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counties a distance of nearly three hundred miles to its confluence with the Missouri near the northwestern corner of Harrison county. With its tributaries it drains not less than five thousand square miles. Boyer river is the next stream of considerable size below the Little Sioux. It rises in Sac county and flows southwest to the Missouri, in Pottawattomie county. Its entire length is about one hundred and fifty miles, and drains not less than two thousand square miles of territory. It is a small stream, meandering through a rich and lovely valley. Going down the Missouri, and passing severál small streams, which have not been dignified with the name of rivers, we come to the Nishnabotna, which empties into the Missouri some twenty miles below the southwest corner of the state. It has three principal branches, with an aggregate length of three hundred and fifty miles. These streams drain about five thousand square miles of southwestern Iowa. They flow through valleys of unsurpassed beauty and fertility, and furnish good water power at various points, though in this respect they are not equal to the streams in the northeastern portion of the state.
The southern portion of the state is drained by several streams that flow into the Missouri river, in the state of Missouri. The most important of these are Chariton, Grand, Platte, One Hun. dred and Two, and the three Nodaways — East, West and Middle. All of these afford water power for machinery, and present splendid valleys of rich farming lands.
These few general remarks concerning the rivers must suffice. Our space will admit only of a mention of the streams that have been designated as rivers, but there are many other streams of great importance and value to different portions of the state, draining the country, furnishing mill sites, and adding to the variety and beauty of the scenery. So admirable is the natural drainage of almost the entire state, that the farmer who has not a stream of living water on his premises is an exception to the general rule.
Let us next look at the lakes. In some of the northern portions of Iowa there are many small and beautiful lakes. They, for the most part, belong to that system of lakes stretching into Minnesota, and some of them present many interesting features.
Among the most noted of the lakes of northern Iowa, are the following: Clear lake, in Cerro Gordo county; Rice lake, Silver lake and Bright's lake, in Worth county ; Crystal lake, Eagle lake, lake Edward and Twin lakes, in Ilancock county ; Owl lake, in Humboldt county ; lake Gertrude, lake Cornelia, Elm lake and Wall lake, in Wright county; lake Caro, in Hamilton county; Twin glakes, in Calhoun county; Wall lake, in Sac county; Swan lake, in Emmet county ; Storm lake, in Buena Vista county, and Okoboji and Spirit lakes, in Dickinson county. Nearly all these are deep and clear, abounding in many excellent varieties of fish, which are caught abundantly by the settlers at all proper seasons of the year. The name “Wall lake," applied to several of these bodies of water, is derived from the fact that a line or ridge of boulders extends around them, giving them somewhat the appearance of having been walled. Most of them exhibit the same appearance in this respect to a greater or less extent Lake Okoboji, Spirit lake, Storm lake and Clear lake are the largest of the northern Iowa lakes. All of them, except Storm lake, have fine bodies of timber on their borders. Lake Okoboji is about fifteen miles long, and from a quarter of a mile to two miles wide. Spirit lake, just north of it, embraces about ten square miles, the northern border extending to the Minnesota line Storm lake is in size about three miles east and west by two north and south. Clear lake is about seven miles long by two miles wide. The dry rolling land usually extends up to the borders of the lakes, making them delightful resorts for excursion or fishing parties, and they are now attracting attention as places of resort, on account of the beauty of their natural scenery, as well as the inducements which they afford to hunting and fishing parties.
The alternating patches of timber and broad prairie render Iowa distinguishable. Of course the prairies constitute most of the surface. It is said that nine-tenths of the surface is prairie. The timber is generally found in heavy bodies skirting the streams, but there are also many isolated groves standing, like islands in the sea, far out on the prairies. The eastern half of the state contains a larger proportion of timber than the western. The following are the leading varieties of timber: white, black and burr oak, black walnut, butternut, hickory, bard and soft maple, cherry, red and white elm, ash, linn, hackberry, birch, honey locust, cottonwood and quaking asp. A few sycamore trees are found in certain localities along the streams. Groves of red cedar also prevail, especially along Iowa and Cedar rivers, and a few isolated pine trees are scattered along the bluffs of some of the streams in the northern part of the state. Very many kinds of timber have been found to grow rapidly when transplanted upon the prairies, or when propagated from the planting of seeds.
