Iconic Events

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Chicago Cubs vs. Chicago White Sox at Dodger Stadium

Exhibition Game at Dodger Stadium Baseball Field

April 9th, 1942 was a thrilling day for the estimated 8,000 people who filled the Dodger Stadium baseball field to watch an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox play the Chicago Cubs.

After the game, Bob Lewis, traveling secretary for the Chicago Cubs, said this was one of the larg

est crowds he has witnessed for a Cubs exhibition game. Both White Sox and Cub officials were amazed at the way the Fort Dodge handled the game, the crowd and the entire affair.

The legendary sports editor and writer for the Des Moines Register, Sec Taylor, attended this game. In his column for the Sunday Register, he wrote “Fort Dodge promoted the recent Chicago Cubs – White Sox game in a big way and in major league style. The results were so satisfactory that those in charge of the promotion hope to make the contest an annual affair.” Taylor went on to say “the Chamber of Commerce committee in charge of the game, headed by O. C. Pfaff, its chairman, did such a good job that I heard only two complaints, neither of which is serious – one was because the ball park gates were not opened before 1:30 p.m. The other was from two women who had come to Fort Dodge with their men folk. They had planned to do some shopping while their husbands attended the game, only to discover that the town had not arranged the contest to bring shoppers to it. The stores were closed.”

It was noted that fans from five different states and 75 Iowa counties came to Fort Dodge to watch this game.

Most of the fans arrived at the ballpark when the gates opened at 1:30 p.m. hoping to get a good seat and watch the teams go through their pre-game drills and batting practice. However, the train that brought the Cubs and White Sox to Fort Dodge from their previous game in Tulsa, Oklahoma, did not arrive until almost 3:00 p. m., which was the scheduled start time for this contest. After very brief warm-ups, the game got underway- and it did not disappoint. In the bottom of the ninth inning with the Cubs up to bat and trailing the White Sox, Babe Dahlgren, the Cubs’ first baseman, blasted a 2-run home run to beat the White Sox, 16 – 14. The teams combined for 30 runs scored, 38 hits, five of which were home runs.

Below are the players that played in that game:

Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs

Don Kolloway Stan Hack

Wally Moses Charlie Gilbert

Joe Kuhel Bill Nicholson

Luke Appling (Hall of Fame) Dom Dallessandro

Taffy Wright Phil Cavarretta

Myril Hoag Babe Dahlgren

Bob Kennedy Clyde McCullough

Mike Tresh Bob


Thurman Tucker Lou Stringer

Tom Turner Bobby Sturgeon

Buck Ross Lennie Merullo

Joe Haynes Jake Mooty

Orval Grove Paul Erickson

Jake Jones Bill Novikoff

Pete Appleton Johnny Schmitz

Bill Fleming


*The Des Moines Register. April 10, 1942

*The Des Moines Register. April 12, 1942

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Buddy Holly – Winter Dance Party

On January 30, 1959, the Laramar Ballroom was jumping when the Winter Dance Party and its headliners – Buddy Holly and the Crickets, the Big Bopper, Ritchie Valens, and Dion and the Belmonts - performed on its stage on a cold, snowy night in Fort Dodge.

The Laramar Ballroom, and some 1,000 fans crowded into the downtown building at 710 First Avenue North to watch, dance and sing along as the musicians played their hit songs - never imagining that a few days later, in the early hours of Feb. 3, 1959, three of them – Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson Jr. and Valens — would die in a plane crash after performing at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.

"The whole show was great. Little did we know that this was the last time we would see them,” said Wes Trickel, of Fort Dodge, who was at the Laramar with his wife, Bertha, that night and got to meet Richardson and Valens. “We were so sad when we heard the news that we all never wanted to believe what had happened.”

That tragic moment on a wintry night in a cornfield north of Clear Lake was “the day the music died” as Don McLean would sing in his 1971 classic "American Pie.”

That moment in history has become known as the “day the music died.”

At the time, Holly and his band, The Crickets, were playing on the Winter Dance Party tour across the Midwest.

At the Laramar, rising artists Valens and Richardson had joined the tour as well. The live concert performance included two hours of unbridled, high-voltage entertainment featuring hit songs of the ’50s era.

This picture of Buddy Holly taken backstage at the Laramar Ballroom in Fort Dodge, Iowa on January 30, 1959 during the Winter Dance Party tour. He is ready to leave, has on his yellow leather coat with the fur collar, and is holding his overnight bag.

