From time to time we hear someone describe Mabrey Lane together Mayberry Lane, or Mabrey Park as Mayberry Park. Both the Park and also the roadway are named after a previous Mayor, Wilson E. Mabrey. Mr. Mabrey was mayor of Carter Lake native April 1934 to January 1974. He invested forty year of his life functioning for the community and also its citizens. There room so many stories and also memories that this guy that aided make Carter Lake the City the it is today. That is an honor to have actually a park and also a street named after a historic figure. For this reason please assist us education those the are brand-new to the community or those the don’t remember or know of Wilson Mabrey and also his commitment come our community. Respect him and his devotion to our city by referring to Mabrey Lane and Mabrey Park.

You are watching: What river separated council bluffs, iowa from omaha, nebraska?


Watson Park named after previous city attorney De Vere Watson. Mabrey Park is called after previous mayor of fourty years - Wilson Mabrey. Mabrey Park is also known together Fireman's Park since they helped put the park together. Rosenbaugh Park is named after Wanda Rosenbaugh and her husband Merlyn Rosenbaugh. Wanda had several functions while in office. Hamilton Sports facility is called after previous parks manager Claude Hamilton. Ortiz Park is called after previous city the supervisory board member who helped in incorporating Carter Lake as an Iowa city.Carter Lake's colorful, confuse historyBy john Schreier, writer for daily Nonpareiljschreier

CARTER LAKE – The area we know as Carter Lake was once referred to as Cut-Off Island – a fitting name for a location torn between two cities and two states, yet associated to neither.Iowa and Nebraska constantly combated for the city bordered by the brand-new oxbow lake after the Missouri River readjusted its course in 1877. However to the stranded ar on the west next of the river, no Council Bluffs nor Omaha want Carter Lake because that anything much more than its taxation revenue.

Residents of Carter Lake pleaded with leaders of both cities, yet neither expanded utilities and services right into what to be a literal and figurative island in the middle of everything.

Finally, in 1930, Carter Lake was incorporated as a city in the state that Iowa, a standing it has actually retained ever before since.

The city has appreciated a colorful, confusing history both before and also after its incorporation. Carter Lake’s legal status has run the gamut native secession native Council Bluffs to the subject of at least two supreme Court rulings. To nearby residents, the town served as everything from a family-friendly amusement park to among the Midwest’s biggest illegal gambling hotspots.

Now, Carter Lake market Russ Kramer is make the efforts to conference much more of his community’s story. Numerous of the original records relating to the city’s beforehand days were washed away in the flood of 1952, and much of what is known around that time comes from people’s memories.

“The totality town to be under three or four feet the water, and also any document records were shot,” said Kramer, a self-admitted “history nut” around his hometown due to the fact that 1961. “ … currently when you’re analysis the background on the website, you might find five different stories top top one topic.”

Carter Lake is frequently seen today as nothing more than a geographic outlier – one of many tiny pieces of floor tossed earlier and forth in between Iowa and also Nebraska through the Missouri River’s fickle flow. However that status fails to perform justice come what is known around the tug-of-war that led to its birth and also shaped that history.

Murky waters along the Missouri

As the so frequently did in the 1800s, the Missouri River changed its course throughout an ice jam in 1877 that dug a new river channel near Saratoga Bend. When the waters shifted, a crescent-shaped body of water referred to as Cut-Off Lake was every that remained of the river’s vault channel.

Alongside the lake, i beg your pardon still had the Missouri flow lapping into it indigenous the east, to be a small slice that land owned by council Bluffs resident cutting board Jefferis that had been on the Iowa next of the river before the flood.Nebraska developers eager to develop upon what they believed was Nebraska land in the late 1880s began constructing homes and also neighborhoods for employees in the nearby factories in phibìc Omaha and East Omaha.

“When the area was formed, they dubbed it eastern Omaha Island,” Kramer said. “They believed it was theirs.”

One of the plants was the Carter White Lead functions – which later advanced into netherlands Boy paint – owned by a man named Levi Carter.

The lake and also the city itself assumed the surname Carter Lake in 1909 after ~ his widow donated lot of their land along the shoreline to the city that Omaha. However, despite Carter’s influence, Kramer has actually yet to uncover a snapshot of Levi Carter, i m sorry is an essential to his wishes of honoring among the city’s beforehand industrialists.

“The method his surname is throughout this area,” Kramer said, “I’d love to have actually a copper of him what in town.”

Council Bluffs officials, however, experienced Omaha’s intrusion as a brazen effort to snatch land that rightfully belonged ~ above their taxes rolls. The ensuing legal fight over whether Iowa or Nebraska had jurisdiction end Cut-Off Island visited the can be fried Court.In the 1892 ruling, the court sided with Iowa top top the basis the state lines stay the same when a river avulsed or significantly altered, its path in 1877. Therefore, the land had never left Iowa, despite its position on the Nebraska side of the river.

However, The new York times predicted issues would linger with the murkiness the the ruling, reporting that the decision to be one “no one, not even the lawyers, has been able to understand.”

And, together the newspaper foresaw, that uncertainty was ripe for exploitation.

A get-away in the city

Throughout that existence, Carter Lake has actually been a recreational area – one escape qualified of providing a great time under the shadows of the Omaha skyline.

Two entertainment understand capitalized top top the 1877 flood in attempts come draw civilization to the Carter Lake shoreline: family members amusement parks follow me the beach and also illicit underground gambling operations attractive to the gray area the confusing legal jurisdictions.On the northern tip of Carter Lake to be Courtland Beach, a swimming hole turned right into an amusement park. Previous Pottawattamie county Historical culture President Ryan Roenfeld stated the park to be highlighted by one of the an initial roller coasters in the


“It usually gets overshadowed by Lake Manawa,” that said, “but the was big for its day.”

