Lakeside Lab was founded in 1909 by Dr. Thomas Macbride and colleagues from the University of Iowa, for "the study of nature in nature." Ownership was held at first by a private stock company, the Lakeside Laboratory Association. In 1936 the Association deeded the station to the state of Iowa, "to be held in trust for the accommodation, promotion, support and maintenance of scientific studies and research."

A major construction program took place in the mid 1930s, when the Civilian Conservation Corps built five stone laboratories, four student cabins, a bathhouse, and other amenities. Additional buildings were added in the 1960s and 70s. The Waitt Building, opened in 1998, provided a modern water quality laboratory, additional classrooms, and staff offices.

In 2006 Lakeside was designated a Regents Resource Center, expanding both its audience and its mission. Today the Lab is a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can "study nature in nature."

Lakeside's early history was described in two fascinating articles in The Palimpsest 66:2 (March/April 1985). We thank the State Historical Society of Iowa for its permission to post that material here.

For an account of Lakeside's history from its founding to the present day, see The Iowa Lakeside Laboratory: A Century of Discovering the Nature of Nature by Michael J. Lannoo, published by the University of Iowa Press in 2012.

Down the Rabbit Hole: Bohumil Shimek and the onset of WW1

Professor Dodd and students

Professor Dodd and students doing fieldwork at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, West Lake Okoboji, 1960s

Steamer 'Okoboji'

Steamer 'Okoboji' docking at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, West Lake Okoboji, 1910s

Women on sailboat 'Falcon'

Women on sailboat 'Falcon' at Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, West Lake Okoboji, 1910s