Last week we looked at some dilapidated structres in Ft. Dodge, and it might have given you the impression of an empty place with little life or charm left. Shows what you can do when you select certain pictures.

Same city. How's this for America, Perfected?

Same city. Let's wander around with fresh eyes and see what urban delights await in a small Iowa town.

An impressive piece of civic architecture, even though the clock tower is a tad awkward. It doesn't matter; no one notices now, because the old vocabulary isn't spoken aloud anymore.

From some angles it's a fine-sized town. Big enough for intrigue and sin and men who were Important in this town, and struggled against the Other Important men.

The Wahkonsa was built in 1910; it was a popular hotel, and now it's apartments. Not entirely an old-folks home, as with many of these downtown hotels. I always wonder how people feel about living their final act in a place that was once the bustling hotel of their childhood.

Every day you'd pass the counter where people checked out.

And the same goes here, although perhaps the rent's cheaper.

If you're thinking "why, I would be a day's wages that the original structure was 2 stories, and subsequent stories were added in the latter Twenties as economic conditions improved," you'd be a bit richer at day's end.

Some wall-hamburger left over from a demolition or fire.

A story about its possible renovation says:

The Sears building was erected in 1916 to house Prusia Hardware. Sears, Roebuck & Co. occupied the building from 1936 to 1964.

The story says they were considering turning into . . . apartments!


This one has a detail that caught my eye. Which it was supposed to do, of course:

What is this, the Atomic Scientist's Magazine HQ? It's four minutes until the doomsday, when poison gas and death rays will destroy the world!

Well, it's low-maintenance, and right twice a day.

It's actually tolling the 11th hour, which is the time when Elks "pause to give remembrance to their absent brothers."

C'mon, just put the zigzag pattern on the sign. You know that's what everyon's thinking.

Its co-owner died last month. Korean vet, businessman, Hawkeye fan. We tip our hats in his honor.

It's not all picturesque, but always interesting:

Again, you wonder what happened. The white circles are the remains of the glue that held the porcelain or metal panels to the front; the glass blocks suggest it was a bar or a restaurant. It was, you suspect, a happening spot.

We end with a grand dame in her empty days.

I showed a piece of this last week. So many hotels in Ft. Dodge!

Built in 1925; the prime spot for a while, but low-income apartments towards the end, and empty now.

You suspect - you hope - its time will come again.

Old-and-new pictures of downtown Ft. Dodge can be found here, if you wish.