Guide to Fort Madison Iowa: 5 Best Tourist Attractions

4 mins read

Fort Madison, established in 1808, is the first United States military post. Built-in the upper Mississippi region, Fort Madison Iowa was initially built to protect the trading post or government factory. These areas could exchange furs and lead to the exchange of manufactured goods. The fort made trading quickly peaceful as the Native American frontier was secured in that region.

Fort Madison Iowa

1. History Of Fort Madison Iowa

The fort did not stand untouched for too long. It was menaced by unfriendly Sauk, Fox, and Winnebago under the partial leadership noting Sauk warrior Black Hawk. Several incidents put a threat to it.

When Black Hawk and his allies besieged the fort, the post commander ordered the burning of the factory outside the fort. The decision was made in the hope that it would prevent the besiegers from doing so on a day when west winds might carry burning debris to endanger the post buildings. British agents wholly supported them.

2. Where Is Fort Madison in Iowa?

City of Fort Madison in Iowa, United States. It is also the Iowa county seat of Lee Country along with Keokuk. The Mississippi, the second-longest river, runs along the state’s southeast corner.

Location: 810 10th St Suite 1, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the location here

3. How To Reach Fort Madison Iowa?

3.1. Air Transportation

The best way to travel to Fort Madison Iowa is to reach the Cedar Rapids Airport Terminal, at the Western end of the city. Cedar rapids airport is just 103 miles from the Fort. You can easily reach the place sooner by taking a flight.

Location: Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

You can check out the map here.

Burlington (BRL) is the closest airport to Fort Madison Iowa, but there are better options to reach the place already mentioned above.

3.2. Railway Transportation

fort Madison iowa. NEW YORK CITY: Interior of an AMTRAK regional passenger car coach
By: LeeSnider/Depositphotos

Amtrak is the best railway facility in Iowa if you’re heading toward historic Fort Madison. Its daily Southwest Chief Passenger train makes its only Iowa stop in Fort Madison. It is efficient, quick, and the best rail facility available.

Location: Fort Madison, 810 10th St Suite 1, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here.

Alternative options include a bus, car, or even a bike. The bus ride will take 4 hours 5 minutes approximately but taking a car will reduce your time to 1 hour 36 minutes approximately. Car and bike rides will almost be the same with minimal differences in time, including lower consumption of the same for the latter.

Here is the official website of Fort Madison.

4. Top 5 Fort Madison Tourist Attractions

Here we’ve listed some of its most admired tourist attractions. Read on to know more.

4.1. Old Fort Madison: The Military Fort

Old Fort Madison is a replica of the first U.S. military fort in the upper Mississippi region. After the first battle of Black Hawk and his warriors against the U.S. troops in 1812, the government granted permission to preserve the history of Fort Madison Iowa, by granting permission to build a replica of the fort.

The fort stands along the river and has replicas of significant buildings near the actual site of the historic fort. Located in Riverview Park, Old Fort Madison is a living history demonstration.

Location: 716 Riverview Dr, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here

4.2. North Lee County Historical Society

North Lee County Historical Society is a non-profit corporation dedicated to well-preserved historic storefronts, including the preservation of artifacts, old photographs, and historic buildings. Dedicated and skilled volunteers operate the place. It is an excellent place to view trains from the pedestrian bridge presenting an aerial perspective. The new platform created is best for nighttime viewing.

The museum also offers tours displaying and curating the Old Lee County Jail and the Brush College. Brush College is a one-room schoolhouse to the north of the town. You can visit the museum whole year-round. The tours also provide tourist information for the city, state, and region.

Location: 814 10th St, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here

4.3. Sheaffer Pen Museum

Sheaffer pen museum provides a friendly and clean atmosphere with special events for tourists and locals visiting almost every month. Originally it was called the Sheaffer pen company, founded by Walter A. Sheaffer. Mister Sheaffer was an American inventor who developed the first commercially successful lever-filling fountain pen.

The company has now been turned into the Sheaffer pen museum, which is a non-profit organization maintaining the history of the company. The museum displays 20 antique Sheaffer pens along with the original Sheaffer machinery.

The machines have been automated to display the working of the machinery to the people visiting. They also have a big screen exhibiting old Sheaffer television ads and advertising of Sheaffer movies and videos of different events in the museum.

Location: 627 Ave G, Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here.

4.4. Santa Fe Depot Museum

shutterstock 780013507
Source: RaksyBH/Shutterstock

Santa Fe Depot Museum is located on the Mississippi waterfront. The museum entertains guided tours about Native Americans, including early Lee County and industries and railroads from the past. It is easily accessible to people with disabilities, pets are not prohibited, and they also provide free internet service for the public.

Location: Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here

4.5. Santa Fe Swing Span Bridge

Santa Fe Swing Span Bridge, widely known as the Fort Madison Toll Bridge, is a double-decked truss bridge swinging situated over the Mississippi River. The bridge is vital as it connects Fort Madison Iowa, to unincorporated Nipta, Illinois.

This top-level bridge has been holding on to its position for many years. It is the world’s largest double-deck swing bridge and the longest one constructed in 1927. This historical bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places titled Fort Madison Bridge. Documented by the Historic American Engineering Record in the past, the Toll Bridge holds a significant role in the city.

Location: Fort Madison, IA 52627, United States

You can check out the map here

Check out our website for more such articles.

Suggested reading: Airports in Miami

Top 5 Military Museums In The United States
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