Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission has received a $500 grant from MiEnergy Cooperative for the Dam Gate Outdoor Industrial Sculpture Exhibit at the Trout Run Park in Decorah.
The grant money came from the cooperative's customers who donated by rounding up their electric bill payments.
The project's goal is to permanently install the last remaining dam gate of historic Lower Dam and create an interpretive marker for public education. The commission's intent is to tell the story regarding the significance of small community-driven hydropower dams that once dotted the rural landscape of Northeast Iowa and of their important role in our country's development.
In January of 2020, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reached out to the Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission requesting the commission's involvement in preserving the last dam gate from the Upper Iowa River Lower Dam site from being turned into scrap metal. This early hydroelectric dam provided energy to numerous communities in Northeast Iowa. The Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission is collaborating with Decorah Parks and Recreation, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Winneshiek County Historical Society in creating an outdoor industrial sculpture exhibit at Trout Run Park in Decorah.