DescriptionFort Dodge lies along both sides of the Des Moines River and atop a gypsum bed that covers nearly 30 square miles. Industry produces gypsum products, farm machinery, chemical fertilizers and veterinary pharmaceuticals.
In 1850 the federal government established Fort Clarke. The name was changed in 1851 to Fort Dodge for Henry Dodge, the U.S. senator from Wisconsin who fought in the Black Hawk and other Indian Wars. After the roving bands of Indians were quieted, Maj. William Williams, provisioner of supplies for the U.S. troops, purchased the fort site and in 1854 laid out the town of Fort Dodge.
Local gypsum supplied the makings for one of America's greatest hoaxes: the Cardiff Giant. Carved out of stone from a Fort Dodge quarry, the 10-foot-tall “petrified man” was commissioned by George Hull, who arranged to have it unearthed at his cousin's farm in Cardiff, New York. Crowds lined up to see the 1869 discovery, hailed as proof of a prehistoric race of giants. A local syndicate invested $30,000 for a national tour; P.T. Barnum made a fortune showing a copy of the forgery.
Even though Hull's scheme was exposed within months, his creation continued to fascinate the public. The Cardiff Giant was one of the most popular exhibits at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. A replica is displayed at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.
Hiking enthusiasts can enjoy 24 miles of multi-use trails throughout the city.
Visitor InfoFort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau 24 N. 9th St. FORT DODGE, IA 50501. Phone:(515)573-4282 or (888)573-4282
Things to SeeBlanden Memorial Art Museum