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Website puts Fort Dodge history at our fingertips

Did you know that the military post named Fort Dodge was an active post for only for two and a half years?

Did you know that the county seat for Webster County might have been decided by a wrestling match that involved John Duncombe, a highly distinguished Fort Dodge attorney and state senator?

Did you know that Bill Tilghman, a Fort Dodge boy, became the chief law enforcement officer of Dodge City, Kansas, and was known as one of our nation’s greatest sheriffs; possibly greater than Wyatt Earp?

Did you know that George E.Q. Johnson, who was born and raised in Webster County, was the prosecuting attorney that convicted and sent to prison the famous Chicago mob boss, Al Capone?

These are just four examples of hundreds of interesting facts and accounts on our Fort Dodge History website. In fact, historians will tell you that our community and county has some of the richest history in the state of Iowa.

Up until now, most of this information could only be accessed by digging through files stored on the shelves in the office of the Webster County Historical Society. Or by tediously navigating the microfilm files at the Public Library.

The Fort Dodge Community Foundation is putting this information at everyone’s fingertips by launching this new historical website on the history and culture of Fort Dodge and Webster County. The internet domain is www.fortdodgehistory.com. With assistance from Roger Natte and the Webster County Historical Society and The Messenger, our staff with the Fort Dodge Community Foundation has put this information together in an easy to read digital format.

Our community is blessed with a dynamic history, vibrant culture, rich traditions and interesting nostalgia. Learning about and celebrating the history of our community is important because it allows us to know our past, understand our present and shape our future. Our history provides us with insight into our community’s culture, traditions and folklore. It details the progress and growth of our community and how it happened. Celebrating our history helps us gain greater appreciation and respect for the amazing leadership, commitment and sacrifice that early Fort Dodgers made to build and grow our community from its beginnings in 1850 through the decades that followed. It helps us appreciate the context of how our community’s history was so notably integrated into the history and development of our state and the pioneer movement that built and expanded our nation. Knowing about our community’s interesting and inspiring history will create greater appreciation for the place we call home.

Throughout Fort Dodge’s history, there have been an abundant number of truly amazing people that made a significant impact on our community. This website has over 100 biographies of iconic Fort Dodgers and we will continue to add to this list of distinguished people. We also have narratives on all the eras of our community from our beginnings up to 1940. We will continue to add more historical and nostalgic information on the decades that follow. The website also includes sections on historic buildings, places, events, industry, schools, churches, healthcare and sports, plus memorable nostalgia.

Fortdodgehistory.com encourages people of all ages to learn, embrace and enjoy the robust history, abounding culture, and fond memories of our community. This website continues to be a work in progress and we welcome input from citizens on historical people and events, cultural tidbits and nostalgic memories. If you have information that can enhance our website, please contact us and let us know. You can reach me at the Fort Dodge Community Foundation by contacting Randy Kuhlman: 515-573-3171, email rk@fd-foundation.org or Amy Bruno: 515-573-3180, email amy@fd-foundation.org.

Randy Kuhlman is the chief executive officer of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation.

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