Education

HISTORY
History of the Public Schools

1845

Fort Dodge has a long history of education. Parochial schools played a significant role in Fort Dodge education beginning in the 1860’s.

Read More


Fort Dodge has a long history of education. The first school in Fort Dodge was taught by C. C. Carpenter, (a young surveyor who later became the Governor of Iowa) in the winter of 1854-55. The first school in Fort Dodge was housed in the bake house of garrison soldiers, prior to 1956.

There were twenty students. With the need for more space, the second school was located further west of the original school in the only church and temperance hall in Fort Dodge. Dexter Weller was the teacher and there were forty students. Legend has it that the school was so cold during the winter that the ink froze while the students were using it and the drinking water froze in the pails before the students could drink it.

The third school, started in 1856, was the first public school. Henry Gunn was the first teacher. This school was located at the corner of 2nd Avenue South and 7th Street. It was a two-story brick building known as “Old Brick” and served as a public school for twelve years. “Old Brick” was the only public building in town and was used for holding court, political meetings, church, festivals and other public affairs. After the Spirit Lake Massacre, many local settlers living north and west of Fort Dodge took refuge in “Old Brick”. It was also where the two companies for the Spirit Lake expedition were organized to make the trek to bury the dead and confront the Indians after the Massacre.

Fort Dodge had its first divided school in 1860, with an upper and a lower grade. The school continued for three years. Following the war, the number of students grew in Fort Dodge grew significant by 1868. The school board built a large frame school house at Second Avenue South and Eighth Street to house the extra students. It had three rooms and was used until 1869.

In 1869, Fort Dodge had grown in population, so bonds were issued and a new twelve-room school was started at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and 10th Street. However, five months later on January 20, 1870, the school building burned to the ground. The school board used the insurance they collected and began a new building on the same location, Second Avenue North and Tenth Street. This new building was ready for use in the fall of 1872. Until it was completed, classes were held in various places: churches, empty store rooms, etc. The new building was named for D. K. Lincoln, president of the school board and an outstanding citizen. The building was then on the edge of town, and people complained of having to send their children “way out on the prairie” to school. It was often referred to as the “School on the Prairie.” The Lincoln School housed all grades, with the high school on the third floor.

In 1869, the Lincoln School was the only public school building in Fort Dodge. In 1872 the teaching staff consisted of ten women and one man. Early records do not speak of anyone as principal but refer simply to superintendent, or professor, as he was called. The high school became known for its progressive ideas. New supplies needed in the building were paid for by socials, programs, bazaars, suppers, etc., which students and teachers worked out as money-making projects. Lincoln School had about 350 pupils in attendance. The first high school graduating class was in 1875 – two young women and one young man made up the graduating class. In 1877 there was no graduating class. In 1878 seven students graduated and in 1879 only four. This was at a time when most Iowa towns only carried education through 8th grade. In 1875, there were very few high schools in Iowa, as many Iowans did not see high school as an educational necessity.

Even by 1890, high school level education was still fairly rare in Iowa as there were only 88 school districts in the state that offered four years of high school. Government and educational leaders at the state harbored concerns about the education system in Iowa. They argued that the organization of high schools reflected the growing public need for higher education and the high school should be the crowning glory of Iowa’s public education system. At that time, the existing high school curriculum was influenced by college admission requirements. This was a problem, because most students at that time required education and training for bookkeeping, business, journalism, dressmaking, agriculture and other “trade” type jobs, rather than a university education.

The 1890s were a time of soul-searching for Iowa educators. Out of the ferment of debate and discussion emerged a consensus around the belief that public schools must identify with the democratic, scientific, and technological forces of modern society and that they must reach out to all segments of the population. In so doing, the schools must work with other social agencies, such as the home, the church, and business, to educate the whole child: "the head, the heart, and the hand," to use a recurring phrase of the time.

Outside of the city in the county, one-room school houses were very common. In fact, in the state of Iowa there were as many as 12,000 to 14,000 one-room school houses at one time. Some national educational reports indicated that Iowa had more one-room school houses than any other state in the nation. Generally, a school was constructed near the center of the sub-district in every township so that no child had to travel more than two miles to school. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the kids all walked to school.

By 1897 the population of Fort Dodge had grown to 14,000. A new high school building was necessary. It was built on First Avenue North and Tenth Street. It was a three story building of yellow brick with many large windows and three outstanding entrances. Every foot of space in it was used. An unusually high basement had been built so that it could house the superintendent’s office, three recitation rooms, a bicycle room, a gymnasium, coal, boiler, and heating coil rooms.

The period between 1890 to 1920 was a time of educational growth and reform in Iowa which impacted education in Fort Dodge. The education movement began transitioning from the small, one-room country school approach, to a more regulated and large school model for providing public education. Consolidations started occurring shortly after the turn of the 20th century, but they started reaching a fever pitch when the automobile – and reliable roads – became a mainstay. Turn-of-the-last-century education reform – compulsory attendance through age 14 and required curriculum and textbooks – put the one-room schools on track to eventual demise.

Between 1890 to 1922, the population of Fort Dodge grew significantly and the need for more schools became a priority. During this time period, eleven schools were organized and constructed in Fort Dodge.

1890: Arey School was built

1891: Wahkonsa School was built

1893: The first Riverside School was built

1897: New High School on 1st Ave. North

1910: Butler School built

1912: Second Wahkonsa School built to replace the first one that burnt

1912: Duncombe School built

1914: Pleasant Valley School built

1917: Carpenter School built

1917: Hawley School built

1922: Fort Dodge High School

In 1899, there were thirty-eight teachers employed, not including the superintendent, and the buildings then in use were the Pottery, First Ward, West Fort Dodge, Arey, Wahkonsa, Lincoln, and the new high school building.

Most of the social activities held by high school groups in the early days were held in the homes. Football was introduced into the school in 1894. Interclass baseball was also played. In 1897 basketball for both boys and girls appeared. Those who played football in those days furnished their own equipment and did the coaching themselves.

The music department of the high school did not get underway until 1909. Then the first orchestra had six members. Athletics continued to grow in importance and around 1910 a coach was hired. An area for an athletic field was bought just east of Duncombe School.

In June of 1907. the high school building was damaged by fire. Because it was not totally destroyed, it was restored and ready for school in the fall. Due to an increased enrollment, several rooms were enlarged.

By 1918, the high school building on First Avenue North rapidly became outgrown. In 1919, petitions were started to ask the Board of Education to call an election to vote to issue bonds so a new lot might be bought and a new school be built and equipped. The vote for a new school carried easily.

Because Fort Dodge had spread out on both sides of the river and the distances from outlying districts were great, the question of a location for a new school was important. A consultant from Iowa City surveyed the city, found the center of population, and suggested a location. The Board then chose the site located at 1015 5th Ave North. The building was ready in September, 1922. It was built of dark red brick and is three stories high. Compared to the previous high school, it looked large and massive. (This building eventually became North Junior High after the new high school was built in 1958).

In 1921 the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school. The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

During the following three decades, education continued to transform but no new school buildings were built until World War II ended. In the late 1940s and through the 1950’s, the rural population began to decline and with educational regulations increasing and stricter teacher qualification standards, maintaining the country schools was no longer feasible. As county roads continued to develop and vehicles improved, bus transportation also became a better option. When country school students began attending school “in town” in the late 50’s and early 60’s, it put a squeeze on the available space. The “Baby Boom” generation of students hit Fort Dodge and the community had to respond by building five new schools including a new high school in 1958. By the early 1970’s, public school enrollment hit all-time highs. The schools listed here were built during this period:

Fort Dodge Senior High and Junior College (1958)

Highland Park School (1952)

Hillcrest School (1956)

Cooper School (1956)

New High School (1958)

Feelhaver School (1968)

At the start of the 21st century, the schools built in the 1950’s had aged and three new schools have been built; the new Butler Elementary School in 1999; the new Middle School in 2013 and the new Duncombe Elementary School in 2017.

