Vote for Motor Mill to be Travel Iowa’s Cover Photo!

Motor Mill, Iowa Travel Guide Cover UPDATE:  The winner of our Iowa Travel Guide Cover Contest was Jessica Rilling of Cedar Rapids. The photo is of a kayaker on the Turkey River near our Motor Mill Historic Site. Thanks to all who submitted, voted and shared!


Travel Iowa is hosting a Facebook vote for their next cover photo. They received over 600 entries for the cover contest and have narrowed it down to 3 finalists. One is a photo from Okoboji, one is a photo at Maquoketa Caves and one is a photo of a kayaker on the Turkey River just in front of Motor Mill.

So here’s the deal with the voting:

Voting is open and goes through February 1.
Each person can vote once per day. On February 4 the cover with the most votes will be announced on Travel Iowa’s Facebook page and declared the winner. Here is the shareable link that you can post on Facebook and Twitter to encourage your networks to vote: 

The only way to vote is on Facebook and it is moderately annoying to go through the process since you must first “Like” Travel Iowa and then you must accept a Facebook application to allow for polling. (Travel Iowa has assured that the polling application is secure as well as relatively easy to remove the application once the voting is over.) When you have successfully voted there will be a small box that says “you voted” and it will post to your wall. (Sidenote: There is an option when this box pops up to select a custom audience – just like any wall post – so folks can make it private – aka “only me” – if they prefer)

Please pass along this good news and encourage your networks to support the Turkey River photo. It would be pretty cool to get Motor Mill on the cover. WhooHoo! And feel free to forward this.

Motor Mill Bridge is in place

After more than 21 years, a bridge again crosses the Turkey River at Motor Mill. Crews from Minnowa Construction used large cranes to lift the two spans of the steel bridge into place on Tuesday, November 20. The structure is designed to closely resemble the historic, 1895 bridge that was destroyed by the floods of 1991 and 2008.

The new spans sit atop a center pier and abutments, which were refurbished and raised about four feet to avoid future flooding. Minnowa employees will add a wooden plank deck, guardrails, and other finishing touches in the next few days.

The Motor Mill Foundation and the Clayton County Conservation Board, which manages the Motor Mill Historic Site, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the bridge on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 11 a.m. The first person to cross the bridge will be the winner of a raffle, which closes at noon on Dec. 7.

The Motor Mill Foundation is continuing a fund drive to pay for the $1 million bridge project. The Foundation needs to raise about $90,000 to supplement a $432,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), $463,000 from Iowa’s Resources Enhancement and Protection program (REAP), $20,000 from Upper Mississippi Gaming, $33,000 from Iowa Great Places, and $11,000 from Clayton County Secondary Roads.

The new bridge will be open to vehicles, with some weight and/or length restrictions. It should improve access to Motor Mill, which since 1991 has been reachable only via six miles of gravel on Grape and Galaxy Roads. The new Turkey River crossing shortens the gravel to just two miles, via Hazel and Galaxy Roads from Grandview Road at Communia.

The County Conservation Board and the Motor Mill Foundation are continuing restoration and development of the Motor Mill site. Future plans call for installing new windows in the Cooperage, replacing roofs on the Cooperage and Ice House, renovations to improve visitor access to the inside of the Mill, repairs of flood damage to the Inn and Stable, removal of silt from the basement of the Mill, and building a levee to prevent future flooding. Discussions are under way with landowners to allow development of a trail along the Turkey River between Motor and Elkader.

For details of a raffle to choose the first person to cross the bridge, call the Conservation Board at 563-245-1516.