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   Home      Investigations 2015      Fort Madison
Fort Madison, Iowa
    Sometimes some of our investigations are really more getting out and enjoying the area, seeing the history of the town, and enjoying some time spent with friends. Our first trip of the year was just one of those types of days. Our friend Jolene, from River City Paranormal knows the area very well, and was glad to join with us, and to show us the more interesting areas of this town, which rests along the banks of the Mighty Mississippi River, and has a history that dates back to the early 1800's. Fort Madison, named for the 4th President James Madison, was established as a military in 1808, and was the site of Black Hawk's first battle against the US troops. The town grew up around the remains of the fort, which remains as a replica of the original fort.
     First stop on this day's adventure was the Kingsley Hotel. A beautiful hotel, with the inside decorated with furnishings from the 1800's. Many of the antique pieces from buildings and homes around town that were being torn down were saved, and with the restoration, are now on display here. Some of these items are a mirror that is in the lobby, to the steps, banisters, and spindles on the stairs.We wonder if some of the pieces might have come with more than just a history. This location is said to be haunted, could it be from these wonderful pieces? We hope to one day have an answer to that question.
     The State Prison is located just a few blocks up the street. This massive structure contains several buildings which are housed inside a huge stone wall. Originally built in 1869, this prison housed some of the most hardened criminals in the nation. Hanging was the preferred method of execution until 1963. Several murders happened inside these walls. If only they could talk! A new prison is being built, and some day soon this building will stand empty. We hope that they will open the doors to investigations, and hope to find out who might still remain, waiting to be free from their confinement.
     Many beautiful homes also are situated along the river. One such home is the Ringling Brothers House. And yes, they did house live tigers inside. We were not able to venture close enough to see this house, but can imagine how grand it was, back in the day.
     One location  not to be missed on a tour of the town is the train depot. This is such a great piece of history, and no one knows this history better than the two gentlemen we met that day. They are literally walking history books! Andy and Daryl spent the afternoon sharing stories of the history of the depot, the town, and surrounding areas. We even managed to get them to talk about ghosts!
     Another stop in our day was the Kings Daughter's House. Now owned by Andy, one of the historians we met at the depot. We are hoping to find out more of her history, before being converted to a nursing home. The old city jail was also in the area, and speaks of times from long ago.
     One last stop before leaving was a business that is now owned by Jolene's husband, Ken. He is in the process of restoring this building, which at one time was a canning factory. There are even still labels on a spot on the wall. It used to be a Kool-Aid factory, and they have found some old signs and bottles attesting to this. Ken said he had the feeling of being watched and followed while he is working, and calls the building "The Asylum." And the building did give off that creepy factor.
     We wish to thank Jolene for her guided tour of this town, and we hope to return in the spring to do a more thorough investigation. And we might even find a ghost or two.
Check out the following to learn more about Fort Madison History:
                       North Lee County Historical Society Facebook 
                       Fort Madison Prison Memory Project Facebook  
State Prison
Kingsley Hotel
The Train Depot
Kings Daughters House
Old City Jail
Kingsley Hotel, from a time long ago
Andy and Jolene at the Train Depot
Daryl and Jolene at the Train Depot
"Mausoleum d'Haverghast"
Performed by: Midnight Syndicate
From the CD: The 13th Hour, 2005
Used with permission of Midnight Syndicate
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