History helps shape FD’s future

100-year-old buildings are honored and celebrated

As Fort Dodge looks toward tomorrow, it is important to remember and take advantage of its history.

That’s why it is very good news that the game plan for revitalizing the city’s historic downtown commercial district is paying due regard to the architectural treasures from yesterday, some of which can be a dynamic part of the future.

Central Avenue and nearby venues boast a large number of buildings that can be renovated and repurposed to be superb housing or business locales in the years ahead.

This week, the Fort Dodge Historic Preservation Commission paid tribute to three of Fort Dodge’s existing 100-year-old buildings, two of which have been re-imagined for the decades ahead.

The former Prusia Hardware building, 610 Central Ave., now houses Heartland Senior Living, an apartment complex. Many Fort Dodgers will recall that it was the site of the local Sears, Roebuck & Co. store from 1936 to 1964. Since its construction, it has been the tallest building in downtown Fort Dodge. It’s rebirth as an innovative residential address has preserved many of its most impressive structural features.

The Rehder Cadillac building, 728 First Ave. N., remains an active downtown business property after more than 100 years. It is now known as E&R Properties.

The Wahkonsa Annex, 927 Central Ave., was originally built as a four-story structure in 1916. The top three stories were added later. The structure served as a hotel until the 1970s when it was converted into apartments. As dramatic plans to construct a new recreation and cultural center in the heart of downtown Fort Dodge materialize over the next few years, the Wahkonsa Annex will disappear as a new building emerges.

The Messenger applauds the Fort Dodge Historic Preservation Commission for helping us recognize that some of our town’s oldest buildings can play vital roles in the community’s future success. It is also helping us recall structures that once were important but now exist only in our memories.