We stopped in Fort Dodge, Iowa today and took some time to visit the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.
It was not exactly what we had expected:
- The original fort in the area was Fort Clarke, not Fort Dodge. But there was already a Fort Clark in Texas (slightly different spelling) so it was renamed to Fort Dodge.
- Fort Dodge was not located where the museum and frontier village sits. The museum site is beside highway US-20, a very busy roadway before the interstate highways were built.
- The original fort did not look like the museum replica, there were no wooden stockade fences and blockhouses. The original fort was very like the Texas frontier forts such as: Fort Davis, Fort Concho and Fort Stockton. This is a replica of the 1862 Iowa Lake Stockade.
- Fort Dodge had about 30 buildings was manned by members of 1st United States Dragoon. They had the mission to prevent conflict between the Indians and settlers in the area. At that time, many Indian tribes had treaties with the USA, providing protection and land that was being encroached on by settlers moving westward.
- There is only one original building at the museum that was relocated there from its original location.
- The museum looks like tourists thought a western fort should have looked, AND it was just beside the highway!!! DAD CAN WE PLEASE STOP???
However, the museum and village are interesting to tour and well worth your time.
There is a large quantity of artifacts from the 1800’s era that are interesting. The Cardiff Giant also resides at the museum. This giant is a carved gypsum statue of a mummified man that was used as a hoax back in 1869. George Hull, an atheist, decided to create the giant after an argument at a Methodist revival meeting about Genesis 6:4 stating that there were giants who once lived on Earth. For the complete story click here.
We camped at the county fairgrounds which was a nice place to camp. It was getting busy as people arrived and began setting up for a flea market that weekend. There were nice people running the place.