Center Street Dam

River/Stream: Des Moines River

Location: Des Moines, Polk County
        Latitude: 41.5916856185092
        Longitude: -93.6187043360286
        Click here to view an aerial map of the dam.

Built: rebuilt 1917

Click here to enlarge image

View of dam from below on the east bank.

Owner: City of Des Moines

Height: 15 ft.

Length: 384 ft.

Hazards: drownings, urban, portage, visibility

Warning Signs: City has worked to improve signage and cabling.

Portage: none. Take out at Prospect Park ramp and then drive around to Harriett Street Access just east of SE 14th Street.

Comments: cabling above dam has been utilized by power boaters. Paddle craft are not allowed (subject to citation or prosecution) in the area between the Center Street and Scott Street dams. Fishing in this area has also been restricted.

Fatalities 12

  • January 10, 2015, Ayawk William, jumped off bridge above the dam
  • June 11, 2011, Dax Bell, swam into boil below the dam
  • June 30, 2009, boater Alan Neely, dramatic video of wife's rescure
  • July, 1996, boater Mark Fetters
  • May 10, 1982, Larry Clark, rafting
  • May 30, 1960, Elaine Long, boating (self rescue cables knocked out by spring floods)
  • July 4, 1935, William Halloran & Collins Carson, rowboat swept over dam
  • June 15, 1908, Edwin Ebersole & William Jennings, boat swept over dam
  • June 17, 1902, Eugene Tiernan, fell in while attempting to pull out driftwood near powerhouse
  • April 28, 1900, Johnny Lyons, attempted to walk across the dam
Click here to enlarge image

View of dam horizon line from upstream on the east bank.