Burlington, Iowa facts for kids

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Burlington, Iowa
Shoquoquon
Flint Hills
City
Skyline of Burlington from Mississippi River
Skyline of Burlington from Mississippi River
Location in the state of Iowa
Location in the state of Iowa
Country United States
State  Iowa
County Des Moines
Founded 1833
Area
 • Total 15.24 sq mi (39.47 km2)
 • Land 14.48 sq mi (37.50 km2)
 • Water 0.76 sq mi (1.97 km2)
Elevation 696 ft (185 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 25,663
 • Estimate (2012) 25,665
 • Density 1,772.3/sq mi (684.3/km2)
 • Demonym Burlingtonian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 52601
Area code(s) 319
FIPS code 19-09550
GNIS feature ID 0454995
Website burlingtoniowa.org

Burlington is a city and the county seat of Des Moines County, Iowa, United States. The population was 25,663 in the 2010 census, a decline from the 26,839 population in the 2000 census. Burlington is the center of a micropolitan area including West Burlington, Iowa, and Middletown, Iowa, and Gulfport, Illinois. Burlington is the home of Snake Alley, once labelled the crookedest alley in the world.

History

Prior to European settlement, the area was neutral territory for the Sac and Fox Indians, who called it Shoquoquon (Shok-ko-kon), meaning Flint Hills.

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson organized two parties of explorers to map the Louisiana Purchase. The Lewis and Clark Expedition followed the Missouri River, while Lt. Zebulon Pike followed the Mississippi River. In 1805, Pike landed at the bluffs below Burlington and raised the United States Flag for the first time on what would become Iowa soil and recommended construction of a fort. The recommendation went unheeded.

Burlington IA Barber 1865p525 cropped
Burlington in 1865.

The American Fur Company of John Jacob Astor established a post in the area in 1829. Settlement began in 1833, shortly after the Black Hawk Purchase, when Samuel (aka Simpson) White, Amzi Doolitle, and Morton M. McCarver crossed the Mississippi River from Big Island and staked claims there. According to an account A.T. Andreas wrote in 1875,

In the spring of 1834 they allowed John Gray, who purchased the first lot with his wife Eliza Jane, to rename the town for $50. Gray chose to name it Burlington in honor of his hometown in Vermont. The Grays' daughter Abigail was born in Burlington that same year, the first American settler child born on Iowa soil.

In 1837, Burlington was designated the second territorial capital of the Wisconsin Territory. The Iowa Territory was organized in the following year, and Burlington was named as its first territorial capital. The government used "Old Zion," the first Methodist Church in Iowa (located near what is now Third and Washington streets), to conduct its business. A historical marker commemorates the site of the church and early territorial government.

On May 22, 1849, Maj. William Williams visited Burlington, writing a brief description in his journal:

This town [was] originally called Flint Hill- the Indian name was Shoquokon, Flint or Rock Hill. [It is] beautifully elevated, situated on the west side of the Mississippi River, a place of very considerable business. The town is very well built. Houses are good, generally taste[ful], brick dwellings. A great many handsome residences on the more elevated parts of the bluff. The number of inhabitants between 3,000 and 3,500. ... Was the first seat of government after the formation of the Territory of Iowa. The view of the city is extremely picturesque from the river. The main part of the city is situated like an amphitheater formed by the surrounding hills, beautiful buildings and private residences on the eminences around. From the location of Burlington it must always be a place of considerable trade. The city is well built [in the] modern style, a very intelligent population... The river here is over 3/4 of mile wide and steam ferry boats constantly plying between this and the Illinois shore.

—Maj. William Williams

Iowa's nickname, "The Hawkeye State," has its roots in Burlington. At Judge David Rorer's suggestion, publisher James G. Edwards changed The Iowa Patriot newspaper's name to The Hawk-Eye and Iowa Patriot in tribute to his friend, Chief Black Hawk. Rorer is said to have found the name in James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, but Edwards proposed the nickname to "...rescue from oblivian [sic] a momento [sic], at least of the name of the old chief."