Buddy Holly Plays at the Laramar

January 30, 1959

710 1st Ave N

The Laramar Ballroom, and some 1,000 fans crowded into the downtown building at 710 First Avenue North to watch, dance and sing along as the musicians played their hit songs.

Cubs vs White Sox @ Dodger Stadium

April 9, 1942

April 9th, 1942 was a thrilling day for the estimated 8,000 people who filled the Dodger Stadium baseball field to watch an exhibition game between the Chicago White Sox play the Chicago Cubs.

Harvest Festival
August 1946-August 1959

From 1946 to 1959, the Harvest Festival was a major celebration each August held in Dodger Stadium. Sponsored by local businesses, free tickets were given away to people in surrounding communities as a thank you for their patronage. The three-day festival contained performances by the Karl King Band and featured a vaudeville-type format ranging from acrobats and other circus-like acts, motorcycle racing around in a cage, horses diving into a small pool of water and fireworks. Every year, the Harvest Festival would attract thousands of spectators. In 1947, an estimated 35,000 people attended the festival over the course of three days.

JFK's Visit to Fort Dodge

September 22, 1960

John F. Kennedy arrived at the Fort Dodge Municipal Airport to a crowd of thousands on hand to welcome him.

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On Thursday, September 22, 1960, democratic presidential candidate Senator John F. Kennedy visited Fort Dodge. He arrived at the Fort Dodge Municipal Airport to a crowd of thousands on hand to welcome him. Senator Kennedy was accompanied by Mrs. Eunice Shriver (Mrs. Sargent Shriver, sister of Senator Kennedy) of Chicago and 6th District Iowa Congressman Merwin Coad. Fort Dodge Democratic national committeeman Donald Mitchell was also with Senator Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was greeted in Fort Dodge by Mayor Albert Habhab. Iowa Governor Herschel Loveless was forced to circle the Fort Dodge Airport due to poor landing conditions, which prevented him from being on hand to greet Senator Kennedy. More than 80 news, radio and television reporters and photographers had landed earlier and were able to provide national coverage of this visit.

Senator Kennedy’s plane had been delayed due to a low ceiling; however, he was able to visit Fort Dodge for ninety minutes, using the occasion to outline a 6-Point Farm Program of “Work and Sacrifice and Discipline”, a program he said aimed at “Bringing good incomes and a decent standard of living to all our farmers”. Following a lively parade on Central Avenue, which featured twenty one bands, dignitaries, local businesses, floats, beauty queens, covered wagons and mules, Senator Kennedy gave a speech on the City Square to an estimated crowd of 15,000. He addressed mainly agricultural issues.

The basic points of his speech were:

  1. Full parity of income for farmers
  2. Achievement of parity of income primarily through supply management of crops. This would include government purchases and loans in order to manage the crop supplies
  3. Use of farmer’s excessive productive capacity to feed the hungry and undernourished both here and abroad
  4. Use of a sound system of soil conservation which does not destroy entire farms and which is administered at the local level by farmers
  5. Modernization of the governments specialized farm agencies to meet the farm revolution – by revitalizing agricultural credit agencies so farmers could get the credit they need at interest rates they can afford so they could modernize and expand
  6. Initiation of a special program for low production farmers, those who must work with inadequate resources, and who live in rural poverty

Senator Kennedy stated that “America’s ability to grow quantities of food with a small percentage of her people is an asset “greater than the Sputnik” and one which the Soviet Union envies.

(It was anticipated that Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon would also address farm issues on his visit to Iowa the following day).

During a five minute speech at the airport prior to his departure, Senator Kennedy spoke on the theme that “we can and should do more; conditions are not as they should be”. Kennedy contended that a Democratic president would be better able to improve the nation’s position in the world, especially in regards to the threats posed by Khrushchev and Russia, and Castro in Cuba.

It was estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 people gathered to see Senator Kennedy during his visit to Fort Dodge. School children were given a holiday from school in order to see the presidential nominee.

Teddy Roosevelt's Visit to Fort Dodge

June 2, 1903

President Theodore Roosevelt spent one hour visiting Fort Dodge in 1903.  He arrived at the Illinois Central Station by train around 11:25 am.  His train was drawn by a great engine, decked with hundreds of flags, coming from Denison, Iowa. 

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President Theodore Roosevelt spent one hour visiting Fort Dodge in 1903. He arrived at the Illinois Central Station by train around 11:25 am. His train was drawn by a great engine, decked with hundreds of flags, coming from Denison, Iowa.

