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Fort Madison
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The Fort Madison Destination is comprised of a portion of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri in the Midwestern United States. Several rivers such as the Mississippi River, the Illinois River, and the Des Moines River contribute to the topographic structure of the destination, in addition to several lakes including Mark Twain Lake and Spring Lake. For those who plan on engaging in warm-weather activities in Fort Madison, based on the tourism score, it is advised that visitors come between early June and late September as temperatures are fairly moderate throughout these months.[4] One of the largest cities in the Fort Madison Destination is Springfield, an urban area that contains several memorial sites, child-friendly attractions, and presidential sites.[8] Similarly, in a historical sense, the destination’s namesake, Fort Madison, annually draws a fair amount of visitors who take interest in the city’s history, considering that the city of Fort Madison was established around the first permanent U.S. military fortification in the upper Midwest.[9] An architectural district that features several preserved buildings with designs unique to their era is also a part of Fort Madison. A few architectural styles that visitors may see in this district are Gothic, Victorian, and Tudor.[3] Another tourism draw in Fort Madison is the two-level Fort Madison Bridge, which completed its construction in 1887. The bridge accommodates general vehicular traffic on the top level, while the bottom level is designated specifically for locomotive rail transportation.[2]

What Fort Madison is known for

Located in the midwestern United States, the Fort Madison Destination comprises the three following states: Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. The destination's namesake, Fort Madison, can be found in the northwestern region of the destination, situated on the border between Iowa and Illinois. Other cities that characterize the Fort Madison Destination include Springfield, Illinois; Quincy, Illinois; Bowling Green, Missouri; and Hannibal, Missouri. Fort Madison is home to approximately 10,114 residents as of 2020, making it the 42nd largest city in the state of Iowa. The city’s population is presently affected by a decline rate of -0.77%. With regard to racial demographics, Fort Madison primarily contains white residents who constitute 93.67% of the population, and the second most common race is black or African American individuals at 4.07%.[1]

Fort Madison is known to many as the location of the first U.S. military cemetery in the upper Midwest. Another prominent feature of the city is the events that are hosted year-round, namely the Tri-State Rodeo, Mexican Fiesta, Annual Lighted Parade, and Art In Central Park. A number of tourists visit the area for the city’s historical aspects as well. Notably, the city was established around the site of the historic Fort Madison, which was the first permanent United States military fortification in the upper Midwest.[9]

One of the largest cities in the Fort Madison Destination is Springfield, Illinois. Many of the attractions that can be found in Springfield pertain to former president Abraham Lincoln, considering that Springfield was once Lincoln’s city of residence.[7] These sites include the Abe Lincoln Rail Splitter Statue, the Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum, the Lincoln Memorial Garden & Nature Center, the Lincoln Tomb, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Some attractions—such as the Kidzeum of Health and Science, Knight’s Action Park, and the Henson Robinson Zoo—are catered more toward children. The majority of these child-friendly attractions also host events throughout the year. Furthermore, tours of the downtown district are available to visitors, as well as self-guided tours of various memorial sites such as the WWII Illinois Veterans Memorial, the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon, and the Illinois Korean War Memorial, among several others.[8]


Summers in Fort Madison are relatively warm, humid, and wet. From May to September it is considered to be the hot season, and the average temperature is generally around 76 degrees Fahrenheit; however, an average high of 86 degrees Fahrenheit is typical during July, the hottest month of the year. As for winters, the cold season lasts roughly from November through March with an average daily high of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. January tends to be the coldest month as temperatures drop to around 20 to 35 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Temperatures vary between 20 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, and based on the tourism score, it is recommended that people visit Fort Madison from early June to late September, especially for those who plan on engaging in warm-weather activities.[4]

The Fort Madison Destination’s topographic structure is comprised of several rivers, forested regions, and urban districts. The most notable river that runs through the central areas of the destination is the Mississippi River. Nauvoo, Montrose, Dallas City, and Fort Madison are some of the cities that are situated along the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River is also the perimeter between Missouri and Illinois. Another river within the destination is the Des Moines River, which serves as the border between Iowa and Missouri in Lee County. The Des Moines River is about 525 miles long and it is a tributary of the Mississippi River. Moreover, the Des Moines River is the largest river that flows across the state of Iowa.[6] Mark Twain Lake, the Illinois River, Siloam Springs State Park, Shanks Conservation Area, and Shimek State Forest additionally contribute to the geography of the Fort Madison Destination.

A prominent natural area in the Fort Madison Destination is the Great River National Wildlife Refuge, which can be found along the Mississippi River. Wetlands, sedge meadows, floodplain forests, backwaters, and grasslands are all habitats that are utilized by the wildlife in the Great River National Wildlife Refuge. About 300 species of birds frequent the refuge during migration including species such as migratory waterfowl, mallard, northern shoveler, wood duck, teal, gadwall, and pintail, to name a few. Bald eagles inhabit the area as well, and it should be noted that one of the best times to view bald eagles at the refuge is reportedly from October to early spring. Regardless of the season, great blue herons reside in the wildlife refuge.[5]


