Maquoketa, the seat of Jackson County, was laid out on the south bank of the Maquoketa River, a site selected because of the availability of water power and large stands of trees for lumbering. When the water was high it was possible for small steamboats to navigate the river as far as Bridgeport, some two miles west-northwest of Maquoketa. The town's traditional grid was laid out in 1850, with the courthouse square located one block west of Main Street. By 1870 the city was connected to the Davenport and Saint Paul Railroad and to the Midland Railroad. In the seventies the city was cited for being planned with “great taste and liberality,” and these qualities still predominate today. The downtown is pleasant and well used; the suburban area, particularly to the west, has wide tree-lined streets, and the accompanying houses generally have extensive sites.
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