The site selected in 1849 for Winterset was in the “exact” center of Madison County. The rolling hills of the surrounding landscape meander down into the wooded valleys of the Middle River to the south and Cedar Creek to the north and east. The original grid of the community consists of a rectangle of forty blocks centering on the usual courthouse square. The historic fame of Winterset today rests on its many nearby covered bridges, its courthouse (1876–1878), and its many limestone houses.
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