Wapsipinicon River

The Wapsipinicon River flows through the heart of Independence. Beginning in the Northern most part of Iowa and eventually flowing into the Mississippi River, the legend of the rivers name is a love story similar to that of Romeo and Juliet.

Namesake History
Wapsi was a young Indian brave and Pinicon was a beautiful Indian maiden. Wapsi was one of the warlike Sioux and Pinicon belonged to the equally hostile tribe of Sac. As fate wiled it, they met and fell in love but strong objections (from both tribes) deterred them from expressing their love to each other. Their love remained strong and the lovers found means of communicating their passion and they decided one evening to elope. On the very evening they were preparing to leave, Pinicon's father returned from a hunt and found the two together. Wapsi fled and Pinicon waited until her father fell fast asleep and she slipped away into the night to find her lover.

Guided by the October moon, the two reunited and Wapsi exclaimed, "Not even death shall ever part us more. Let us fly to my northern home, where parental tyranny can never separate us and we can dwell in peace and harmony until the Great Spirit, 'Gitchie Manitou', calls us." Just then, they heard footsteps in the distance and realized that Pinicon's father and 3 braves were approaching. They ran in desperate flight away from their chasers. Once they reached the river bank, there was no time for reconsideration as the murmuring river was singing their funeral chant. Without a word, the devoted lovers clasped in each other's arms and plunged into the river. The enraged father reached the bank only to behold them struggling in the water, sinking and rising and with one last gasp sinking.

Present Day
Today, the Wapsipinicon flows through Independence and is highlighted by the new River Walk Parks area. Complete with a trail, amphitheater and sand volleyball courts, the River Walk Parks has become a beautiful addition and source of recreation for the community. It also houses the City's largest event, the Independence Day Celebration, which is held over the 4th of July Weekend.
Wapsipinicon River looking toward the Wapsipinicon Mill and Veterans Park