Fairfield IA

Fairfield Arts and Convention Center
 Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, photo by Werner Elmker. Learn more here.

Fairfield, Iowa, home of the Fairfield Loop Trail

Fairfield is the county seat in the geographical center of Jefferson County, Iowa.

With 10,000 residents, Fairfield has a unique blend of manufacturing and service business diversity that spans over a century of solid growth, and is a major entrepreneurial base for many small businesses and manufacturers.

Take a look at our online Heritage Trail and online Louden Tour to learn more about Fairfield's history, industrial heritage, and architectural diversity.

Fairfield is also the home of Maharishi University of Management. In 1875 Parsons College, a private liberal arts college, was founded in 1875 with one building and 34 students. It closed in 1973.

The Fairfield Convention and Visitors Bureau has much visitor information about Fairfield and surrounding areas, as does the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Fairfield & TM® Information Center. Brochures are available from each group.

Located in southeast Iowa, Fairfield is easy to find (map below). And our Links webpage contains many useful links.

Map showing location of Fairfield, Iowa

Fairfield's cast of 10,000

Below: Fairfield Square, Fairfield Iowa. This and above photo by Werner Elmker. See more of the Coop Statue.
Fairfield Square

Recreation in Fairfield & Jefferson County, in addition to the trails

Recreation Pool
Outdoor pool at the Rec center. Photo by Werner Elmker

Fairfield Department of Parks and Recreation

Fairfield Parks & Recreation website

Recreation Roosevelt Recreation Center and Cambridge SportsPlexRoosevelt Recreation Complex, plus the Roosevelt Aquatic Center, 1000 W. Burlington Ave, 472-6159.

The complex includes a complete fitness center (fitness rooms, equipment and classes; indoor playground; pool room) and Aquatic Center (indoor pool, sauna, hot tub), restrooms, shower/lock rooms, meeting rooms and the Parks and Rec administrative offices. The outdoor poll is open during summer (above photo by Werner Elmker).

Note: The three water reservoirs in Fairfield were transformed into water recreation areas.  Waterworks Park has a beach for swimming in Bonnifield Lake.  See details on the Lakes page of our Fairfield Loop Trail webpage.

   Fairfield City Parks:

Central Park provides a bandstand, permanent benches, and a bronze sculpture (Coop Statue). It is often the site of festivals. Located along West Burlington and North Main Street on the square in Fairfield. Photo essay.

Chautauqua Park provides several shelter houses, restrooms, picnicking, playground areas, horseshoe courts, and disc golf courses. Located along East Burlington Avenue and North Park Street. Photo essay.

Forest Park. provides a play field for spontaneous game play and organized sports. Forest Drive at East Broadway Ave. Photo essay.

Heritage Park provides a playground, ball fields, shelter, and ramps and rails for skate boarders. Located between West Stone Ave. and North 10th Street. Photo essay.

Howard Park provides a playground area and sun shelter with picnic tables, and is home to the Farmers Market during the warm months. Located on North Main St. and East Grimes Ave. Photo essay.

Lamson Woods has gorgeous, rustic wooded trails and ponds (no swimming) and connects to the Fairfield Loop Trail. Entrance at Mint Boulevard and East Fillmore Avenue. Lamson Woods State Preserve is next to the park - More details.

O.B. Nelson Park provides softball fields, skate park, "Partners for Play" playground, an enclosed dog park, picnic tables, grills, and restrooms. The shelter can be reserved. Located at West Fillmore Avenue and South 2nd Street. Photo essay.

South Wood Park provides a playground, walking trails and a footbridge. Located between Dogwood Drive and Hilltop Lane. Photo essay.

Waterworks Park is the perfect place to go swimming, fish, walk the trail, have a picnic, or play on the playground equipment. The shelter can be reserved. The walking path connects to the 17-mile Fairfield Loop Trail and leads to another lake in a pine forest. It provides fishing, picnicking, playground, sand volleyball courts, shelter, restrooms, beach area, and a walking trail around the Bonnifield Lake. Entrance is from North B Street Photo essay.

Wilson Park provides a playground area and a shelter, plus picnic tables and grills. Located on Wilson Boulevard. Photo essay.

Woodthrush Woods State Preserve provides a natural area that includes a walking path. Located 6 miles east and 2 miles south of Hwy 34 East, on Tamarack Ave. Directions - Take Highway 34 east for 8 miles to County Road W40 (Tamarack Avenue). Turn south (right) and go 1 mile to 255th Street, which curves to the east. Park on the shoulder of 255th Street slightly past its intersection with Teak Avenue. The preserve is on the north (left) side of the road.

