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Fort Dodge

FORT DODGE, a city and the county-seat of Webster county, Iowa, U.S.A., on the Des Moines river, 85 m. (by rail) N. by W. from Des Moines. Pop. (1890) 4871; (1900) 12,162; (1905, state census) 14,369, (2269 being foreign-born); (1910) 15,543. It is served by the Illinois Central, the Chicago Great Western, the Minneapolis & Saint Louis, and the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern railways, the last an electric interurban line. Eureka Springs and Wild Cat Cave are of interest to visitors, and attractive scenery is furnished by the river and its bordering bluffs. The river is here spanned by the Chicago Great Western railway steel bridge, or viaduct, one of the longest in the country. Fort Dodge is the seat of Tobin College (420 students in 1907-1908), a commercial and business school, with preparatory, normal and classical departments, and courses in oratory and music; among its other institutions are St Paul's school (Evangelical Lutheran), two Roman Catholic schools, Corpus Christi Academy and the Sacred Heart school, Our Lady of Lourdes convent and a Carnegie library. Oleson Park and Reynold's Park are the city's principal parks. Immediately surrounding Fort Dodge is a rich farming country. To the E. of the city lies a gypsum bed, extending over an area of about 50 sq. m., and considered to be the most valuable in the United States; to the S. coal abounds; there are also limestone quarries and deposits of clay in the vicinity - the clay being, for the most part, obtained by mining. Fort Dodge is a market for the products of the surrounding country, and is a shipping centre of considerable importance. It has various manufactures, including gypsum, plaster, oatmeal, brick and tile, sewer pipe, pottery, foundry and machine-shop products, and shoes. In 1905 the value of all the factory products was $3,025,659, an increase of 200.8% over that for 1900. Fort Clark was erected on the site in 1850 to protect settlers against the Indians; in 1851 the name was changed by order of the secretary of war to Fort Dodge in honour of Colonel Henry Dodge (1782-1867), who was a lieutenant-colonel of Missouri Volunteers in the War of 1812, served with distinction as a colonel of Michigan Mounted Volunteers in the Black Hawk War, resigned from the military service in March 1833, was governor of Wisconsin Territory from 1836 to 1841 and from 1846 to 1848, and was a delegate from Wisconsin Territory to Congress from 1841 to 1845, and a United States senator from Wisconsin in 1848-1857. The fort was abandoned in 1853, and in 1854 a town was laid out. It was chartered as a city in 1869. From the gypsum beds near Fort Dodge was taken in 1868 the block of gypsum from which was modelled the "Cardiff Giant," a rudely-fashioned human figure, which was buried near Cardiff, Onondaga county, New York, where it was "discovered" late in 1869. It was then exhibited in various parts of the country as a "petrified man." The hoax was finally exposed by Professor Othniel C. Marsh of Yale; and George Hall of Binghamton, N.Y., confessed to the fraud, his object having been to discredit belief in the "giants" of Genesis vi. 4. (See "The Cardiff Giant: the True Story of a Remarkable Deception," by Andrew D. White, in the Century Magazine, vol. xlii., 1902.)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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