Lee County was most likely named for William Elliot Lee, who once owned land in southeast Iowa, including the area that became Lee County. The battle over the county seat is lengthy. The Iowa Assembly passed a special act in 1848 that established two court houses and two county seats. The Iowa Attorney General reaffirmed the law as recently as 1975.
Lee County’s first courthouse, a brick structure designed in Greek Revival style by Fr. Samuel Mazzuchelli, was built in 1841-42 in Fort Madison. This building is still used for court functions today. The building was completed on September 3, 1842. The original courthouse at Fort Madison was designed by Father Samuel Mazzuchelli. County offices were moved in 1978 to a newly-constructed county office building. The old courthouse is still used for court-related functions. Even though there have been numerous court battles and editorials over the county seat question, both towns function as the county seat of Lee County. The Lee County courthouse in Fort Madison was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The present courthouse at Keokuk is the renovated Post Office building built in 1890.
Visit the Lee County web site for more information.
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