Located from 4th Street to 10th Street, along Avenue E & F, is Fort Madison's Historic Park-to-Park District. When Fort Madison was founded in the early 1800's, the city's forefathers developed the site with a Historic Main Street Area in direct access to the Mississippi River. Merchants and businessmen alike then developed two parks that bookended a 6 block area and built houses, a court house, jail and churches within close proximity. This well thought out area now is home to grand Victorian Architecture and beautiful Parks.
Traveling Down Avenue F, Old Settlers Park is located at 4th Street. This particular park is the start of the historic district. Grand Victorian Homes line all 4 sides of the park, which plays hosts to summer music concerts, craft fairs and other special events throughout the year.
Visitors can continue down Avenue F and see the location of the 1st recorded church within the state. At 515 Avenue, the replica of the original church can be found. It stands behind the current structure, which is used as a Wedding Chapel. One can read about and view the replica structure. Find out about the history of faith, as it was practiced in the early 1800's. The current church at the location was built in 1886.
Aside from the beautiful private structures that line Avenue F, the North Lee County Court House stands at Avenue F & 7th Street. The Court House, that was built originally in 1840's is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the oldest active court house in the state of Iowa and cost approximately $12,000. The four immense Tuscan columns accent the Greek Revival architecture. Located adjacent to the court house is the Old Lee County 1867 jail house. It is host to annual tricker-treaters each year, when the local historical society opens it for tours. It is also available to visitors by appoint.
On the left side of Avenue F is the Rachel Albright House. This non-imposing duplex, which was built in 1858. This location is that Rachel Albright home, who was was the granddaughter of Betsy Ross. Rachel had helped her grandmother, Betsy Ross sew replica flags of the original "Old Glory" when she was a child in Philadelphia. Rachel Albright then used the same pattern to fashion flags that were used to raise money to preserve her grandmother's home in Philadelphia.
The Historic Park-to-Park District rounds the corner at 10th Street, where Central Park is located. Central Park is the host it Fort Madison's City Band Concerts that happen every summer. The district then continues on down to Avenue E. This side of the historic district continues with beautiful homes and structures. The Fort Madison City Hall sits on Avenue E & 8th Street. It has incorporated the oldest brick structure in the city Of Fort Madison and sits across that street from a private residence that hosts the largest porch in the state of Iowa. In a small community church on the corner of Avenue E & 7th Street, is one of Rachel Albright's arts & crafts rendition of Old Glory on display.
The historic Park-to-Park District is a showcase of Victorian Architecture and beautiful parks unlike any other. Come drive or stroll along the sidewalks and enjoy the views. Spring and Autumn as especially beautiful times of the year to come and enjoy this historic rivertown and all it has to offer.