Fort Madison

Fort Madison

Fort Madison, city (1990 pop. 11,618), seat of Lee co., SE Iowa, on the Mississippi River; inc. 1838. Fort Madison, a U.S. trading post, was established in 1808 as the first fort west of the Mississippi; it was named for James Madison, then President. The city is a river port for barge traffic as well as a rail, commercial, and industrial center with a wide variety of light manufactures. Iowa State Penitentiary (1839) and Lee County Courthouse (1841) are in Fort Madison.
Fort Madison, situated on the Mississippi River, is a city in and one of the county seats of Lee County, Iowa, United States. The population was 10,715 at the 2000 census. Fort Madison along with the city of Keokuk, are principal cities of the Fort Madison–Keokuk Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Lee County, Iowa and Clark County, Missouri.

Sheaffer Pens were developed and made in Fort Madison for many years.

The city is home to the Iowa State Penitentiary - the state's maximum security prison for men.

Fort Madison is the Mississippi river crossing and station stop for Amtrak's Southwest Chief.

Fort Madison has the last remaining double swing-span bridge on the Mississippi River, the Fort Madison Toll Bridge. It has a top level for cars and a bottom level for trains; it is also the world's largest.


The original Fort Madison, the Midwest's oldest American military garrison on the upper Mississippi River, was erected shortly after the signing of a treaty in 1804, which ceded lands east of the Mississippi to Americans in exchange for $1,000 per year and the condition that the tribes could continue to reside there until the land was surveyed and sold by the U.S. government.

According to the Sauk leader Black Hawk, his people did not understand why a fort was being built, and they were told it was for a trader, who could offer them great provisions. The Sauk, due to a promise from Washington, hoped to receive goods from the trader at Fort Madison on credit, but they were denied. This, Black Hawk says, is the reason the Sauk decided to side with the British during the war.

The original Fort Madison was burned to the ground by its own soldiers as they fled from the Native Americans. A replica of the original fort was erected in 1983 and serves as an interactive museum.


Fort Madison is located at (40.628588, -91.339005).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.9 square miles (33.5 km²), of which, 9.2 square miles (23.9 km²) of it is land and 3.7 square miles (9.7 km²) of it (28.88%) is water.

Fort Madison is famous for the Tri-State Rodeo & the Mexican Fiesta


As of the census of 2000, there were 10,715 people, 4,617 households, and 2,876 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,162.9 people per square mile (449.2/km²). There were 5,106 housing units at an average density of 554.2/sq mi (214.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.64% White, 2.67% African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 2.36% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.44% of the population.

There were 4,617 households out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,318, and the median income for a family was $42,067. Males had a median income of $32,530 versus $21,170 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,124. About 9.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.1% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.


Ft. Madison has a campus of Southeastern Community College (Iowa).There are three elementary, one middle school, and one high school in the Fort Madison Community School District


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