All four Fort Dodge elementary schools were named after iconic Fort Dodge leaders;

Butler Elementary: Name after J.B. Butler, an education leader and school board member for 27 years.

Feelhaver Elementary: Named after Charles Feelhaver, a highly respected school superintendent for Fort Dodge for twenty years

Duncombe Elementary: Named after the renowned Fort Dodge attorney, school board president and community leader, Charles Duncombe.

Cooper Elementary: Name after Fred Cooper, renowned coach and educational leader

Today, public school enrollment is approximately 3,600 students. Fort Dodge Community Schools offer one early learning center, four elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. The Fort Dodge Community School System offers students a wide range of academic courses, vocation classes, athletic, arts and extracurricular activities.

Sources:

*Iowa Department of Education

*Iowa Biographies Project: History of Fort Dodge and Webster County, Iowa… by H. M. Pratt

1913 - Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Company

*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Wikipedia





Arey Elementary School

1889

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. 

Read More


Arey School

The streets of Fort Dodge were not always named as they now are. In the earlier days of Fort Dodge Arey School would have been located between Walnut and Locust, Morrison and Main streets. Today these streets have become First and Second avenues, Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The school was located at intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street.

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. These four rooms were torn down in 1900 so that a larger building (shown here) could be built that was finished in 1901.

At first the playground was very small so in 1915 the board of education bought the north half of the block. There was a house on the lot so they moved it west of the main building and made a kindergarten room and a room for domestic science classes in it. Later the domestic science classes were sent to another building. In the same year they also made a basement room of the main building into a classroom where the preliminary class met. The preliminary class was really the kindergarten A class, but in the earlier years the children learned how to read and had a separate teacher.

Arey Grade School Alumni – Around the late 50’s

The large lot which had been purchased for a playground was often flooded and made into an ice skating rink in winter. During the summer the playground was used for recreation purposes.

When the preliminary group became kindergarten “A” and was taught by the regular kindergarten teacher, the basement room became an assembly and music room. An upstairs room, not needed as a classroom, was converted into an attractive all school library in 1943.

With the growth of population and an outdated building, a new Arey Elementary School was built in the same location at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street. The new Arey School was built in 1965. The Arey Elementary School was closed in the 1980’s and was converted into the public school administration office building.

Sources
*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Fort Dodge – Postcard History …. Megan Bygness and Pamela Bygness





Butler School

1906

Butler School began in a rented house on south Twenty-second street in 1906. The school board rented a one-room house, and three grades were taught in it.

Read More


On December 20, 1863, the first constitution was adopted, as a small group of early settlers in Fort Dodge organized the First German Evangelical Lutheran Church and called the Rev. G. Endres as its first pastor. Services were held in the old Episcopal church. In 1864 a building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South where the first St. Paul church was erected. It was built of native gypsum rock recovered from quarries by members of the congregation. The original church was 24 X 40 feet by 16 feet tall. All woodwork in the edifice was of black walnut.

At the same time in 1863, the German Lutheran School was organized. Education was very important to the German settlers so arrangements were made to use some of the members’ homes as schools. These homes were located on 1st Avenue North, South 8th Street and 3rd Avenue South. A year later a church building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South

where the first German Lutheran Church was built. The church was also used for school purposes. When the pews were made they included a drop leaf on the back and during the weekdays these were used for school desks. The school first opened in the old stone church in December 1864.

Both the church services and classes were taught in German.

In 1868, the first “Kinderfest” school picnic was held. This festival usually marked the close of the school year and was generally celebrated on the 4th of July. The custom prevailed for many years until the more formal practice of commencement became popular. In fact, in 1904, 2,500 members of the German Lutheran Church and their friends celebrated this event in Oleson Park, accompanied by the Juvenile Band and boarding a street car on Central Avenue to travel to Oleson Park.

When a new church was dedicated in 1886, the old church was used as a school. However, by 1893, the congregation was growing rapidly and the old church wasn’t large enough to accommodate all the students. The congregation sold the property and bought a building site on 2nd Avenue South between 6th and 7th streets and built a two story brick building. It was dedicated in 1894.

In 1916, the beginning of the school year, which until that time had been at Easter time, was made to conform to that of the public school in the first week of September. The growth of young people’s work in the congregation necessitated an assembly room. A spacious hall was provided in the attic of the school building.

A new church was built the early 1930‘s and a kindergarten was added to the school in 1932. By the 1950’s, they had outgrown the current school and a new school was built and dedicated on April 22, 1951 It was expanded in 1959, and in 1972, a preschool was organized at St. Paul Lutheran School. In 1999, the school was remodeled.

In 1999, the church suffered a devastating fire that was set by vandals and was destroyed. The school was saved, but was unusable. Classes were moved to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and remained there for the rest of the school year. Classes were able to resume in the fall; the church was rebuilt and was put into use in 2003.

Today, St. Paul Lutheran School continues to be a Christ-centered school trusting in God’s blessings and guidance, providing education for students K – 8th grade. While valuing its Lutheran heritage where students are daily in God’s Word, the school continues to value the partnership between church, school, and family, just as its pioneers leaders did over 150 years ago.

St. Paul Lutheran School is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod School System.

Sources:

*St. Paul 150th: Our History

*www.stpaulfd.org





Carpenter Elementary School

1917

Carpenter School has the honor of being named for ex-governor Cyrus Clay Carpenter, the teacher of the first public school in Fort Dodge.

Read More


Arey School

The streets of Fort Dodge were not always named as they now are. In the earlier days of Fort Dodge Arey School would have been located between Walnut and Locust, Morrison and Main streets. Today these streets have become First and Second avenues, Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The school was located at intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street.

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. These four rooms were torn down in 1900 so that a larger building (shown here) could be built that was finished in 1901.

At first the playground was very small so in 1915 the board of education bought the north half of the block. There was a house on the lot so they moved it west of the main building and made a kindergarten room and a room for domestic science classes in it. Later the domestic science classes were sent to another building. In the same year they also made a basement room of the main building into a classroom where the preliminary class met. The preliminary class was really the kindergarten A class, but in the earlier years the children learned how to read and had a separate teacher.

Arey Grade School Alumni – Around the late 50’s

The large lot which had been purchased for a playground was often flooded and made into an ice skating rink in winter. During the summer the playground was used for recreation purposes.

When the preliminary group became kindergarten “A” and was taught by the regular kindergarten teacher, the basement room became an assembly and music room. An upstairs room, not needed as a classroom, was converted into an attractive all school library in 1943.

With the growth of population and an outdated building, a new Arey Elementary School was built in the same location at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street. The new Arey School was built in 1965. The Arey Elementary School was closed in the 1980’s and was converted into the public school administration office building.

Sources
*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Fort Dodge – Postcard History …. Megan Bygness and Pamela Bygness





Read More


On December 20, 1863, the first constitution was adopted, as a small group of early settlers in Fort Dodge organized the First German Evangelical Lutheran Church and called the Rev. G. Endres as its first pastor. Services were held in the old Episcopal church. In 1864 a building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South where the first St. Paul church was erected. It was built of native gypsum rock recovered from quarries by members of the congregation. The original church was 24 X 40 feet by 16 feet tall. All woodwork in the edifice was of black walnut.

