“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Amana in Iowa County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Dredging Amana's Millrace

Dredging Amana's Millrace Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 14, 2011
1. Dredging Amana's Millrace Marker
Inscription.  The Amana Millrace begins 6.5 miles west of here at the Iowa River. Workers from the seven Amana villages first began construction in 1865 using hand tools and oxen-drawn scrapers and wagons. The earthen levees were reinforced with wood posts and fascines, bundles of sticks and branches bound tightly together. Progress on the canal was slow until the community purchased a stream (sic) powered dredge to complete the project. Water first flowed through the turbines in Amana in 1869

as difficult as its construction was, maintaining the millrace has proven to be just as challenging. Siltation in the canal has been a constant problem. In the 19th and early 20th centuries dredge boats were used to keep the channel flowing. Each year the dredge boat and its crew would work their way upstream from here. The four-man crew lived on the boat. The kitchen houses in the village closest to where the dredge was working provided meals for the crew. Colony folklore has it that the canal is deepest near Middle Amana because the dredge boat crew was fond of Middle Amana cooking and lingered there.

Dredging the canal required that each bridge over the millrace

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be dismantled and reassembled as the dredge passed. In winter the dredge was moored just upstream from this location. In the 1920s the dredge boats were replaced with gasoline powered draglines that traveled along the levees.

The millrace dredge working near the village of Amana ca 1920. Photo courtesy of the Amana Heritage Society.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1865.
Location. 41° 47.783′ N, 91° 51.916′ W. Marker is in Amana, Iowa, in Iowa County. Marker is on 48th Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Amana IA 52203, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Water Power for Amana's Mills (a few steps from this marker); Amana Woolen Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Amana History (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wohn Haus (approx. 0.3 miles away); Ackermann Residence (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wash House and Woodshed (approx. 0.4 miles away); Amana General Store (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Wickery (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amana.

Amana's Millrace image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Beverly Pfingsten, June 14, 2011
2. Amana's Millrace
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 14, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 814 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 14, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Jun. 15, 2024