One of the oldest jails in Iowa is being saved from the wrecking ball. The former Lee County Jail in Fort Madison was slated to be torn down, but an anonymous donor stepped forward Wednesday with the money needed to preserve it. Michele Young of the town’s Historic Preservation Commission says the limestone structure dates back to 1849.The portion of the jail that was built in 1865 is best preserved and it was still in use through the 1980s. Young says the jail can help Iowans in this new millennium learn about frontier life in the mid-1800s.The donor pledged 18-thousand dollars to preserve the jail. Another seven thousand had already been raised. Young says the 25-thousand should be enough to start work on making the structure safe. The eventual goal is to open the jail for educational tours.
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