Chain Lake Prison Farm

Before            Dredging Chain Lake  - 1917            After


In 1917 the Chain Lake located in the southeast corner of Allison Township, sections 23 and 26, was drained and converted into farm land.  Following the draining of the lake, the State of Iowa used the farm land to grow potatoes for Iowa State institutions.  Large crews of prisoners from Fort Madison were brought there to labor in the potato fields.  The Chain Lake Prison Farm had 50 to 60 prisoners at a time.  Henry Hintz of Harris was the supervisor on the farm until he was killed in a boating accident on Lake Okoboji in 1929.  Paul Seely, Henry's son in law took over until the operation ceased in the early 1930's.  The land was rented for several years and then later sold.


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