Carter Lake is the only city in Iowa located west of the Missouri River. This is due to a flood that occurred in March 1877, which redirected the course of the river 1.25 miles to the southeast. The remnants of the old river course, which were called Saratoga Bend, became Carter Lake, for which the town is named today.
Soon after the formation of the lake, the site became a flourishing recreational area. It included, a boathouse at the foot of Locust street, hotels and club houses were numerous and the lake was the scene of many a pleasant rowing and fishing party.
Today Carter Lake is incorporated as its own municipality with a population of approximately 3200. The lake is known for great fishing and boating, and attracts visitors from all over Iowa and Nebraska.