Fort Madison

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Must Do's 
Fort Madison's history dates back to the early 1800s with Old Fort Madison. This replica fort was built in 1988 to look like the original Fort that was built along our riverfront from 1808 to 1813. Take a self-guided tour around the fort and utilize the posted QR codes to learn about it’s history. Experience more area history with a drive around the 1839 Historic Iowa State Penitentiary that is the oldest prison west of the Mississippi River. This institution ran for 175 consecutive years before the state created the new prison just up the road in 2015. Visit the Fort Madison Amtrak Depot, the North Lee County Historical Society and the CB&Q Depot in Fort Madison’s Depot Complex.  The CB&Q Depot was built in 1898 and is now home to the Transportation museum, covering the history of rail traffic, as well as information in regards to travel up and down the Mississippi River.

Outdoor Adventures & Exciting Eateries
Explore the area by driving the Lake Cooper Loop, a 50-mile route that goes around the Mississippi River and through six river towns. Hop on the Great River Road National Scenic Byway for more road tripping fun. Or stretch your legs with a hike on the trails along the P.O.R.T. of Fort Madison paths through town. Otherwise, camp, hike, bike, fish or kayak in one of the community's many parks. 

Once you've built up an appetite, try a taste of Fort Madison at Horan's Cabareta 50-year-old Irish restaurant and bar. Sample a rotating menu of fusion favorites inside a replica caboose at Mama Knows, enjoy a classic greasy-spoon meal at Jake and Walt's Fort Diner. Stop by Lost Duck Brewing to enjoy classic pub fair and occasional wild game specialties along with their craft beers. 

Community Highlights
Fort Madison is one of two county seats for North Lee County, which is the only county is the state with two separate seats of government. Fort Madison is also known as Iowa's oldest Mexican settlement due to its railroad roots, and is now home to various Latino holiday and traditions including the annual Mexican Fiesta.  The community is also home to the famous Tri-State Rodeo, which is today known as the best rodeo within the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association's Great Lake Circuit. 

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