Geocaching is a treasure hunting game where adults and children use a GPS to find hidden containers. To ensure the quality of the geocaches, Fairfield requires a Geocaching Permit for all geocaches that are placed in any of the 12 parks operated by the City of Fairfield Iowa, and on the northeastern part of the Fairfield Loop Trail (from Whitham Woods to Lamson Woods). Details on their website.

   Other Fairfield Recreational Facilities:

Little League Park - baseball Fields, playground. East Burlington Ave at Glasgow Rd.   Photo essay.

Dexter Apache Soccer Fields - West Grimes Ave at 20th Street

Pleasant Lake - provides fishing, a gazebo, and walking trails.  This retired reservoir is now being developed for water recreation.  Pleasant Plain Road, north of Fairfield.  See details, along with Bonnifield Lake, on the City Lakes page.

Maharishi University of Management Recreation Facilities

Website: MUM

Recreation Center, On campus, 472-1112.
Facilities inside include: a track, tennis courts, volleyball courts, basketball courts, a 28-foot rock climbing wall, weight room, gymnastics center, and ping-pong tables. There is no charge for students with an ID card.

Campus Swimming Pool, North end of campus, 472-1147. The swimming season is from Memorial Day to Labor Day. There is no charge for students with an ID card.

Commercial Facilities in Fairfield

Private Golf Courses:

    Fairfield Golf and Country Club, 905 E. Harrison Ave , 641-472-3798. Nine holes on the oldest private golf course west of the Mississippi River.  Website: http://fgacc.com/

    Walton Club Inc., Walton Lake, 641-472-4909.   Nine holes of challenging water course.  Website: www.thewaltonclub.com/


    Flamingo Lanes, 301 N. 16th St., 641-472-6162.


Lamson Woods State Preserve

Lamson Woods is a 43-acre woodland preserve located on the southeast edge of Fairfield. This hilly, wooded area was willed to the city of Fairfield by Carrie Lamson Ross in 18930. Originally "Lamson's Pasture" was a park that included Fairfield's first golf course. The golf course was in a pasture for cows and pigs along a small woodland, and was dubbed "cow-pasture golf". It was a favorite area for hiking and nature study for people of all ages. The woodland was dedicated as a biological state preserve in 1978.

See many more details on our Trails webpage.

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Jefferson County Conservation Board Facilities

Trail in Jefferson County Park

Jefferson County Conservation Board Facilities:

Office in Jefferson County Park (includes the Nature Center),  Tel: 472-4421
The JCCB website
has many more details.

Jefferson County Park -- Multi-purpose 191 acres of land located just southwest of Fairfield. Camping, picnics, nature center, office and 7 miles of trails. Most widely used outdoor recreation area in Jefferson County.

Cedar Creek Timber -- Two miles southwest of Fairfield and one-half mile west on 223rd Street. Access may be gained by walking down the abandoned railroad from the public parking area. Future plans are to connect Jefferson County Park, Cedar Creek Timber and the city of Libertyville via the abandoned Rock Island Railroad (Cedar View Trail). 90 acres of hunting & wildlife observation.

Round Prairie Park -- Nine miles southeast of Fairfield on Glasgow Road and two miles south on Tamarack Ave. Camping, historic school house.

Turkey Run Wildlife Area -- On Osage Ave, in south central Jefferson County. 415 acres, 90% timberland.

Mac Coon Access -- Five and one-half miles north of Lockridge, or two and one-half miles north of Four Corners. Campsites, hiking, access to Skunk River.

Livingston Timber -- One mile north of Perlee off the Pleasant Plain Road. 74 acres, hunting area.

Whitham Woods -- One mile west of Fairfield on Highway 34, it is the original site of the C.W. Whitham Nursery. Interesting diversity of plants. Hiking trails.

Zillman's Hickory Hills -- Three & one-half miles southeast of Fairfield on Glasgow Rd. The 74 acres will be developed for passive outdoor recreation.

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Maasdam Barns

Maasdam Barns header
Photo by Werner Elmker

Maasdam Barns, Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm

The Maasdam Barns website tells you the story.

Note:  The Fairfield Loop Trail begins and ends at the Maasdam Barns complex.

The Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm was developed by the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee as a recreational and educational center.  Three historic barns are the major components of the Evergreen Ridge Stock Farm Historic District.

In addition to displays in and around the barns, their museum illustrates the history of this business, as well as the history of two other important Fairfield industries. Louden Machinery Company barn products were sold worldwide.