At the same time in 1863, the German Lutheran School was organized. Education was very important to the German settlers so arrangements were made to use some of the members’ homes as schools. These homes were located on 1st Avenue North, South 8th Street and 3rd Avenue South. A year later a church building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South

where the first German Lutheran Church was built. The church was also used for school purposes. When the pews were made they included a drop leaf on the back and during the weekdays these were used for school desks. The school first opened in the old stone church in December 1864.

Both the church services and classes were taught in German.

In 1868, the first “Kinderfest” school picnic was held. This festival usually marked the close of the school year and was generally celebrated on the 4th of July. The custom prevailed for many years until the more formal practice of commencement became popular. In fact, in 1904, 2,500 members of the German Lutheran Church and their friends celebrated this event in Oleson Park, accompanied by the Juvenile Band and boarding a street car on Central Avenue to travel to Oleson Park.

When a new church was dedicated in 1886, the old church was used as a school. However, by 1893, the congregation was growing rapidly and the old church wasn’t large enough to accommodate all the students. The congregation sold the property and bought a building site on 2nd Avenue South between 6th and 7th streets and built a two story brick building. It was dedicated in 1894.

In 1916, the beginning of the school year, which until that time had been at Easter time, was made to conform to that of the public school in the first week of September. The growth of young people’s work in the congregation necessitated an assembly room. A spacious hall was provided in the attic of the school building.

A new church was built the early 1930‘s and a kindergarten was added to the school in 1932. By the 1950’s, they had outgrown the current school and a new school was built and dedicated on April 22, 1951 It was expanded in 1959, and in 1972, a preschool was organized at St. Paul Lutheran School. In 1999, the school was remodeled.

In 1999, the church suffered a devastating fire that was set by vandals and was destroyed. The school was saved, but was unusable. Classes were moved to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and remained there for the rest of the school year. Classes were able to resume in the fall; the church was rebuilt and was put into use in 2003.

Today, St. Paul Lutheran School continues to be a Christ-centered school trusting in God’s blessings and guidance, providing education for students K – 8th grade. While valuing its Lutheran heritage where students are daily in God’s Word, the school continues to value the partnership between church, school, and family, just as its pioneers leaders did over 150 years ago.

St. Paul Lutheran School is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod School System.

Sources:

*St. Paul 150th: Our History

*www.stpaulfd.org





Community Christian School

1978

Giving the Fort Dodge area an option for Christian-based, protestant education, Community Christian School has a history of providing high quality educational services in the Fort Dodge area since 1978.

Duncombe School

1912

When the land for Duncombe School was purchased, it was a truck garden planted with corn. There were only two or three houses to the north of the school and none to the east. So the school was practically out in the country.

Read More


Construction of Duncombe School was begun in 1912 when the school board saw there was a growing need for a school in the northeast section of the city. When the land for Duncombe School was purchased, it was a truck garden planted with corn. There were only two or three houses to the north of the school and none to the east. So the school was practically out in the country.

When the plan for the building was made, it called for eight classrooms, a community room, office, and a rest room. Many people said this was too large a building for the needs of the time. But the school board realized that this section of the city would grow. This proved to be true because the very first year the school was used, all eight rooms were filled, and a kindergarten was arranged for in the basement. They were still crowded for space. So the office became a supply room and the rest room an office. Later the community room became two classrooms making the building an eleven classroom structure operating on three floors.

In 1925 an annex of two rooms, moved over from Lincoln School, was added, making a total of thirteen classrooms in use. The upper hall was also used for classes.

One of the reasons for the great need of classrooms was that the seventh and eighth grades were enrolled at Duncombe until the junior high was established in 1931. When the seventh and eighth graders went over to the Junior High there was more room available and the annex became space used as an assembly room for students and community activities. The basement of the annex was used as a practice room for high school wrestlers.

The building was named after Charles F. Duncombe who was president of the board of education at the time the school was constructed and was a distinguished citizen.

One of the outstanding features of the school was the large playground which covered two square blocks. The large field to the east of the school was the athletic field for high school football, baseball, and track practice until Dodger Field was completed.

In 2015, bricks began to fall from the 100 year old building forcing the building to be closed for safety reasons. The Duncombe School students were temporarily relocated to the former Fair Oaks Middle School that was previously closed when the new Fort Dodge Middle School Building opened in 2013. A bond referendum was passed by the citizens of Fort Dodge in 2016 to build a new Duncombe Elementary School at the same location as the original Duncombe School.

In 2017, the new Duncombe Elementary School was opened, replacing the 105 year structure. Duncombe Elementary serves approximately 450 students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff





Fort Dodge High School

1869

By 1868 the ever increasing school population of Fort Dodge had outgrown three upgraded buildings. So in that year bonds were issued, and a new twelve-room school house was started. It was ready for the school year in September, 1869.

Read More


In 1921, the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school on Fifth Avenue North.

The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

For four years only the freshman year was offered and it wasn’t until 1925 that the sophomore year was added. The first class, consisting of thirty-one students, graduated from the junior college in 1926. The curriculum was limited to the traditional liberal arts until the 1950s when vocational courses and adult education were added and the school was renamed the Fort Dodge Community College which recognized the change.

In 1953, Fort Dodge Community College introduced a two year elementary teaching program and in 1960 the college became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a two year program for registered nurses which replaced the three year hospital associated program.

With the construction of the new high school in 1958, the college followed the high school to the new location. In 1960 the college was recognized as a separate entity from the high school with its own administrative structure. In 1965 the voters of Fort Dodge passed a bond issue for constructing buildings solely for the college and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation gave 100 acres just to west of Friendship Haven for a new college campus. The same year the state legislature passed landmark legislation creating the state wide community college system and Fort Dodge Community College became Iowa Central Community College with a nine county district.

Iowa Central was organized in 1966 after the State of Iowa issued a mandate that required the state to offer a vast array of educational opportunities to the residents of its nine-county area. Iowa Central was built on the foundation of three area junior colleges which had been operating in the region since the 1920’s by the local public school systems. Fort Dodge Junior College (organized in 1921), Webster City Junior College (organized in 1926) and Eagle Grove Junior College (organized in 1928) joined forces to become Iowa Central as a result of the Area School Act, passed by Iowa’s 61st General Assembly. This legislation authorized two or more county school systems to merge to form an area community college.

Nine counties comprise the Iowa Central region: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. The resulting Merged Area V has approximately 28,000 students in 31 public school districts. In 1971, a fourth center was added with the completion of a new building in Storm Lake.

Dr. Edwin Barbour became the first president of Iowa Central Community College, who at that time had been Eagle Grove’s superintendent of schools for more than a decade. Barbour served as president from 1966 through 1983. Dr. Barbour recalled the beginning this way: “When I became superintendent in the summer of 1966, only the foundations of the science and library buildings on the north end of our complex had been poured. Those buildings had been authorized by voters of the Fort Dodge Community School District which was then operating the two-year college. There was a soybean field where our administration and voc-tech buildings and parking lots now are, a vacant lot bordering U.S. 20 where the dormitories are…. We were scattered all over. The Dodge Building – a former bowling alley bordering U.S. 169, which later became Iowa Central Rehabilitation Industries – was one of our centers. We had seven temporary metal buildings as classrooms; we rented the old 4-H building on the grounds and the Shaffer Building near the Expo Pool.”

