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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Burlington (Iowa)

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For works with similar titles, see Burlington.

BURLINGTON, a city and the county seat of Des Moines co., Iowa, 137 in. S. E. of Des Moines, and 207 m. by railroad W. S. W. of Chicago, on the W. bank of the Mississippi river, about 14 m. N. of an easterly extension of the main boundary line between Iowa and Missouri; pop. in 1870, 14,933. The W. bank of the Mississippi at this point consists mostly of steep cliffs of carboniferous limestone 150 ft. high, furnishing an abundance of excellent materials for building, paving, and the manufacture of lime. The stone quarries in this formation are rich in the organic fossils of the carboniferous era, particularly of the crinoid family. The summits of these cliffs are capped with some 30 or 40 feet of diluvial clay, that, with a rich surface stratum of vegetable mould, forms the table land of the surrounding country. At the base of these cliffs the slope of their débris passes into the river. This deep embankment is scooped out through the centre of the city by the waters of a small creek, called the Hawkeye, which enters the Mississippi nearly at right angles. On either side of this creek, and to the west, about half a mile from the river, where the creek branches to the right and left, the ground gradually rises to the level of the surrounding table land, thus giving to the central portions of the town an arrangement similar to an amphitheatre, and adding much to its beauty and salubrity. On the opposite side of the river low lands, mostly subject to occasional inundation, extend some 7 or 8 m. to the Illinois bluffs. The business portion of the city is built upon the low ground along the river, while the residences upon the high bluffs command extended views of the fine river scenery. The river at this point is a broad, deep, and beautiful stream of clear water, and upon the bluffs between which it passes are orchards and vineyards. The city is regularly laid out and well built, the houses being chiefly of brick. In 1871 there were 8 public schools, with 37 teachers and 1,451 pupils. The Burlington business college was organized here in 1865, and in 1871 had 5 teachers and 202 students. Burlington university, a Baptist institution, was organized in 1854. There are about 15 churches, a public library, two daily newspapers with weekly editions, one triweekly and weekly (German), and one monthly periodical. The extensive coal fields in the vicinity afford great facilities for manufacturing; the chief establishments are flouring mills, saw mills, founderies, pork-packing houses, breweries, and soap factories. The following railway lines centre here: Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy, the Carthage branch of the same, Burlington and Keokuk, and Burlington and Missouri River. The town was laid out in 1834, and from 1837 to 1840 was the capital of Iowa.