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The Lee County Courthouse was built in 1842 and is one of two courthouses in Lee County, which is divided into North Lee and South Lee. Lee County is the only county in Iowa two have two county seats (the other is Keokuk). The courthouse serves North Lee and is one of the oldest continuously used courthouses in the state. A relatively simple example of Greek Revival architecture, it is built of brick and two-stories tall. Its most prominent feature is the portico with Doric columns and a pediment. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Lee County Courthouse was built in 1842 and is a good example of Greek Revival architecture.

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Fort Madison was designated the county seat in 1836. In the next few years there were calls to move the county seat to more centrally located towns, such as Franklin, but that didn't happen. However, the county seat was moved to the town of West Point from 1843 and remained so until 1845. During that time the offices in the courthouse were rented and the courtroom was rented to religious groups. In 1845, county residents voted in favor of Fort Madison becoming the county seat once again.

In 1848, the state legislature established Keokuk as the second county seat. The reason for this was due the creation of the southern border with Missouri. In 1816, surveyor J.C. Sullivan drew the line but stopped at the western edge of the county at the Des Moines River. In an 1824 treaty with the federal government, the Ioway, Sac, and Fox tribes ceded their lands in Missouri. In the agreement what became North Lee was the tribes' territory and it was implied that the southern border, which is known as the "Sullivan Line," was extended to the Mississippi River. This is why Lee County has two county seats.

Keenan, Mrs. John. "Lee County Courthouse." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. September 30, 1976.

"Lee County Courthouses." Iowa Judicial Branch. Accessed December 16, 2021.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Wikimedia Commons:,_Fort_Madison.jpg