In 1975, Iowa Central joined with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake in a cooperative venture whereby students can earn a bachelor’s degree attending evening classes. The students’ first two years are completed at Iowa Central and the final two years at Buena Vista at the Fort Dodge center.

Today, Iowa Central has over 5,000 students of which 1,100 live on campus. Iowa Centrals offers 45 different degrees that transfer to a four year college; it has over 100 programs from which to choose; over 60 career and technical programs; Iowa Central holds 40 national championship titles and the student /teacher ratio is 19:1.

Iowa Central also partners with local high schools, whereby high school students can earn “dual credits” by taking “Early Bird” classes (i.e., college courses offered at Fort Dodge Senior High) at the high school and receive college credit upon completion. The high school provides the instructor. High school students can also take online courses and earn college credit while in high school.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge Historical Society - Fort Dodge History…. Roger Natte

*Messenger Newspaper… October 4, 2016

*www.iowacentral.edu

*Wikipedia





Fort Dodge Junior College/Iowa Central Community College

1921

In 1921 the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times.

Read More


In 1921, the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school on Fifth Avenue North.

The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

For four years only the freshman year was offered and it wasn’t until 1925 that the sophomore year was added. The first class, consisting of thirty-one students, graduated from the junior college in 1926. The curriculum was limited to the traditional liberal arts until the 1950s when vocational courses and adult education were added and the school was renamed the Fort Dodge Community College which recognized the change.

In 1953, Fort Dodge Community College introduced a two year elementary teaching program and in 1960 the college became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a two year program for registered nurses which replaced the three year hospital associated program.

With the construction of the new high school in 1958, the college followed the high school to the new location. In 1960 the college was recognized as a separate entity from the high school with its own administrative structure. In 1965 the voters of Fort Dodge passed a bond issue for constructing buildings solely for the college and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation gave 100 acres just to west of Friendship Haven for a new college campus. The same year the state legislature passed landmark legislation creating the state wide community college system and Fort Dodge Community College became Iowa Central Community College with a nine county district.

Iowa Central was organized in 1966 after the State of Iowa issued a mandate that required the state to offer a vast array of educational opportunities to the residents of its nine-county area. Iowa Central was built on the foundation of three area junior colleges which had been operating in the region since the 1920’s by the local public school systems. Fort Dodge Junior College (organized in 1921), Webster City Junior College (organized in 1926) and Eagle Grove Junior College (organized in 1928) joined forces to become Iowa Central as a result of the Area School Act, passed by Iowa’s 61st General Assembly. This legislation authorized two or more county school systems to merge to form an area community college.

Nine counties comprise the Iowa Central region: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. The resulting Merged Area V has approximately 28,000 students in 31 public school districts. In 1971, a fourth center was added with the completion of a new building in Storm Lake.

Dr. Edwin Barbour became the first president of Iowa Central Community College, who at that time had been Eagle Grove’s superintendent of schools for more than a decade. Barbour served as president from 1966 through 1983. Dr. Barbour recalled the beginning this way: “When I became superintendent in the summer of 1966, only the foundations of the science and library buildings on the north end of our complex had been poured. Those buildings had been authorized by voters of the Fort Dodge Community School District which was then operating the two-year college. There was a soybean field where our administration and voc-tech buildings and parking lots now are, a vacant lot bordering U.S. 20 where the dormitories are…. We were scattered all over. The Dodge Building – a former bowling alley bordering U.S. 169, which later became Iowa Central Rehabilitation Industries – was one of our centers. We had seven temporary metal buildings as classrooms; we rented the old 4-H building on the grounds and the Shaffer Building near the Expo Pool.”

In 1975, Iowa Central joined with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake in a cooperative venture whereby students can earn a bachelor’s degree attending evening classes. The students’ first two years are completed at Iowa Central and the final two years at Buena Vista at the Fort Dodge center.

Today, Iowa Central has over 5,000 students of which 1,100 live on campus. Iowa Centrals offers 45 different degrees that transfer to a four year college; it has over 100 programs from which to choose; over 60 career and technical programs; Iowa Central holds 40 national championship titles and the student /teacher ratio is 19:1.

Iowa Central also partners with local high schools, whereby high school students can earn “dual credits” by taking “Early Bird” classes (i.e., college courses offered at Fort Dodge Senior High) at the high school and receive college credit upon completion. The high school provides the instructor. High school students can also take online courses and earn college credit while in high school.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge Historical Society - Fort Dodge History…. Roger Natte

*Messenger Newspaper… October 4, 2016

*www.iowacentral.edu

*Wikipedia





Fort Dodge Junior High

1922

The Junior High was organized in 1922 in the old Senior High Building when the new senior high building was completed in that year, and the four upper grades were transferred there.

Read More


The citizens of the district of Pleasant Valley were given the privilege of choosing a name for their new school building. They chose the name, “Pleasant Valley”, because it describes the valley well, and because they hoped the school might be a pleasant place for everyone who worked there.

The Pleasant Valley district was known as the First Ward school in the earlier days. It has been impossible to locate the data of the first school house in the district. Early settlers think that the district is about 60 years old, but they do not know where the first building was located nor when it was built.

The first records found were in some school board notes of March 15, 1887. This seems to mean that the first school property in the district was bought in that year.

The building was known as the First Ward Building, Number 2. It was a one-room school house with an outside well and other inconveniences the children of the present day school never knew. The school had three grades and one teacher. By 1908 this school had grown to a three-room frame building with a teaching staff of three. The building was heated by stoves while water pails and public drinking cups provided water for the pupils.

In 1913 a Parent-Teacher Association was formed. That spring a petition for a new building was started and circulated. A special election was held, and money for a new school was voted. In 1914 the present school building was ready, having been built just across from the three-room building.

The brick building has seven classrooms and a gymnasium which is much used by the children as well as being a recreation center for adults in 1843 one end of the upper hall was converted into an all school library to which all grades come as part of their regular classwork.





Hawley School

1917

Hawley School has one of the most beautiful settings in Fort Dodge. It is situated in the northwest part of the city on a lovely ridge called Round Prairie. There are still many virgin trees around to add to the pleasant environment.

Hawley School.JPG

Read More


Arey School

The streets of Fort Dodge were not always named as they now are. In the earlier days of Fort Dodge Arey School would have been located between Walnut and Locust, Morrison and Main streets. Today these streets have become First and Second avenues, Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The school was located at intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street.

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. These four rooms were torn down in 1900 so that a larger building (shown here) could be built that was finished in 1901.

At first the playground was very small so in 1915 the board of education bought the north half of the block. There was a house on the lot so they moved it west of the main building and made a kindergarten room and a room for domestic science classes in it. Later the domestic science classes were sent to another building. In the same year they also made a basement room of the main building into a classroom where the preliminary class met. The preliminary class was really the kindergarten A class, but in the earlier years the children learned how to read and had a separate teacher.

Arey Grade School Alumni – Around the late 50’s

The large lot which had been purchased for a playground was often flooded and made into an ice skating rink in winter. During the summer the playground was used for recreation purposes.

When the preliminary group became kindergarten “A” and was taught by the regular kindergarten teacher, the basement room became an assembly and music room. An upstairs room, not needed as a classroom, was converted into an attractive all school library in 1943.

With the growth of population and an outdated building, a new Arey Elementary School was built in the same location at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street. The new Arey School was built in 1965. The Arey Elementary School was closed in the 1980’s and was converted into the public school administration office building.

