“Build it and they will come.” That was the decision of the Fort Madison City Council last night. Viking Cruise Lines wants to make The Pen City a stop for its Mississippi Cruises, the city needed a new dock to accommodate the potential for tens of thousands of visitors boosting tourism. Last night, the city council voted to move forward with the dock at a cost of $1.7 million dollars, a half million dollars of that cost will be paid by Viking Cruise Lines.
According to talks with the cruise line, Fort Madison would benefit from two stops each week, July through October. The city is looking at a number of options to fund the dock. Fort Madison got nicknamed the Pen City because the Schaeffer fountain pen factory operated there for 94 years. Fort Madison was the first military outpost on the upper Mississippi, named for the fourth president of the United States.
The site where the fort stood is on the National Register of Historic Places and several Victorian-era homes in Fort Madison’s “Park-to-Park” have the historic designation as well.