Keokuk is a city in Lee County, Iowa, United States. The population was 11,427 at the 2000 census. The city is named after Sauk Chief Keokuk, who is buried in Rand Park. It is located in the extreme southeast corner of Iowa where the Des Moines River meets with the Mississippi. It is located at the junction of US Highways 61, 136 and 218. Just across the river are the small towns of Hamilton and Warsaw, Illinois, and Alexandria, Missouri. The tourist destination of Nauvoo, Illinois, IL is located just minutes across the river and many tourists seek accommodations in Keokuk, since hotels in Nauvoo are often booked all through summer, and there are many hotels in Keokuk.
The town is the birth place of the famous American film actor Conrad Nagel, who was born here in 1897. Former NASCAR driver Dick Hutcherson was from Keokuk, as was United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Freeman Miller and gossip columnist Elsa Maxwell. In 1885 Bud Fowler became one of the earliest African Americans to play for an integrated professional baseball team when he played second base for Keokuk's team in the Western League, an upper level minor league. At the time Keokuk's population was more than ten percent African American due to the migration of former slaves during and after the Civil War. Roger Maris played for the Keokuk minor league team in 1954.
In an episode of The Simpsons, Krusty the Klown mentioned this town, along with Walla Walla, Cucamonga, and Seattle, as funny place names. It was also mentioned in an episode of Nickelodeon's All Grown Up in which a class project involved family trees with ancestors originating in Keokuk as well as an episode of M*A*S*H in a story line involving Radar O'Reilly. The town was also mentioned in one of W. C. Fields films and was also used in a joke on Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show.
The only hydroelectric plant on the Mississippi is located here. The locks and dam along with the hydroelectric power plant was built in 1913 and still uses most of the original equipment. It is part of the Keokuk Lock & Dam, both of which are visible from a park at the foot of the commercial district.
The Keokuk National Cemetery is located here and many Civil War soldiers are buried there.
A few miles north of Keokuk is the Galland School, a replica of the first schoolhouse in Iowa.
The tap water produced for the city at the Keokuk Waterworks Plant has been awarded the "Best Tasting Water In Iowa" by the Iowa Water Council.
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