Sources
*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Fort Dodge – Postcard History …. Megan Bygness and Pamela Bygness





Lincoln School

1868

Lincoln School is the oldest of the school buildings in this city. In 1868, many students came into Fort Dodge. The school board saw a need for more room, so the first brick school building in Fort Dodge was completed on Lincoln School grounds.

Read More


Lincoln School is the oldest of the school buildings in this city. In 1868, many students came into Fort Dodge. The school board saw a need for more room, so the first brick school building in Fort Dodge was completed on Lincoln School grounds. It was out in the country at that time and large enough to house all school children in the city of Fort Dodge.

This first Lincoln School stood for eight months and then burned to the ground. The fire broke out at noon when the building was almost empty, so no lives were lost. The board collected insurance and built another school which was ready in 1872. Lincoln School was not named for Abraham Lincoln, but for D. K. Lincoln, president of the school board and an outstanding citizen.

When Lincoln School was first built, it was considered as being way out on the prairie as there were few homes located either to the north or east of the school site at that time. The building occupied one of the highest points of Fort Dodge when it was first built and the city had not spread so much. The building was an outstanding landmark for years because it could be seen many miles from the surrounding countryside. The hill on which the first school was built was covered with violets in spring and so was a favorite spot for flower excursions.

The plan of the new building was common to the type built in those times – a red brick building, three stories high, with a front porch on the outside. The tall cupola or dome on the high roof housed the large bell which called children in to school. When the cupola was removed later, students who had gone there said there was a lonesome spot against the sky.

Until 1897 one cold enter Lincoln School in first grade and continue going to school there until graduation from high school. In 1897 the space on third floor was no longer large enough for the high school students so they went into a new separate school. However, for many years Lincoln School continued to house the eighth grade pupils of the city. Promotions were then made directly from this grade into the high school.

During the years 1913-1914 the fear that that third floor of the building might be unsafe for school purposes led to the building of an annex of four rooms east of the main building. The upper floor was not used. Later, however, they again used this upper floor for manual training and domestic science classes.

When the present high school was built, the seventh and eighth grades were moved out of Lincoln into the old high school building which then became the junior high.

Students who attended Lincoln School in the early days would hardly recognize it now. In 1923 it was remodeled. The cupola or dome, the old roof, and the third story were removed. The inside of the building that remained was made more fireproof with concrete floors, stair ways, and lower halls. The old porch was removed and replaced by a cement platform. The basement was improved. The red brick was covered with the pebble dash which we see today.

Two years later the annex was divided into two parts. Two rooms were taken over to Duncombe School. So the appearance of Lincoln School changed again. The two remaining rooms of the annex were used for physical education classes from the high school until 1943 when the divisions in the annex were removed, and the large room became an assembly hall for the use of Lincoln School students.

Fort Dodge took much pride in the beauty of the grassy plot on which Lincoln School was built. Many shade trees were planted there, but a storm destroyed many of them. When the streets around the school were cut down to their present level, new trees were planted, and the grounds were terraced as they are now. The shrubbery on the grounds was given by Mrs. R. P. Atwell who was a former student of the school.

One of the events which formerly took place on the grounds of Lincoln School was the Annual May Festival. It took place in the evening, and the grounds were beautifully lighted for the occasion.

In 1903 Theodore Roosevelt went through Fort Dodge and stopped to speak. His platform was the steps of Lincoln School, so classes were dismissed that all might hear him. Small towns near Fort Dodge sent their young people in to hear him.





Pleasant Valley School

1887

The citizens of the district of Pleasant Valley were given the privilege of choosing a name for their new school building. They chose the name, “Pleasant Valley”, because it describes the valley well, and because they hoped the school might be a pleasant place for everyone who worked there.

Pleasant Valley School.JPG

Read More


Arey School

The streets of Fort Dodge were not always named as they now are. In the earlier days of Fort Dodge Arey School would have been located between Walnut and Locust, Morrison and Main streets. Today these streets have become First and Second avenues, Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The school was located at intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street.

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. These four rooms were torn down in 1900 so that a larger building (shown here) could be built that was finished in 1901.

At first the playground was very small so in 1915 the board of education bought the north half of the block. There was a house on the lot so they moved it west of the main building and made a kindergarten room and a room for domestic science classes in it. Later the domestic science classes were sent to another building. In the same year they also made a basement room of the main building into a classroom where the preliminary class met. The preliminary class was really the kindergarten A class, but in the earlier years the children learned how to read and had a separate teacher.

Arey Grade School Alumni – Around the late 50’s

The large lot which had been purchased for a playground was often flooded and made into an ice skating rink in winter. During the summer the playground was used for recreation purposes.

When the preliminary group became kindergarten “A” and was taught by the regular kindergarten teacher, the basement room became an assembly and music room. An upstairs room, not needed as a classroom, was converted into an attractive all school library in 1943.

With the growth of population and an outdated building, a new Arey Elementary School was built in the same location at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street. The new Arey School was built in 1965. The Arey Elementary School was closed in the 1980’s and was converted into the public school administration office building.

Sources
*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Fort Dodge – Postcard History …. Megan Bygness and Pamela Bygness





Presbyterian College

1813

This school offered college preparatory courses, a traditional liberal arts program and a commercial program.  It was very innovative for its time because it offered individualized instruction, night courses and simulated model banking and retailing experiences.  It also had music, art, debate and speech.  Its enrollment peaked at 95 students.

Read More


In 1921, the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school on Fifth Avenue North.

The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

For four years only the freshman year was offered and it wasn’t until 1925 that the sophomore year was added. The first class, consisting of thirty-one students, graduated from the junior college in 1926. The curriculum was limited to the traditional liberal arts until the 1950s when vocational courses and adult education were added and the school was renamed the Fort Dodge Community College which recognized the change.

In 1953, Fort Dodge Community College introduced a two year elementary teaching program and in 1960 the college became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a two year program for registered nurses which replaced the three year hospital associated program.

With the construction of the new high school in 1958, the college followed the high school to the new location. In 1960 the college was recognized as a separate entity from the high school with its own administrative structure. In 1965 the voters of Fort Dodge passed a bond issue for constructing buildings solely for the college and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation gave 100 acres just to west of Friendship Haven for a new college campus. The same year the state legislature passed landmark legislation creating the state wide community college system and Fort Dodge Community College became Iowa Central Community College with a nine county district.

Iowa Central was organized in 1966 after the State of Iowa issued a mandate that required the state to offer a vast array of educational opportunities to the residents of its nine-county area. Iowa Central was built on the foundation of three area junior colleges which had been operating in the region since the 1920’s by the local public school systems. Fort Dodge Junior College (organized in 1921), Webster City Junior College (organized in 1926) and Eagle Grove Junior College (organized in 1928) joined forces to become Iowa Central as a result of the Area School Act, passed by Iowa’s 61st General Assembly. This legislation authorized two or more county school systems to merge to form an area community college.

Nine counties comprise the Iowa Central region: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. The resulting Merged Area V has approximately 28,000 students in 31 public school districts. In 1971, a fourth center was added with the completion of a new building in Storm Lake.