Lady Liberty of Burlington
Lady Liberty of Burlington

Burlington was a bustling river port in the steamboat era and a central city to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad. The "Burlington Route" (1848–1970) merged into the Burlington Northern Railroad (1970–1996), which in turn merged into the BNSF Railway (1997–present). The "Burlington" name has been given to one of the United States' largest railroads. One of BNSF's main east-west lines still crosses the Mississippi at Burlington.

In the late twentieth century, retail expanded with suburbanization of the population. Westland Mall opened in nearby West Burlington in 1977.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.24 square miles (39.47 km2), of which, 14.48 square miles (37.50 km2) is land and 0.76 square miles (1.97 km2) is water.

Climate

Climate data for Burlington, Iowa
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30.6
(-0.78)
35.4
(1.89)
48.0
(8.89)
62.1
(16.72)
72.7
(22.61)
81.9
(27.72)
85.6
(29.78)
82.9
(28.28)
75.7
(24.28)
64.6
(18.11)
49.5
(9.72)
34.7
(1.5)
60.3
(15.72)
Average low °F (°C) 13.1
(-10.5)
18.0
(-7.78)
29.5
(-1.39)
41.7
(5.39)
51.8
(11)
61.0
(16.11)
65.5
(18.61)
63.0
(17.22)
55.0
(12.78)
43.7
(6.5)
31.8
(-0.11)
18.9
(-7.28)
41.0
(5)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.3
(33)
1.2
(30)
2.8
(71)
3.7
(94)
4.1
(104)
4.2
(107)
4.3
(109)
4.2
(107)
4.0
(102)
2.9
(74)
2.5
(64)
1.9
(48)
37.1
(942)
Source: worldclimate.com

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 4,082
1860 6,706 64.3%
1870 14,930 122.6%
1880 19,450 30.3%
1890 22,565 16.0%
1900 23,201 2.8%
1910 24,324 4.8%
1920 24,057 −1.1%
1930 26,755 11.2%
1940 25,832 −3.4%
1950 30,613 18.5%
1960 32,430 5.9%
1970 32,366 −0.2%
1980 29,529 −8.8%
1990 27,208 −7.9%
2000 26,839 −1.4%
2010 25,663 −4.4%
Est. 2015 25,410 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 25,663 people, 10,938 households, and 6,693 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,772.3 inhabitants per square mile (684.3/km2). There were 11,899 housing units at an average density of 821.8 per square mile (317.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 81.2% White, 14.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.7% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.

There were 10,938 households of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.8% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.89.

The median age in the city was 39.7 years. 23.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.5% were from 45 to 64; and 17.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.

2000 census

As of the 2000 census, there were 26,839 people, 11,102 households, and 7,105 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,910.1 per square mile (737.6/km²). There were 11,985 housing units at an average density of 853.0 per square mile (329.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.6% White, 10.0% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.66% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 1.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.06% of the population.

There were 11,102 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.0% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 4.94.

Age spread: 24.5% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,770, and the median income for a family was $40,912. Males had a median income of $33,238 versus $23,003 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,450. About 10.0% of families and 12.6% of the population was below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Great River Bridge Burlington Iowa 1997
Great River Bridge in Burlington Iowa (1997)

The town is served by U.S. Route 34, which is the freeway that goes through the middle of town and U.S. Route 61. Iowa Highways 99 and 406 served the town before they were decommissioned in 2003. The two still exist as County roads.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Burlington, operating its California Zephyr daily in both directions between Chicago, Illinois, and Emeryville, California, across the bay from San Francisco.

The Southeast Iowa Regional Airport (IATA code BRL), is located about five miles south of downtown. Commercial service is provided through Air Choice One. This service offers two weekday daily flights to St. Louis and Chicago, while offering single flights on weekends. Quad City International Airport, the area's large international airport, is approximately 70 miles north of the city, in Moline, Illinois.

Burlington Urban Service (B.U.S.) is a transportation system owned and operated by the City of Burlington. Routes service nearly all areas of Burlington, and nearly 90% of all residents live within 3 city blocks of a bus route. Greyhound Lines and Burlington Trailways provide daily out-of-town bus service.

Sister cities

Burlington has one sister city, as designated by Sister Cities International:

SnakeAlley BurlingtonIA
Snake Alley

Images for kids


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