One of the most historically significant sites in Fort Madison is the Fort Madison Bridge, also known as the Mississippi River Bridge. The bridge is designed with two levels, the top one designated for cars and other traffic, while the bottom level is for railroad transportation. Before constructing the bottom railroad level, the Chicago Santa Fe and California Railway companies contracted with Sooysmith & Son of New York to build the lower section of the bridge. It wasn't until the end of 1887 that the 1,925-foot bridge was completed. Being the first railway and roadway bridge to extend across the Mississippi River in Fort Madison, the bridge primarily functioned as a transportation system for the city. Forty years after the bridge’s completion, it was replaced due to the inability to sustain the increasingly heavy traffic loads. Nearly 29 million pounds of metal and 46,000 cubic yards of concrete constituted a total cost of $5.5 million. The bridge was then opened to the general public in July 1927. Currently, the bridge extends 1,675 feet in length.[2]

The city of Fort Madison contains a collection of preserved buildings in the historic downtown district. In addition to this, the Park-to-Park Residential Historic District, which is about seven blocks long, features historical architecture. Some of the styles of architecture that one may find in the Park-to-Park district include Gothic, Tudor, and Victorian. Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne are other building designs that may be seen.[3]

Springfield bears historical significance as the city was the place of residence for the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, who lived in the city from 1837 to 1861. Due to this, a considerable number of tourist sites in Springfield have a connection with Abraham Lincoln. Furthermore, the city eventually became the capital of Illinois. In 1809, Kaskaskia was appointed to be the first capital of the Illinois Territory, which lasted throughout Illinois’s process of gaining statehood in 1818. The state capital was then changed to Vandalia from 1819 to 1839, and it wasn’t until the year 1839 that Springfield became the third capital of Illinois. Springfield is still currently the capital of the state, and its designation as such was fairly influenced by the efforts of former president Abraham Lincoln and his associates.[7]

5.0 (44 Reviews)

Blessings on State Bed and Breakfast

Jacksonville, Illinois

Blessings on State Bed and Breakfast

Blessings on State Bed and Breakfast offers two suites for visitors to rent. The building itself is characterized by chandeliers, fireplaces, and other classically designed items that add to the vintage style of the bed and breakfast. Initially built in the 1880s, several features of the establishment are original to the era when it was first constructed. Glenn and Gwenn, the current owners, have put forth the effort to maintain the style, making very few renovations to add modern amenities, while still keeping its vintage appearance. Visitors have access to the common areas of the property throughout their stay including the parlor, gazebo, garden area, and front porch, to name a few. Breakfast is available to all patrons during their time at the establishment. Waffles, egg dishes, fruit, muffins, and a type of breakfast meat are a few items that guests may be served. 

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4.9 (34 Reviews)

The Market Street Inn Bed and Breakfast is located in Taylorville, Illinois. It has a total of ten rooms available for guest reservation, with eight located in the main house and two found in the inn’s second building, the Carriage House. Some of the most popular rooms include the Chimney Room and the Clock Tower Room because they feature king-size beds. Breakfast is served every morning in the main house, with the dishes prepared depending on the number of people staying at the inn. Joe, one of the bed and breakfast’s owners, says that one of the most unique features of the Victorian home is the woodwork on display throughout it. Should guests desire a venue, the property can host many types of small group events. The property is within walking distance of a variety of shops and restaurants that patrons can visit, such as Kluge’s, Florinda’s, and Bill’s Toasty Shop.

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Kingsley Inn

Fort Madison, Iowa
4.6 (69 Reviews)

The Kingsley Inn, located in Fort Madison, Iowa, features 19 rooms that are available throughout the year for guest reservation. One of the 19 units is a 1,700-square-foot guest house located on the grounds of the property. This accommodation can function both as an event space for weddings and other gatherings or as a guest room. Each room has a white noise machine that can be used when patrons are going to bed, as the manager notes that the inn is near to a train track. Earplugs are also accessible upon request at the front desk. Originally built in the 1860s, the building used now as the Kingsley Inn has had multiple functions over time, such as a vinegar distillery and a laundromat. The manager notes that there are a variety of different activities available in the surrounding area of the inn. 

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4.4 (1 Reviews)

Located in the western region of Illinois, The Nauvoo Grand is situated just off of the Mississippi River. A total of five rooms are available for rent inside a three-story building that is decorated on the inside with various antiques. The ceilings, floors, and woodwork are all original to when the house was first built in 1904, before it became a bed and breakfast. Many of the restored historic sites that can be found in close proximity to the establishment are the main draws for tourism in the area. Guests can also visit the nearby parks or the winery that is located across the street from The Nauvoo Grand. Breakfast is provided at the establishment, which offers items like French toast, eggs, waffles, fruit, and others.

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3.7 (3 Reviews)

The Bluffdale Vacation Farm is located in Eldred, Illinois, and is open year-round to the public. During the spring, summer, and early fall, the business is run as a resort, whereas it is operated as a bed and breakfast in the winter months. All the features of the property are included in the resort, while there is an extra charge for those staying at the bed and breakfast. Such features and activities on the property include horseback riding, tractor rides, speed boating, paddleboarding, and bonfires, to name a few. Breakfast is included in both types of stays, though lunch and dinner are exclusively reserved for the resort. The farm has been in Ken Hobson's family for over 200 years. In 1963, the land was converted into a resort, with the bed and breakfast following in the 1990s.

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