Dr. Edwin Barbour became the first president of Iowa Central Community College, who at that time had been Eagle Grove’s superintendent of schools for more than a decade. Barbour served as president from 1966 through 1983. Dr. Barbour recalled the beginning this way: “When I became superintendent in the summer of 1966, only the foundations of the science and library buildings on the north end of our complex had been poured. Those buildings had been authorized by voters of the Fort Dodge Community School District which was then operating the two-year college. There was a soybean field where our administration and voc-tech buildings and parking lots now are, a vacant lot bordering U.S. 20 where the dormitories are…. We were scattered all over. The Dodge Building – a former bowling alley bordering U.S. 169, which later became Iowa Central Rehabilitation Industries – was one of our centers. We had seven temporary metal buildings as classrooms; we rented the old 4-H building on the grounds and the Shaffer Building near the Expo Pool.”

In 1975, Iowa Central joined with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake in a cooperative venture whereby students can earn a bachelor’s degree attending evening classes. The students’ first two years are completed at Iowa Central and the final two years at Buena Vista at the Fort Dodge center.

Today, Iowa Central has over 5,000 students of which 1,100 live on campus. Iowa Centrals offers 45 different degrees that transfer to a four year college; it has over 100 programs from which to choose; over 60 career and technical programs; Iowa Central holds 40 national championship titles and the student /teacher ratio is 19:1.

Iowa Central also partners with local high schools, whereby high school students can earn “dual credits” by taking “Early Bird” classes (i.e., college courses offered at Fort Dodge Senior High) at the high school and receive college credit upon completion. The high school provides the instructor. High school students can also take online courses and earn college credit while in high school.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge Historical Society - Fort Dodge History…. Roger Natte

*Messenger Newspaper… October 4, 2016

*www.iowacentral.edu

*Wikipedia





Riverside School

1813

This school offered college preparatory courses, a traditional liberal arts program and a commercial program.  It was very innovative for its time because it offered individualized instruction, night courses and simulated model banking and retailing experiences.  It also had music, art, debate and speech.  Its enrollment peaked at 95 students.

riverside 3.jpg

Read More


Arey School

The streets of Fort Dodge were not always named as they now are. In the earlier days of Fort Dodge Arey School would have been located between Walnut and Locust, Morrison and Main streets. Today these streets have become First and Second avenues, Sixteenth and Seventeenth streets. The school was located at intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street.

The first Arey School was built between 1889 and 1890. It was named for Melvin F. Arey who was superintendent of schools at the time. This first building had only four rooms. These four rooms were torn down in 1900 so that a larger building (shown here) could be built that was finished in 1901.

At first the playground was very small so in 1915 the board of education bought the north half of the block. There was a house on the lot so they moved it west of the main building and made a kindergarten room and a room for domestic science classes in it. Later the domestic science classes were sent to another building. In the same year they also made a basement room of the main building into a classroom where the preliminary class met. The preliminary class was really the kindergarten A class, but in the earlier years the children learned how to read and had a separate teacher.

Arey Grade School Alumni – Around the late 50’s

The large lot which had been purchased for a playground was often flooded and made into an ice skating rink in winter. During the summer the playground was used for recreation purposes.

When the preliminary group became kindergarten “A” and was taught by the regular kindergarten teacher, the basement room became an assembly and music room. An upstairs room, not needed as a classroom, was converted into an attractive all school library in 1943.

With the growth of population and an outdated building, a new Arey Elementary School was built in the same location at the intersection of 1st Avenue South and South 17th Street. The new Arey School was built in 1965. The Arey Elementary School was closed in the 1980’s and was converted into the public school administration office building.

Sources
*Fort Dodge in Pioneer Days …. 1944… by Lucy Taff

*Fort Dodge – Postcard History …. Megan Bygness and Pamela Bygness





St. Edmond's Catholic School
1956

Saint Edmond High School saw 69 students graduate from its first Class in 1956. The school showed great growth, with peak enrollment of 700 students, 9th thru 12th grades, in 1969.

Read More


In 1921, the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school on Fifth Avenue North.

The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

For four years only the freshman year was offered and it wasn’t until 1925 that the sophomore year was added. The first class, consisting of thirty-one students, graduated from the junior college in 1926. The curriculum was limited to the traditional liberal arts until the 1950s when vocational courses and adult education were added and the school was renamed the Fort Dodge Community College which recognized the change.

In 1953, Fort Dodge Community College introduced a two year elementary teaching program and in 1960 the college became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a two year program for registered nurses which replaced the three year hospital associated program.

With the construction of the new high school in 1958, the college followed the high school to the new location. In 1960 the college was recognized as a separate entity from the high school with its own administrative structure. In 1965 the voters of Fort Dodge passed a bond issue for constructing buildings solely for the college and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation gave 100 acres just to west of Friendship Haven for a new college campus. The same year the state legislature passed landmark legislation creating the state wide community college system and Fort Dodge Community College became Iowa Central Community College with a nine county district.

Iowa Central was organized in 1966 after the State of Iowa issued a mandate that required the state to offer a vast array of educational opportunities to the residents of its nine-county area. Iowa Central was built on the foundation of three area junior colleges which had been operating in the region since the 1920’s by the local public school systems. Fort Dodge Junior College (organized in 1921), Webster City Junior College (organized in 1926) and Eagle Grove Junior College (organized in 1928) joined forces to become Iowa Central as a result of the Area School Act, passed by Iowa’s 61st General Assembly. This legislation authorized two or more county school systems to merge to form an area community college.

Nine counties comprise the Iowa Central region: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. The resulting Merged Area V has approximately 28,000 students in 31 public school districts. In 1971, a fourth center was added with the completion of a new building in Storm Lake.

Dr. Edwin Barbour became the first president of Iowa Central Community College, who at that time had been Eagle Grove’s superintendent of schools for more than a decade. Barbour served as president from 1966 through 1983. Dr. Barbour recalled the beginning this way: “When I became superintendent in the summer of 1966, only the foundations of the science and library buildings on the north end of our complex had been poured. Those buildings had been authorized by voters of the Fort Dodge Community School District which was then operating the two-year college. There was a soybean field where our administration and voc-tech buildings and parking lots now are, a vacant lot bordering U.S. 20 where the dormitories are…. We were scattered all over. The Dodge Building – a former bowling alley bordering U.S. 169, which later became Iowa Central Rehabilitation Industries – was one of our centers. We had seven temporary metal buildings as classrooms; we rented the old 4-H building on the grounds and the Shaffer Building near the Expo Pool.”

In 1975, Iowa Central joined with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake in a cooperative venture whereby students can earn a bachelor’s degree attending evening classes. The students’ first two years are completed at Iowa Central and the final two years at Buena Vista at the Fort Dodge center.

Today, Iowa Central has over 5,000 students of which 1,100 live on campus. Iowa Centrals offers 45 different degrees that transfer to a four year college; it has over 100 programs from which to choose; over 60 career and technical programs; Iowa Central holds 40 national championship titles and the student /teacher ratio is 19:1.

Iowa Central also partners with local high schools, whereby high school students can earn “dual credits” by taking “Early Bird” classes (i.e., college courses offered at Fort Dodge Senior High) at the high school and receive college credit upon completion. The high school provides the instructor. High school students can also take online courses and earn college credit while in high school.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge Historical Society - Fort Dodge History…. Roger Natte

*Messenger Newspaper… October 4, 2016

*www.iowacentral.edu

*Wikipedia





St. Paul Lutheran School

1864

While valuing its Lutheran heritage where students are daily in God’s Word, the school continues to value the partnership between church, school, and family, just as its pioneers leaders did over 150 years ago.

