Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 12 - THE Fort Dodge

July 7th was spent working on the projects and a bit of shopping. Then on the 8th we went out to breakfast with everybody before Mom and Brother headed off for the KC airport. Mom had an evening flight that turned into a night flight and Brother was her driver before he headed to his house and the end of his vacation. They will both be back to Sister’s house after the baby is born.

After we said good-bye to them FabHub and I went over to the Fort that IS Fort Dodge.
The Fort itself was built in 1851 to construct a military post on the Des Moines River. After two years the troops were ordered to abandon the fort and move north to Fort Ridgley, Minnesota to deal with some problems involving the Sioux Indians. When that happened the post sutler, or storekeeper, bought the land and buildings that made up the military post and in 1854 started the town of Fort Dodge.
The displayed buildings are set up to represent some of the buildings that would be found in a frontier town. There is a one room schoolhouse that is set up to display conditions as they existed. There is a big coal stove in the middle of the room, which must have made those students around it quite toasty. There is even a piano in the corner for music lessons.
The Conditions of Employment for Teachers seems humorous by the expectations of today’s staff.
Sweep and scrub the floors once a week (once a year seems more correct now), don’t wear bright colors (they haven’t seen FabHub’s new Tie-Di fun shirt from Michigan), dry your petticoats in pillowcases (can’t have those hanging on the line!), no loitering at Ice Cream shops (oops broke that rule a time or two), and no leaving town without permission of the school board (HA).
The General Store had lots of frontier era products and a checker board ready to go.

The Pharmacy was loaded with medical paraphernalia that would probably scare a patient today.
There were lots of Remedies available at the time. Many that claimed powers of healing that mainly seemed kill the pain with alcohol.

The Stomach, Liver, and Kidney Renovator formula includes lots of roots, seeds, water, and is 16 1/2 percent Alcohol. Seems like that would make you get rid of what ailed you in one way or another.

The Jail on site is holding a bad, bad hombre.
Oh no, the bad guy has escaped and is in the Blockhouse shooting at the locals!
It looks like he missed since they are still walking around.
One of the exhibition buildings on the fort walls included a lot of artifacts. Among the items on display there was an article that caught my attention. There was a ceremonial pipe made from pipestone (catlinite).
In West Virginia we have pipestem, which is 1) a plant that early settlers used to make pipe stems with to smoke tobacco, and 2) the name of local State Park and community. I grew up around pipestone, in Minnesota, which is 1) the rock used to make pipes that were mainly used in Native American ceremonial and religious events and 2) the name of a National Monument, local county, and city.

There were also exhibits from the frontier era homes and all sorts of military artifacts from several wars. Revolutionary, Civil, Spanish American, WWI, and WWII.

Back in the corner of the museum there was one exhibit that brings a lot of people in. I think that is why they sort of hid it – you have to go through a lot of other things to finally find this one. Or maybe they just wanted it out of the way of the real Fort displays.
What I am talking about is the Cardiff Giant. Legend has it that this 10 foot tall petrified man was found when a local farmer was digging a well on a farm in Iowa. Or maybe it was New York. Or maybe it was all a big joke, but there is a big rock that looks like a man, with really big ears, on display in Iowa and someone is still making money off of showing it to crazy tourists.
That was the end of our day. In the evenign we went out to dinner with my sister and her husband. It was nice of them to hang out with us old people.

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