Other attractions in ~ Carter Lake’s most popular resort, which opened up in 1895, included a merry-go-round and also shows ranging from parachutists jumping indigenous hot-air balloons come mind readers.

However, Courtland Beach and the various other resorts would eventually fade, receding into history under pressure from brand-new outdoor parks. Remnants that its wood boardwalk are still occasionally uncovered in the lake.

What took control of entertainment next in Carter Lake to be a much less socially agree manner of recreation.

“It was really a no-man's land: Dogfighting, cockfighting, boxing matches,” Roenfeld said. “Some unsavory things went on there.”

What started with one man’s idea of structure a floating bar in the lake to flout regulations of both states eventually grew into a border city rife through vice: indigenous alcohol, specifically after Iowa repealed Prohibition prior to its western neighbor, to gambling of every sorts.

Not surprisingly, details the this shadowy underworld are, well, shadowy. Little an ext than rumors and memories tell this section of Carter Lake’s story.

“All type of branches walk off there,” Kramer said. “The study I’ve gained is sort of sketchy. The was type of a lawless area.”

Kramer claimed he’s heard the one enterprising gambling room owner who built his establishment on the state line, stood for by a stripe painted down the middle of the room, top top the west next of Carter Lake.

When Nebraska officials came to raid the building for illegal gambling, spotters would notify the players, who then thrust all the tables come the Iowa next of the room. If Iowa officials do an appearance, the tables would certainly all be on the Nebraska side before they arrived.

At the center of the Carter Lake’s notoriety was what Roenfeld called the “swanky” Chez Paree nightclub, which carried the glamour of gambling to Omaha’s doorstep. Rumors defined it as among the largest casinos in between Illinois and Nevada.

Although the Chez Paree was closed down in a 1949 sting versus illegal gambling, casinos returned to the area – this time, top top the east side of the Missouri flow – once Iowa legalized casino gambling 40 year later.

An island surrounding by everything

Growing in between the hubbub ~ above the shorelines and unclear state lines to be a small but durable community.

For plenty of years, the lake that surrounded the city was still fed ~ above one side by the Missouri River. Offered its proximity to the flow in those days and also its low-lying topography, Carter Lake submarine on a consistent basis.

Yet after every summer the high waters, the few hundred local occupants waded earlier into their city to recapture and rebuild the island.

“They were really a plucky type of people,” Roenfeld said.

However, in spite of being trapped in between two cities, citizens of Carter Lake were on an diverted island. The supervisory board Bluffs, which exercised jurisdiction over the area, wouldn’t extend the necessary utilities right into town during the 1920s.

Carter Lake residents ended up being livid with just how the city was exploited because that its tax dollars, payment the very same amount as a board of directors Bluffs resident without the comforts of running water and also electricity. The city attorney provided that Carter Lake was “cut turn off for all purpose other than that the collecting taxes.”

From that thrived the rumblings of Carter Lake’s secession from Iowa.

“When you’re in council Bluffs, you have lights, water and also a drain system,” Roenfeld said. “In Carter Lake, it’s 1920, and also you have actually a dust street that floods every year and also an outhouse – yet you pay the exact same taxes together someone in council Bluffs.”

The island at some point seceded indigenous Council Bluffs in 1927. Though secessionists in Carter Lake want to be soaked up by Omaha and into Nebraska, Omaha wouldn’t administer the services occupants needed.

Divorced native one city and also spurned through another, residents determined on another course that action: founding their own city.

And in march 1930, through a margin of 171 to 124, voters approved Carter Lake’s incorporation together a municipality in the state that Iowa, giving birth come the geographical oddity of one Iowa city now obtainable only by Nebraska roads.

Carter Lake’s ultimate statehood, however, would certainly not be put to bed the easily.

“Carter Lake was prefer a badminton birdie or tennis ball,” Kramer said. “Omaha wanted us, and Council Bluffs wanted us.”

Starting in the 1940s, numerous Nebraska lawmakers began to champion principles the reclamation the Carter Lake from Iowa together the city started to grow and also prosper – end the objections of the young municipality.

Although Nebraska’s attempts never ever materialized into a true threat, the Iowa Legislature voted in 1961 to keep Carter Lake in Iowa – a ar it never legally left, despite many attempts to lug it come Nebraska.

At home and at peace

Even in its reasonably brief 82-year background as an integrated municipality in Iowa, Carter Lake’s unique position ~ above Nebraska’s side of the flow has produced its same share the confusion.

Travelers heading indigenous Omaha come Eppley Airfield top top Abbott drive – Iowa Highway 165, the state’s shortest in ~ a half a mile in length – encounter “Welcome come Iowa!” signs between them and also Nebraska’s biggest airport.

Property owners on the northeast pointer of Carter Lake – currently a city of 3,785 – pay taxes to two states, as the state heat cuts through a grasp of backyards that back up to the lake.

But uneven so regularly in the history Kramer wishes to gather and expand, Carter Lake seems quite content v its present location.

See more: How Large Is A Quarter Acre Look Like? How Big Of A House Can I Build On

No much longer is Carter Lake cut off and also isolated between the city area’s primary cities of Omaha and also Council Bluffs. Rather, the ar enjoys the small, horseshoe-shaped niche the forged out of the uncertainty in between its root in Iowa and constant geographical pull toward Nebraska.