About This Place
Fort Dodge is a city and county seat of Webster County, Iowa, United States, along the Des Moines River. The population was 25,206 in the 2010 census, an increase from 25,136 in the 2000 census. Fort Dodge is a major commercial center for North Central and Northwest Iowa. It is located on U.S. Routes 20 and 169.
Fort Dodge traces its beginnings to 1850 when soldiers from the United States Army erected a fort at the junction of the Des Moines River and Lizard Creek. It was named after Henry Dodge, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin.
The fort was abandoned in 1853 and the next year William Willams, a civilian storekeeper in Fort Dodge, purchased the land and buildings of the old fort. The town of Fort Dodge was founded in 1869. In 1872 the long and continuing history of gypsum production in Iowa started when George Ringland, Webb Vincent, and Stillman T. Meservey formed the Fort Dodge Plaster Mills to mine, grind, and preparing gypsum for commercial use. The Company constructed the first gypsum mill west of the Mississippi River, at the head of what is now Gypsum Creek.