Just about every town larger than a hamlet has neighborhoods that over the years have acquired special names. Sometimes these are formal designations used for official purposes. Often, however, they are quite informal, and their origin may no longer be known by many current residents - or in a few instances with certainty by anyone.
Fort Dodge has a number of neighborhoods that bear official - or unofficial - names. Over the next several issues, Today Magazine, a Messenger publication, will take a look at the history behind our town's traditional neighborhoods. Where it isn't obvious why a neighborhood became known by a particular name, we will endeavor to explain how that name came about. That series begins with the current issue of the magazine, out today,
Al Nelson, a local historian, has researched this subject extensively and has developed a map that shows the location of each of the Fort Dodge neighborhoods. If you think that was an easy undertaking, you would be very mistaken.
"You could really go crazy on a map like that because there were dozens and dozens of developments - the Brown development, the Oleson development, the Butler development," Nelson told Today Magazine. "And they would overflow into each other."
Telling the story of this city's traditional neighborhoods is much more than a history lesson. It is the rich saga of the many generations of Fort Dodgers who turned a spot on the 19th-century Midwestern prairie into a thriving 21st-century community.
Learning a bit more about the history of one's hometown is always both worthwhile and fun. The current and upcoming 12 issues of Today Magazine should prove especially worthwhile in that regard and promise to become collector's items.