Read More


On December 20, 1863, the first constitution was adopted, as a small group of early settlers in Fort Dodge organized the First German Evangelical Lutheran Church and called the Rev. G. Endres as its first pastor. Services were held in the old Episcopal church. In 1864 a building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South where the first St. Paul church was erected. It was built of native gypsum rock recovered from quarries by members of the congregation. The original church was 24 X 40 feet by 16 feet tall. All woodwork in the edifice was of black walnut.

At the same time in 1863, the German Lutheran School was organized. Education was very important to the German settlers so arrangements were made to use some of the members’ homes as schools. These homes were located on 1st Avenue North, South 8th Street and 3rd Avenue South. A year later a church building site was acquired on 3rd Avenue South

where the first German Lutheran Church was built. The church was also used for school purposes. When the pews were made they included a drop leaf on the back and during the weekdays these were used for school desks. The school first opened in the old stone church in December 1864.

Both the church services and classes were taught in German.

In 1868, the first “Kinderfest” school picnic was held. This festival usually marked the close of the school year and was generally celebrated on the 4th of July. The custom prevailed for many years until the more formal practice of commencement became popular. In fact, in 1904, 2,500 members of the German Lutheran Church and their friends celebrated this event in Oleson Park, accompanied by the Juvenile Band and boarding a street car on Central Avenue to travel to Oleson Park.

When a new church was dedicated in 1886, the old church was used as a school. However, by 1893, the congregation was growing rapidly and the old church wasn’t large enough to accommodate all the students. The congregation sold the property and bought a building site on 2nd Avenue South between 6th and 7th streets and built a two story brick building. It was dedicated in 1894.

In 1916, the beginning of the school year, which until that time had been at Easter time, was made to conform to that of the public school in the first week of September. The growth of young people’s work in the congregation necessitated an assembly room. A spacious hall was provided in the attic of the school building.

A new church was built the early 1930‘s and a kindergarten was added to the school in 1932. By the 1950’s, they had outgrown the current school and a new school was built and dedicated on April 22, 1951 It was expanded in 1959, and in 1972, a preschool was organized at St. Paul Lutheran School. In 1999, the school was remodeled.

In 1999, the church suffered a devastating fire that was set by vandals and was destroyed. The school was saved, but was unusable. Classes were moved to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and remained there for the rest of the school year. Classes were able to resume in the fall; the church was rebuilt and was put into use in 2003.

Today, St. Paul Lutheran School continues to be a Christ-centered school trusting in God’s blessings and guidance, providing education for students K – 8th grade. While valuing its Lutheran heritage where students are daily in God’s Word, the school continues to value the partnership between church, school, and family, just as its pioneers leaders did over 150 years ago.

St. Paul Lutheran School is part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod School System.

Sources:

*St. Paul 150th: Our History

*www.stpaulfd.org





Wahkonsa School

1891

The location of Wahkonsa School has a great deal of historical interest connected with it. The plot on which the school is built was the site of the old military post from which Fort Dodge had its beginning.

Black White Simple Quote Instagram Post.

Read More


In 1921, the Fort Dodge School system added advanced courses beyond the regular four year high school program as the first step toward the establishment of a junior college, a new educational concept of the times. The college classes occupied the third floor of the new high school on Fifth Avenue North.

The junior college was an extension of the Fort Dodge School System. The first teachers were high school teachers given additional assignments, a practice necessary because state funding did not extend beyond high school. The practice continued until the 1950s. Fort Dodge was the third school in the state to establish such a program.

For four years only the freshman year was offered and it wasn’t until 1925 that the sophomore year was added. The first class, consisting of thirty-one students, graduated from the junior college in 1926. The curriculum was limited to the traditional liberal arts until the 1950s when vocational courses and adult education were added and the school was renamed the Fort Dodge Community College which recognized the change.

In 1953, Fort Dodge Community College introduced a two year elementary teaching program and in 1960 the college became one of the first colleges in the country to offer a two year program for registered nurses which replaced the three year hospital associated program.

With the construction of the new high school in 1958, the college followed the high school to the new location. In 1960 the college was recognized as a separate entity from the high school with its own administrative structure. In 1965 the voters of Fort Dodge passed a bond issue for constructing buildings solely for the college and the Fort Dodge Betterment Foundation gave 100 acres just to west of Friendship Haven for a new college campus. The same year the state legislature passed landmark legislation creating the state wide community college system and Fort Dodge Community College became Iowa Central Community College with a nine county district.

Iowa Central was organized in 1966 after the State of Iowa issued a mandate that required the state to offer a vast array of educational opportunities to the residents of its nine-county area. Iowa Central was built on the foundation of three area junior colleges which had been operating in the region since the 1920’s by the local public school systems. Fort Dodge Junior College (organized in 1921), Webster City Junior College (organized in 1926) and Eagle Grove Junior College (organized in 1928) joined forces to become Iowa Central as a result of the Area School Act, passed by Iowa’s 61st General Assembly. This legislation authorized two or more county school systems to merge to form an area community college.

Nine counties comprise the Iowa Central region: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Greene, Hamilton, Humboldt, Pocahontas, Sac, Webster and Wright. The resulting Merged Area V has approximately 28,000 students in 31 public school districts. In 1971, a fourth center was added with the completion of a new building in Storm Lake.

Dr. Edwin Barbour became the first president of Iowa Central Community College, who at that time had been Eagle Grove’s superintendent of schools for more than a decade. Barbour served as president from 1966 through 1983. Dr. Barbour recalled the beginning this way: “When I became superintendent in the summer of 1966, only the foundations of the science and library buildings on the north end of our complex had been poured. Those buildings had been authorized by voters of the Fort Dodge Community School District which was then operating the two-year college. There was a soybean field where our administration and voc-tech buildings and parking lots now are, a vacant lot bordering U.S. 20 where the dormitories are…. We were scattered all over. The Dodge Building – a former bowling alley bordering U.S. 169, which later became Iowa Central Rehabilitation Industries – was one of our centers. We had seven temporary metal buildings as classrooms; we rented the old 4-H building on the grounds and the Shaffer Building near the Expo Pool.”

In 1975, Iowa Central joined with Buena Vista College in Storm Lake in a cooperative venture whereby students can earn a bachelor’s degree attending evening classes. The students’ first two years are completed at Iowa Central and the final two years at Buena Vista at the Fort Dodge center.

Today, Iowa Central has over 5,000 students of which 1,100 live on campus. Iowa Centrals offers 45 different degrees that transfer to a four year college; it has over 100 programs from which to choose; over 60 career and technical programs; Iowa Central holds 40 national championship titles and the student /teacher ratio is 19:1.

Iowa Central also partners with local high schools, whereby high school students can earn “dual credits” by taking “Early Bird” classes (i.e., college courses offered at Fort Dodge Senior High) at the high school and receive college credit upon completion. The high school provides the instructor. High school students can also take online courses and earn college credit while in high school.

Sources:

*Fort Dodge Historical Society - Fort Dodge History…. Roger Natte

*Messenger Newspaper… October 4, 2016

*www.iowacentral.edu

*Wikipedia





Tobin College

1892

The new college began without a name. A week or so after it opened, Professor Tobin was invited by some friends to spend the day in the woods. While he was gone, the teachers and students took matters into their own hands, called a meeting, and by a unanimous vote, christened the new college, "Tobin," in recognition of the work he had done for the cause of education through the founding of so many colleges.

