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Please view our Virtual Tour of these fine home and buildings. All of them are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Please click each image for a high quality version of the image to be displayed. All photos were taken by Internet Solutions, Inc. and we maintain the copyright to them. With the exception of The Grand Anne who graciously supplied us with one.

Keokuk's early residents have included civil war heroes, pioneers in the medical field, authors, playwrights, musicians, and many, many others. The most obvious record of Keokuk's past is the in the homes and mansions perched on the bluffs high above the river. Even today each facade reflects signs of the refined wealth so evident in the mid to late 1800's. With Keokuk's river access, stories still circulate concerning the boatloads of stained glass, furniture, and chandeliers that were shipped here from the East Coast as the finishing touches for the opulent Victorian homes.

Keokuk’s most recent addition to the National Register of Historic Places (1997) is the Keokuk National Cemetery. The cemetery is located at 1701 J. Street. It is one of 12 original national cemeteries designated by the U.S. Congress. During the Civil War, the presence of the College of Physicians and Surgeons caused the federal government to locate a military hospital in Estes House (formerly at 500 Main Street), and four other sites in Keokuk. The sick and wounded were transported to the hospitals in Keokuk by riverboats on the Mississippi River. Many soldiers, from the North and South, died at the hospitals in Keokuk during the Civil War, and were buried in what became Iowa’s only National Cemetery. The cemetery is currently the final resting place for the remains of over 4,000 American soldiers. It is open seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
William McGavic, owner of a thriving lumber yard, built the back section of his home at 116 Concert Street in 1847. In 1852 he added the front section and embossed the date above the front door. This home was built using slave labor, and still possesses a passageway used before and during the Civil War as a hiding place for runaway slaves using the Underground Railway to escape to the North.
McGavic built the tower so he could enjoy a view of his boats coming up the river. The tower, and the hill on which All Saints Church stands (310 South 9th), are the two highest points in Keokuk. During the Civil War they were used as signal towers. The home was converted to a rooming house during the depression and served as a home to many of Keokuk’s minor league baseball team members, including Roger Maris and Tim McCarver. In 1971 Elizabeth Clark purchased the home and renovated it to its present condition. Ms. Clark resides here today and operates a gourmet restaurant and cooking school from the premises. Reservations for private dinners and parties can be made by contacting her.

The George M. Verity River Museum is located in Victory Park on the riverfront. The paddle boat was built in Dubuque, Iowa by the U.S. Government to revive river transportation and move barges from St Louis to St. Paul. It was then known as the S.S. Thorpe.
Armco Steel Corporation bought the boat in 1940 and put it into service on the Ohio River, renaming it after the founder of their company, George M. Verity. The George M. Verity was donated to the City of Keokuk in 1961 after being retired from service. It is open April 1-October 31, 9 A.M.-5 P.M., seven days a week, including holidays. To learn more, write for a free brochure at PO Box 400, Keokuk, IA 52632-0400, or call (319) 524-4765.

226 Morgan Street, a seventeen room house, was the former home of Frank J. Weess, constructed from 1880-1881. The property contained a large carriage house and stables and was terraced by a landscape artist. This is the private residence of Mr. & Mrs. Tom Seabold, who also operate their business, Artworks, from the home. Artworks deals in fine arts materials, craft supplies, custom framing, and features a Gallery of Iowa Artists. The sign on the door will indicate if the shop is open.

318 North 5th Street, The Miller House Museum, is owned and operated by the Lee County Historical Society. The home was built in 1859 at a cost of $13,000 by Samuel F. Miller, who was appointed to the United States Supreme Court by Abraham Lincoln in 1862. It is open Thursday through Sunday, 1:00-4:00 P.M., Memorial Day to Labor Day. For a special appointment or tour call Keokuk Convention and Tourism Bureau at (319) 524-5055. Admission is one dollar for adults, and fifty cents for children.

At 7th and Blondeau Streets is the Lee County Court House, built in 1889 at a cost of $146,000. It was built for use as a U.S. District Court House and Post Office.

St. John’s Episcopal Church, at 405 Concert Street, was organized April 20, 1850, by the Rt. Rev. Jackson Kemper, Missionary Bishop of the Northwest. The first rector was the Rev. Otis Hacket, 1850-53. The first church building was consecrated in 1852, and construction began on the present building in 1884. Consecration was in 1891, and the present parish house added in 1895. St. John’s is noted for its beautiful stained glass windows executed by Mayer of Munich Glass Company.The Lamb Studio of New Jersey, Tiffany and Company of New York, and others. Appointments may be made through the church office, 524-4672, to tour the church and hear an informative talk on the beautiful gallery of stained glass windows.

Construction on U.S. Lock and Dam #19 began in 1910, and when completed in 1913, it was the largest electricity generating plant in the world. Lock 19 is the largest lock on the Mississippi River. Free tours are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day, or by appointment.
The area is open 24 hours a day for viewing of river traffic. Call (319) 524-6363 for tour information. The lock and dam, as well as the rest of the river, can be viewed from a distance on the Observation Deck of the old bridge. The Observation Deck provides a beautiful, scenic view of the riverfront.

401 Main Street was built in 1912-1913. It is currently the Pierce Building and houses businesses, apartments, and hotel rooms. Formerly the Hotel Iowa, it was built by the same company that built the lock and dam to accommodate "gawkers" who came to town to view the building of the dam.

511 North 3rd was the home of General William Worth Belknap, a Civil War General. Brevet Major-General Belknap participated in many major battles during the Civil War including Shiloh, Corinth, and the Vicksburg and Atlanta Campaigns.
During the war his friendship with General U.S. Grant grew, and Grant later appointed him to serve as Secretary of War in his presidential cabinet. Belknap’s next door neighbor and law partner was Ralph P. Lowe, who later served as Governor of Iowa. In 1857 Belknap was elected to serve in the Iowa Legislature.

220 North 4th was built by Enos H. Harrison in 1857. Harrison was a successful businessman from Elizabeth, New Jersey and was instrumental in the establishment of the Iowa State Bank and served as its first president.
He was very active in Keokuk’s and Iowa’s early development in areas such as the waterworks, an insurance company, and the Unitarian Church. This Second Empire style house (developed in Paris, France) was probably the first example of a Mansard roof in Iowa. The home’s unique staircase is reported to be one of seven of its type in the country. The house is reported to be inhabited by a friendly ghost, heard and seen by numerous residents.

310 South 9th, All Saints Parish, was built in 1881, still holds masses today. It is one of the two highest spots in Keokuk, and was used as a signal tower during the Civil War.

816 Grand Avenue was built in 1897 for Clyde Royal Joy in the Queen Anne Revival style. Joy was once the controlling stockholder of two businesses and the national director of the Y.M.C.A. This home is now The Grand Anne Bed and Breakfast.

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