Winneshiek County Development and Tourism recently contributed $1,000 to the Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission for the Dam Gate Outdoor Industrial Sculpture Exhibit at the Trout Run Park in Decorah.

Stephanie Fromm, Executive Director for Winneshiek County Development and Tourism, stated “WCDT is very excited about the new exhibit and we look forward to a beautiful piece of history to be on display near Highway 9 and along the Trout Run Trail.” 

(In accompanying photo) County Development and Tourism Executive Director Stephanie Fromm presents a check to the Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission chair Steve Johnson, as WCHPC members Roger Bergan, Kim Glock, LaVonne Sharp, Ferneva Brimacomb, Ashley Christensen, Elizabeth Lorentzen and David Wadsworth look on.)

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. 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. 

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.The common goal 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.

The Winneshiek County Historic Preservation Commission is a county organization created to promote the educational, cultural, economic and general welfare of the public through the recognition, enhancement and perpetuation of sites and districts of historical and cultural significance. Formed in August of 1985, it is one of the earliest established historic preservation commissions in Iowa.