Why is this small Iowa town completely cut off from the rest of the state? If you're thinking it was a surveying mistake made by mapmakers, you'd be wrong. As it turns out, mother nature made this happen nearly 150 years ago.

Iowa is the only state in the entire U.S. that has natural borders on both its east and west sides, with the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, respectfully. Due to natural erosion and changing currents, these borders can change slightly over the years. However, after a historic flood hit this small town, it found itself completely surrounded by another state entirely.

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Welcome to Cater Lake, Iowa

Credit: Google Earth
Credit: Google Earth

Carter Lake has one of the most interesting stories in Iowa History, as it once was on the east side of the Missouri River, but since 1877 it's been on the river's west side and nearly completely surrounded by the city of Omaha, Nebraska. In fact, Carter Lake is the only part of Iowa that is located west of the Missouri River.

Carter Lake, IA is a unique city because it is the only city in Iowa located west of the Missouri River. In March of 1877, there was a major flood that changed the flow of the Missouri River, thus creating an oxbow lake. This lake was called Carter Lake, which is how the town got its name.

Since state boundaries usually follow the general course of a river, there was a dispute for some time whether Carter Lake should belong to Iowa or Nebraska. In 1892, the Supreme Court ruled that Carter Lake belonged to Iowa. However, Carter Lake did not become its own municipality until 1930 when it successfully seceded from Council Bluffs.

-Carter Lake Website

These Days, Carter Lake has become one of the most popular destinations in the region for fishing, boating, and all kinds of water activities.


You can learn more about Carter Lake, its history, and things to do while you're there, at the city's website.

Story Source: Carter Lake Website

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