Madison County, Iowa is Des Moines neighboring county to the southwest. The county was organized in 1849, and is named after James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. According to the US Census Bureau, Madison County has a total area of 562 mi² (1,456 km²) including 1 mi² (2 km²) (0.21%) water with an estimated population in 2005 of 15,158, an 8.1% increase from 2000. While the Des Moines Metropolitan area includes only a small part of northeastern Madison County, that county's proximity to Des Moines and it's scenic beauty have made it a favorite exurban location for many who work in the Des Moines area.
Madison County is primarily rural with rolling hills and very scenic limestone walled valleys and is considered by many to be the most scenic area in Central Iowa. In addition to the fertile valleys, many of the uplands support very productive row crop farming. Near Des Moines in the northeast, considerable residential development is occurring encouraged by the proximity to Interstate 35 and the recent completion of the Des Moines metro southern bypass, Iowa Hwy. 5. There are many grand estates, horse farms and upscale country subdivisions near Interstate 35. Elsewhere, there are acreage developments where road improvements have made it feasible to commute even to downtown Des Moines.
Madison County is home to John Wayne's Birthplace (Winterset), is famous for the Covered Bridges of Madison County, and is the birthplace of the Delicious Apple. In addition, there are also attractions based on the local filming of the movie, The Bridges of Madison County.
Winterset is the Madison County seat and features an historic court house built of native limestone and plays host to the annual Covered Bridge Festival.
There are eight incorporated cities and no designated population centers (DPC) in Madison County:
** -- County Seat
*** -- Peru is the official USPS designation for this community. East Peru is the newer portion which
relocated one mile to the east to be on the old Chicago Great Western Railroad line.
**** -- Bevington lies in both Warren and Madison counties.
Madison County has three community school districts.
Counties neighboring Madison County are:
Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Madison county Historical Society