President Roosevelt was warmly welcomed by the citizens. Many businesses closed, machinery and manufacturing stopped, employees were given permission to hear the president speak and school children gathered at Lincoln School (located south of the current Phillips Middle School Building/North Junior High School/Fort Dodge High School), where he greeted the children with “I am very glad to have seen you, and as I have six children of my own, I take particular interest in all the pertains to you.

The Fort Dodge reception committee greeted him from the platform and welcomed him from his train car. He was then taken to a carriage, which proceeded from the station along Central Avenue. There were hundreds of people along the route, welcoming President Roosevelt with cheers of “Teddy!” Store windows, porches and every vantage point were crowded with people who wanted to see the president.

President Roosevelt was taken through various residential districts of Fort Dodge, accompanied by his bodyguard and Fort Dodge residents W.T. Chantland (businessman), B.J. Price (Webster County Attorney), Dan Rhodes (Webster County Auditor) and Frederic Larrabee (State Senator from Webster and Calhoun Counties).

After the tour of Fort Dodge, the entourage joined the remaining procession from President Roosevelt’s troupe which proceeded down Central Avenue to the City Square. He was introduced to the thousands who had gathered to hear him speak by Senator J.P. Dolliver.

He spoke to the crowd, mentioning his past experiences when he had a cattle ranch and how he could relate to people in Iowa. He also said that the trip he was making was essential to the unity of the American people.

During this speech, President Roosevelt acknowledged those who had served in the Civil War, answering President Lincoln’s call to service, and how their service had resulted in a unified nation. He said those veterans taught us two things. Here is an excerpt from Roosevelt’s speech in Fort Dodge in 1903:

”….The lesson of appreciating what is really important in life and the lesson of brotherhood. The lesson of appreciating what is really important in life – It is not important to have an easy time, it , however, unimportant to try to lead a life of mere pleasure. It is vitally important to see what is worth doing and then try to do it at any cost.

And here today, as everywhere throughout this union, as in every meeting of Americans, you, the men of the Civil War are given the place of honor, forever and always, and your deeds shall live to be told by our children’s children on and on through generation after generation as long as there shall be a country to have a recorded history on this continent.. They shall be told. Why? Because in ‘61 and the years following, you chose not the easy places, but the places that led across the stony slopes of greatness to the goal of triumph for the age and the nation.

When Lincoln called, the easy thing to do was not to answer the call. You did not choose the life of comfort, you did not choose the life which was easy, you did not walk silently in earth’s soft places, you did not pay need to your own material wellbeing, on the contrary, the men of the Civil War abandoned for the time that they were in battle the hope of all material gain. The faces suffering by cold in winter nights, suffering by heat in summer days of the march, the knowledge, the practical experience of great fatigue, of hunger and thirst and the ever present chance of death in battle, death on the fever cots of the hospital, and they did all that gladly because they had in them the lofty things which go with generous souls; because they had in them the spirit that bade them distinguish between the things that are essential in life.

It is unessential to have an easy time. It is vitally essential to do well your duty, to do well all things worth doing…

…The other one, the lesson of brotherhood. Brotherhood – the recognition of each man as a man, of seeing what is important in his character and disregarding the individual. To each one of you as you moved forward into the battle it made a good deal of difference whether the man on your right hand or on you left had the right stuff in him. That was the essential thing. You wanted to know that when he moved he would move the right way. That is what you wanted to know. It was absolutely of no consequence what the creed was in accordance with which he worshipped, his social position or his birthplace. You cared nothing whether he were a capitalist, or a wage earner merchant, farmer, lawyers, businessman. What you wanted to know was whether when the crisis came, he would stay put. That is what you wanted to know exactly.

It is just so in civil life. I believe this country is going forward to rise to a pitch, not merely of power, but of high and true greatness such as no other country has ever shown, because I believe that our average citizen now in peace has profited and will profit by the lessons taught in the Civil War by the men of ’61 and that we shall apply practically the two lessons of which I have spoken.

That we show as a nation that what we seek is not mere ease, not mere comport, not mere material well-being important though that well-being is – but that we shall try to do in our lives individually and collectively as a nation the things worth doing and to do them well and finally that we shall realize so far as in human power it can be realized, the brotherhood in fact as well as in name and shall continue to treat this government as a system under which, so far as finite human ability reach us, to reach that knowledge and system, under which each man is treated, not with regard to his wealth or his possessions or occupation, or his social position, but with reference to his fundamental qualities as a man among his fellows. ….

…..Goodbye, and good luck.”


*Fort Dodge, 1850 – 1970 by Roger Natte


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