MUSCATINE, Iowa (KWQC) — Founded in 1908. It became a place where scientists from all over the world came to do research. Today, the Fairport Fish Hatchery in Muscatine County remains a well-managed facility operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The reservoir on the property was dug by a mule team around 1910. Originally, there were five homes on the property. A research laboratory was equipped with dormitories.
Melanie Harkness says the pearl button industry took its a toll on mussel population in the Mississippi River. Mussel shells needed protection from over harvest. Those shells were used in the manufacture of buttons.
Eventually Fairport became a full -fledged fish hatchery. It was used for fresh water mussel research. Today, the hatchery raises Walleye, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and other fish that are stocked in ponds, streams, and lakes in Iowa.
During World War Two, the hatchery also housed German Prisoners of War. They lived on the property for about six months. They helped with the harvest at the Heinz Plant. Filling a need.
These days, the University of Iowa tests water quality on the river. It is, indeed, quite the fish story!