The New International Encyclopædia/Des Moines River
DES MOINES RIVER. The most important river of Iowa. It is formed by the meeting of the east and west forks of the Des Moines in Humboldt County, Iowa. The east fork is the outlet of Okamanpadu Lake, in Emmet County, Iowa; the west fork flows from a chain of lakes among which is Lake Heron, in Jackson County, Minn. (Map: Iowa, D 3). The Des Moines flows southeasterly across Iowa, and empties into the Mississippi River (q.v.) three miles below Keokuk. It is 550 miles long, drains an area of 14,500 square miles, and is navigable for nearly 100 miles. From Farmington to its mouth it falls 48 feet, or 13 feet per mile. The chief tributary is the Coon River, which joins it from the west at Des Moines. The chief cities along its banks are Ottumwa, Des Moines, and Fort Dodge. Through Lee County it flows in a narrow, gorge-like valley noted for scenery.