Read More


Tobin College was founded in 1892 and was the fourth school founded by Professor Thomas Tobin, the other three being: Tilford Academy, at Vinton, Iowa; Waterloo College, at Waterloo, Iowa , and Ellsworth College, at Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Professor Tobin, who was a native of Ireland, was born August 15, 1835 , and died May 27, 1900. He came to America when fourteen years of age. He did not have a chance to learn his letters until he was seventeen. But even at that age, he had the courage to set out to secure a college education, earning the necessary means himself. But so hard was the struggle, that for three months at a time, he did not have money enough to buy a postage stamp.

After graduation, Professor Tobin resolved to make it easier for backward boys to obtain an education, and to give them a chance to secure instruction suited to their individual needs. Accordingly, in 1870, he came to Iowa and established Tilford Academy, at Vinton. In 1885 he went to Waterloo and started Waterloo College . In 1889, he removed to Iowa Falls, where he founded Ellsworth College .

Early in the year 1892, he began corresponding with Mr. Frank Gates, Mr. Frank Farrell, and others, concerning the establishment of a college in Fort Dodge. Satisfactory arrangements having been made, Professor Tobin moved his family here in April of the same year, and work on the college was started. The property for the college site was purchased from Mrs. Sarah Dwelle, the widow of the last landlord of the old St. Charles hotel. This property included the hotel and a quarter of a block of ground on the corner of First avenue North and Seventh street. While the college building was not completely finished, yet school began on the second Monday in September, 1892.

The new college began without a name. A week or so after it opened, Professor Tobin was invited by some friends to spend the day in the woods. While he was gone, the teachers and students took matters into their own hands, called a meeting, and by a unanimous vote, christened the new college, "Tobin," in recognition of the work he had done for the cause of education through the founding of so many colleges.

The formal dedication of the building did not take place until the last of October, 1892. The dedicatory exercises consisted of an afternoon and evening program. At these programs, congratulatory addresses were made by prominent business men of the city; also by Rev. William Randall, pastor of the Baptist church at Iowa Falls, and Rev. F. E. Eldredge, state Sunday school missionary of the Baptist church, both of whom were very close friends of Professor Tobin.

The enrollment of the first term numbered about fifty. At the opening of the winter term, many of the country boys came in, and the enrollment reached the one hundred mark. The boarding department, the first fall, numbered about twenty. In the winter this number increased to forty. This department was carried on in the old St. Charles, the kitchen and dining rooms of the college building not being finished until 1893. The faculty the first year numbered nine. Professor Tobin taught general history, which was his favorite subject, and gave the rest of his time to the supervision of the school. Professor J. F. Monk had charge of the stenography department and taught the languages. Mrs. J. F. Monk and Miss Mable Allison taught the normal branches. Professor B. T. Green taught the sciences and mathematics and had charge of the commercial department. The music department was under the direction of Professor W. V. Jones and his daughter, Miss Gertrude Jones. Miss Amelia Goldsworthy had charge of the art department.

The first class graduated in June, 1893, and was composed of thirteen members from the commercial and stenographic departments. Those from the commercial department were: J. Oscar Ahlberg, Otto L. Boehm, Walter M. Boehm, Edwin Brickson, Nora Lenihan, Benjamin F. McNeil, Charles R. Peterson, Jennie M. Slate. The stenography class included: Jurgen N. Anderson, Ella W. Beach, Annie G. Fahey, Lizzie E. Harvison and Bessie B. Norton. The first normal class graduated in 1894, and consisted of Jessie V. Cox and Ida M. Prink.

In 1893, Professor Tobin made a contract with Messrs. Green and Monk, by which they were to take charge of the school, buying it from him. But the hard times in 1893-94 so cut down the attendance, that they were unable to make their payments, and Professor Tobin again assumed active control in the fall of 1894. Professor Monk remained on the college faculty, but Professor Green followed his natural inclination and studied medicine.

During the school year 1894-95, the two literary societies, the Philomathean and the Amphycton, were established. The societies have remained in existence ever since. The Snitkay Debate Prize has had much to do in stimulating the interest in debate. This prize is offered by Dr. C. J. Snitkay, an alumnus of the class of '97, and his wife, Mrs. Emma Monk Snitkay, an alumnus of the class of '95. The society winning the contest in debate is given a prize of $10.00. This prize money has always been used by the societies for the benefit of the school. It was in declamatory work, the teaching of young men and women to think and talk upon their feet, that Professor Tobin was especially interested. To this work he gave freely both of his time, and of his zeal. Many of the older students of the college remember how night after night, he sat in the rear of the chapel, criticising and commending, but always urging onward his students. And the present success of many of the alumni is due in a large measure to the training of Professor Tobin. His interest was such that he never missed a program of the literary societies, nor any program in which his students took part. His enthusiasm and interest was so genuine and from the heart that it engendered a longing for success in his pupils.

The first declamatory contest of the college was held in the year 1893, and was won by Miss June McNeil, now Mrs. Kusterer, of Moorland.

In the year 1896, the first of the present series of gold medal contests was held. These contests, held annually, provide for three prizes: A gold medal to the winner; a silver medal to the one winning second place, and a souvenir spoon of the college to the one winning third place. The medals have been the gifts of various persons, who have thus shown their interest in the work of the college. The spoon has always been the gift of the college management. The contest is usually held the last Friday evening in March. A system of preliminary contests held each term leads to the selection for the closing contest in the third term. There are three contestants chosen each term, thus making nine for the finals.

The honors in the contests since their beginning, together with the donors of the medal are as follows:

Year Winner Donor

1896 R. G. Tobin Professor T. Tobin

1897 George E. Q. Johnson Mr. Isaac Garmoe

1898 Mrs. Nora Haviland-Moore Hon. John F. Duncombe

1899 M. J. Fitzpatrick Mr. J. F. Carter

1900 Otto V. Bowman Mr. J. B. Butler

1901 Miss Edith Bird Hon. O. M. Oleson

1902 E. E. Cavanaugh Captain S. J. Bennett

1903 Miss Ethel Jondreau Mr. M. F. Healy

1904 James A. Martin Mr. J. G. Early

1905 Francis Murphy Messrs. Monk & Findlay

1906 Miss Eva Southwick Mrs. Julie Haskell-Oleson

1907 Miss Ellen Schmoker Messrs. Monk & Findlay

1908 Leon W. Powers Mr. H. M. Pratt

1909 William Ryberg Mr. H. D. Beresford

1910 Miss Christine Brown Mr. Charles Iles

1911 Miss Myrtle Tullar Mrs. Margaret Tobin-Pratt

1912 D. L. Rhodes* Mr. John S. Heffner

Perhaps no school of its size has as strong an alumni association as Tobin College . This association was organized in 1895 and now numbers over three hundred. A unique feature of the Tobin College Alumni Association is the alumni fund. This fund was started in 1899 by Professor Tobin, its purpose being "for the aid of worthy students in their efforts to gain an education."

In 1899, Professor Tobin sold the college to Messrs. Monk and Findlay, who have carried on the work along the lines originally laid down. The college has continued to prosper and grow until now the annual enrollment numbers about four hundred.

With the lives of such men as Professor Tobin, Professor Monk and Professor Findlay dedicated to its service, Tobin College could not help but be the source of blessing it is to the community and to the young people who have attended it.

* D. L. Rhodes and Miss Mildred Sperry tied for first place, and on drawing lots the honors went to Mr. Rhodes.

Sources:

*Iowa Biographies Project: History of Fort Dodge and Webster County, Iowa… by H. M. Pratt.1913

*Chicago: The Pioneer Publishing Company, 1913.