Lacey-Keosauqua State Park is one of the largest and most picturesque of Iowa state parks and recreation areas. The park's 1,653 acres of hills, bluffs and valleys wind along the Des Moines River in Van Buren County.
During the middle of the 19th century, the great Mormon trek westward across Iowa occurred. Ely Ford, now the site of a beautiful picnic area, was a river crossing point. It is now a component of the Mormon Pioneer Trail.
Originally, the park was named "Big Bend," but when it was dedicated in 1921, a more colorful name was sought. For the next five years, it was called Keosauqua, a Native American term meaning "the stream bearing a floating mass of snow, slush, or ice." In 1926, the name was changed to Lacey-Keosauqua in honor of Major John Fletcher Lacey who fought in the Civil War, was elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 1868, and by 1888, was a member of Congress. Major Lacey campaigned for conservation legislation long before Teddy Roosevelt and was instrumental in the establishment of a state park system in Iowa.