Iowa is home to the world's largest strawberry, which is located in Strawberry Point. The 15-foot-tall fiberglass strawberry was erected in 1967 and has since become a beloved landmark in the community.
Lee County, Iowa, located in the southeastern part of the state, has a rich and diverse history that dates back centuries. Native American tribes, including the Sauk and Meskwaki, initially inhabited the area. In the 19th century, European settlers arrived, and the region became an essential part of the growing United States.

The area that is now Lee County was first explored by French trappers in the late 17th century. The region changed hands multiple times between France, Spain, and ultimately the United States through the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It was named after General Charles Lee, a Revolutionary War hero, and was officially organized as a county in 1836.

Lee County played a significant role in the westward expansion of the United States, serving as a vital transportation hub in the mid-1800s. The county's position along the Mississippi River made it an important stop for steamboats, which transported people and goods between the Midwest and New Orleans. As railroads became more prevalent, Lee County continued to prosper as a key junction point.

During the Civil War, Lee County was deeply divided, like many parts of the country. The county contributed soldiers to both the Union and Confederate armies, and it faced social and economic challenges due to the conflict. However, the war exposed the community to the abolitionist movement, leading to significant changes in attitudes towards slavery and race in the post-war era.

Today, Lee County is home to various industries, including manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare. It boasts several historical sites and attractions, such as the Keokuk National Cemetery and the Nauvoo Temple, which highlight the diverse and fascinating history of the area.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Lee County, Iowa.

  • 1836: Lee County was established by the Wisconsin Territory
  • 1837: Fort Des Moines was built along the Mississippi River
  • 1838: Keokuk was founded as the county seat
  • 1839: The county government was organized
  • 1840: The first courthouse was constructed in Fort Madison
  • 1845: The county seat was transferred from Fort Madison to West Point
  • 1847: Montrose was established as the county seat
  • 1851: The county seat was transferred back to Fort Madison
  • 1862: The Battle of Athens took place during the American Civil War
  • 1867: The Kansas City, Burlington and Quincy Railroad reached Lee County
  • 1942: The Iowa Ordinance Plant was constructed in Middletown
  • 2006: The new Lee County Jail was completed in Fort Madison