Prominent among the mineral interests of Iowa are her vast coal deposits. "In some unknown age of the past, long before the history of our race began, nature, by some wise process, made a bountiful provision for the time when, in the order of things, it should become necessary for civilized man to take possession of the broad, rich prairies. As an equivalent for the lack of trees, she quietly stored away beneath the soil those wonderful carboriferous treasures for the use and comfort of man at the proper time. The increased demand for coal has, in many portions of the state, led to improved methods of mining, so that in many counties, the business is becoming a lucrative and important one, especially where railroads furnish the means of transportation. The coal field of the state embraces an area of over 20,000 square miles, and coal is successfully mined in over thirty counties, embracing a territory larger than the state of Massachusetts." Within the last year or two, many discoveries of new deposits have been made, and counties not previously numbered among the coal counties of the state, are now yielding rich returns to the miner. A vein of coal of excellent quality, seven feet in thickness, has been opened, and is now being successfully worked, about five miles southeast of Fort Dodge, in Webster county. Large quantities of coal are shipped from that point to Dubuque and the towns along the line of the Dubuque and Sioux City Railroad. Three or four years ago, it was barely known that some coal existed in Boone county, as indicated by exposures along the Des Moines river, but it is only within the last two years that the coal mines of Moingona have furnished the vast supplies shipped along the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, both east
and west. The great productive coal field of Iowa is embraced chiefly within the valley of the Des Moines river and its tributaries, extending up the valley from Lee county nearly to the north line of Webster county. Within the coal field embraced by this valley, deep mining is nowhere necessary. The Des Moines and its large tributaries have generally cut their channels down through all the coal measure strata.
The coal of Iowa is of the class known as bituminous, and is equal in quality and value to coal of the same class in other parts of the world. The veins which have so far been worked are from three to eight feet in thickness, but it is not necessary to dig from one thousand to two thousand feet to reach the coal, as miners are obliged to do in some countres. But little coal has in this state been raised from a depth greater than one hundred feet.
Prof. Gustavus flinrich of the state university, who also officiated as state chemist in the prosecution of the recent geological survey, gives an analysis showing the comparative value of Iowa coal with that of other countries. The following is from a table prepared by him — 100 representing the combustible:
In this table the excess of the equivalent above 100, expresses the amount of impurities (ashes and moisture) in the coal. The analysis shows that the average Iowa coals contain only ten parts of impurities for one hundred parts of combustible (carbon and bitumen), being the purest of all the samples analyzed, except the anthracite from Pennsylvania.
The peat deposits have also proved to be extensive and valuable. These have only been known to exist for the past five or
In 1866, Dr. White, the state geologist, made careful observations in some of the counties, where it was supposed to
exist. Other official examinations followed, and now it is esti. mated that the state contains thousands of acres of good peat lands. The depth of the beds is from four to ten feet, and the quality is but little, if any, inferior to that of Ireland. As yet, but little use has been made of it as a fuel, but when it is considered that it lies wholly beyond the coal field, in a sparsely timbered region of the state, its prospective value is regarded as very great. Dr. White estimates that 160 acres of peat, four feet deep, will supply two hundred and thirteen families with fuel for upwards of twenty-five years. It must not be inferred that the presence of these peat beds in that part of the state is in any degree prejudicial to health, for such is not the case.
The dry, rolling prairie land usually comes up to the very border of the peat marsh, and the winds, or breezes, which prevail through the summer season, do not allow water to become stagnant. Nature seems to have designed these peat deposits to supply the deficiency of other material for fuel. The penetration of this portion of the state by railroads, and the rapid growth of timber may leave a resort to peat for fuel as a matter of choice, and not of necessity. It therefore rernains to be seen of what economic value in the future the peat beds of Iowa may be. Peat has also been found in Muscatine, Linn, Clinton, and other eastern and southern counties of the state, but the fertile region of northern Iowa, least favored with other kinds of fuel, is peculiarly the peat region of the state.
The lead mines have also attracted attention for the past forty years. From four to six million pounds of ore have been smelted annually at the Dubuque mines, yielding from 68 to 70 per cent. of lead. So far as known, the lead deposits of Iowa that may be profitably worked, are confined to a belt of four or five miles in width along the Mississippi above and below the city of Dubuque. Iron, copper, and zinc have been found in limited quantities in different parts of the state - the last named metal being chiefly associated with the lead deposits. Good material for the manufacture of quicklime is found in abundance in nearly all parts of the state. Even in the northwestern counties, where there are but few exposures of rock "in place,” limestone is found among
the boulders scattered over the prairies and about the lakes. So