others to move there.

Ray Black, at the Lockmaster House Museum, was born the same year construction started on Lock and Dam 10 in Guttenberg. It cuts right across the Mississippi. Right next to it on shore is the last Lockmaster House on the Upper Mississippi River to be in its original location.

“When they built the lock and dam system in the 30s, to facilitate the nine-foot deep shipping channel on the upper Mississippi, they built two houses like this one, one for the lockmaster and one for the assistant lockmaster,” Black said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers renovated the house just this year. It combines history from the river and the town.

Nearby down the river is the Guttenberg Aquarium.

“When the lock and dams were built this was put in as a mitigation, there were sportsman that were worried about what it would do for the fish so this became a hatchery to supply fish back to the river,” said Kevin Hanson, DNR natural resource technician. Now, people can enjoy the aquarium.

“We’ve been here over 80 years,” he said. “It’s kind of neat in our guest book, to read that people have come here when they were kids, and now they’re bringing their grandkids here.”

All the fish at the aquarium are native to the Mississippi and collected earlier this year near the town. It’s open seven days a week, for free.

“We’re very lucky to live along such a rich resource and to see so many fish,” Hanson said. “It’s such a beautiful view, but a lot of people don’t get to see what’s underneath the surface, so here’s your chance to kind of peak underneath the water.”

It shows there’s much more to the Mississippi than a picturesque scene.

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