Nestled halfway between the Quad Cities and Dubuque, Maquoketa has many attractions and recreational activities. The town is the county seat of Jackson County. Nicknamed the “Timber City,” it was settled by J. E. Goodenow and Lyman Bate in January 1838. Today, Maquoketa’s population is over 6,000 and its historic district still features many great examples of Victorian architecture.
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Nicknamed the “Timber City,” Maquoketa was settled by J. E. Goodenow and Lyman Bate in January 1838. It was named after the Maquoketa river, which means “Bear River.”
First named Springfield, they changed the name of the town when they established the post office in 1840, because other cities had claimed the name.
In 1870, the first train ran through town and in 1873, Maquoketa became the permanent seat of Jackson County.
Maquoketa is a laid back, small town with a lot of amenities and attractions. Boasting acres of parks, live shows at Codfish Hollow, the well-known Maquoketa caves and a drive-in movie theater, residents can enjoy a friendly, small community and have the features of a larger area.
Residents take the future of Maquoketa seriously. There is a 40-acre park under development, which will add to the nine parks already in town. Additionally, the downtown was refreshed in 2017 and there is another grant to continue the work.
Fireball 2018: Put on by the Maquoketa Firefighter’s Association, this annual event features an evening of entertainment in downtown. The event takes place on the “Green Space.” The town puts on this event to remember its commitment to moving forward after a fire in 2008 destroyed several businesses on the “Green Space” where the event is now held.
Jackson County Historical Society: Founded in 1903 and revitalized in 1964, the society coordinates the restoration of a variety of historical sites. The sites include the Jackson County Museum, the Clinton Engines Site and the Hurstville Lime Kilns.
Jackson County Museum: Experience the history of Jackson County first-hand by exploring newspapers, exhibits and artifacts collected in the area. Also, visit the Penningroth Machine Shed where you can see the tools and machinery used, including a working steam engine.
Clinton Engines Museum: Visit the old site of the biggest small engine manufacturers in the world. Here you can stop by the Agricultural Center and La Motte Train Depot.
Hurstville Lime Kilns: Visit the largest group of fully restored kilns in the country. The kilns produced powder lime, and at the height of production, the kilns used to turn out 8,000 barrels of lime a day.
Codfish Hollow Barnstormers: Over 130 music and comedy acts have visited this famous barn concert venue. Since their first concert on July 25, 2009, their popularity has grown across the state and country.
Concert attendees come from hours away to enjoy nationally recognized acts including John C. Reilly, Counting Crows and Norah Jones. Attendees take a hayride to get to the venue and many camp there before the concerts.
61-Drive In Theatre: If you travel just a bit south of Maquoketa on highway 61 , this is the midwest’s first drive-in to offer digital projection and FM stereo sound. Open most nights of the week in the summer, this theatre shows newly-released movies in a rural setting.
Maquoketa Caves: Did you know this park contains more caves than any other park in the state of Iowa? From caves that require you to crawl through the entrance to the over one-thousand foot tall Dancehall Cave, the size and shapes of these caves vary dramatically.
In addition to the caves, there are six miles of trails that connect caves, limestone formations and overlooks. Artifacts discovered at the cave indicate that people have been visiting this location for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Ohnward FineArts Center: This 30,000 square foot center was opened in December of 2004. It includes the Drew Art Gallery, which has over 850 square feet of display space and the Kopel Theatre, which includes 841 seats. The theatre hosts live shows year-round and both spaces are available for rent.
Horseshoe Pond Camping Ground: You can enjoy an evening of camping at Horseshoe Pond in your tent or RV. While camping, you can go fishing, visit the pavilion for a picnic or spend time at the onsite playground. The park is 11.2 acres and has both a two-acre pond and a creek.
Hurstville Interpretive Center: The inside exhibit describes the benefits of the local natural resources and while outside visitors can explore the beauty of nature, including colorful wildflowers, the wetlands and the prairie.
Maquoketa Area Family YMCA: The local YMCA offers a full-size gym, an aquatic center, group exercise and child watch – just to name a few benefits.
Maquoketa Country Club: Visit the fantastic golf course, host a gathering at the event center or enjoy the swimming pool!