Below: Their overhead monorail system division continues today, but no longer in Fairfield.
Louden Super Track

Below: An original Turney "Charter Oak" Wagon, produced by another historic industry in Fairfield, is on display, along with the story of this company. Joel Turney and Company at one time was Fairfield's largest employer.
Turney Wagon

Various demonstrations are held in the summer and fall on the grounds of the Maasdam Barns - see the Maasdam Barns website for details.

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Arts and Culture in Fairfield

"Leapfrog" sculpture in front of the Fairfield Library, by Chris Bennett. Photo by Werner Elmker.

Below: Fairfield Arts & Convention Center, just off the square, opened November 2007. It includes the 522-seat Sondheim Center Theater. Photo by Werner Elmker.
Fairfield Arts & Convention Center

Below: Just one of the murals in Fairfield. The Fairfield Cultural Alliance encourages and supports creative expression in our community, especially in our Cultural District, through grants, education, and marketing. Photo by Werner Elmker. More murals here.
Mural in an the alley next to Revelations

Below: The Fairfield's 1st Fridays is held on the first Friday of every month. Fairfield 1st Fridays has grown to become Fairfield’s signature cultural event. Each month, Fairfield 1st Fridays celebrates creativity, culture and community and supports the arts in all forms, bringing diverse groups together to express their creativity and passion for the arts. Photo by Werner Elmker.
Fairfield 1st Fridays

Below: Just one more of the events on the Square. Photo by Werner Elmker.
Fairfield 1st Fridays

Below: Art on the Trails Kiosk, which is displayed on the Loop Trail.
Art on The Trails.

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History of the two Railroads in Fairfield

Zephyr header
 An old CB&Q steam locomotive and the CB&Q "Burlington Zephyr" during a celebration in the 1930's.

(Also see the Railroad History Kiosk).

First railroad to Fairfield, now BNSF Railroad

The first train to arrive in Fairfield (1858) was from Burlington, Iowa, on the Burlington and Missouri River Railroad. Track construction was completed to Omaha, Nebraska, sometime after the Civil War ended. Also, by this time a railroad bridge had been built across the Mississippi River, allowing connections to Chicago.

The BMRR was absorbed by the C B & Q (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad) about 1872.

In 1901 the C B & Q dualized and straightened the tracks through Iowa. Tall trestles (still in use) were built at each end of Fairfield, on the east near Chautauqua Park and on the west near Whitham Woods.

This route is now a key part of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF), which absorbed the C B & Q.

Two sections of the original alignment of the Burlington & Missouri Railroad are utilized for trails, one at each end of Fairfield See Rail Trails.

Second railroad to Fairfield, Rock Island Railroad

In 1870 the Fairfield city leaders found out that the Chicago and South Western Railway Company planned to extend its tracks from Washington, Iowa to Kansas City.  They lobbied the railroad to come through Fairfield and were successful, and the tracks arrived in 1871.

The Rock Island carried freight and passengers to and through Fairfield until its demise in 1980.  For some time Louden Machinery Company was the largest shipper on the Rock Island.

In 1946 the tracks were rerouted between Washington and Eldon to create a more direct route.  Parts of the roadbed are still visible in and around Fairfield (the rails were removed in 1982).

Below: The new Loop Trail bridge over Hwy 1 which replaces the old Rock Island Railroad bridge.
The new Loop Trail bridge over Hwy 1 which replaces the old Rock Island Railroad bridge..

Five sections of the abandoned Rock Island roadbed are currently utilized for trails (the 1871 and 1946 alignments). See Rail Trails.

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Weather in Fairfield

Fairfield Weather header

Weather in Fairfield - weather information websites:

Fairfield weather, from the NOAA office in the Quad Cities.

Eastern Iowa coverage, by NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in the Quad Cities.

Central Iowa coverage, by NOAA's National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office in Des Moines, Iowa.

Entire United States weather, from the National Weather Service.

The Weather Underground, weather and meteorological data for Fairfield.

AccuWeather.com, the World's Weather Authority™.

Portal to NOAA Climate Services.

Current UV Index Forecast by the National Weather Service.

National Allergy Forecast by Pollen.com.

Below: Bonnifield Lake in the fall
Bonnifield Lake

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The mission of the Jefferson County Trails Council is to build, construct, and maintain a network of trails for public use and enjoyment, and to promote, inform, and educate the general public about the trail system.

Every effort is made to ensure accurate information is posted to the site. However, Jefferson County Trails Council does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of the content on this site or content which is referenced by or linked to this site. © 2001-2018 Jefferson County Trails Council, Fairfield, Iowa.  Updated 12-19-18