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Supporting the Fort

Fundraiser allows a look at new exhibit

October 22, 2012
By JOE SUTTER, , Messenger News
Visitors to the Fort Dodge Fort Museum fundraiser Sunday afternoon got a tour of the Fort’s newest building, which houses historical Fort Dodge pottery. The afternoon included a silent auction, a raffle, a meal and a show by local hypnotist Terry Cook. The money raised will help with upkeep and maintenance of the Fort. Alan Schaefer, Executive Director of the museum, said over 122 people were served. Tickets were sold for $15 at the door or $12 in advance. The new Union Pottery Works building, located across from the jail and north of the trading post, was open for guests to view the jugs, urns, crocks and other types of pottery made in Fort Dodge. Bob Riehl, a fan of the Fort museum, was impressed. “This wasn’t open last time I was here, and I wanted to see it,” Riehl said. “I can’t believe all of this stuff was made in Fort Dodge.” The Pottery Works was built this year by the Fort Dodge Stoneware Collectors Society, Schaefer said. “Almost everything in here is on loan from one collector,” he said. Plaques inside tell the story of multiple area stoneware companies throughout history, such as Union Pottery Works, the new building’s namesake, which operated from from 1880 to 1892. Martin White founded Fort Dodge Pottery in 1870, after he discovered a clay vein adjacent to a coal vein, used to feed the kilns. He left the company to his partner and started Union Pottery Works in 1880. After his death, his sons continued the business under the name White’s Pottery Works. “Their bread and butter was working bricks and farm tiles — this is just a small part of what they did,” Schaefer said. The museum has seen a number of renovations recently, though more work still needs to be done. Schaefer pointed out the Donahoe General Store, looking slick in a new coat of paint. “Sertoma club did that just last week,” he said. “We need to get the blacksmith shop re-sided on the north and south walls.” Steve Moberg came to support the Fort, and said more people should come out to visit it. “I just think it’s a good cause,” Moberg said as he wrote down his bids onseveral silent auction items. “I went through the Fort for the first time this year, and I’ve lived in Rockwell City 63 years,” he said. “People need to come look again at the neat exhibits at the Fort.” The Fort Museum closed for the season on Oct. 13. It will reopen next spring on May 1.

Article Photos

Bob Riehl looks over the display of pots, crocks and jugs at the new Union Pottery building at the Fort museum during the fundraiser Sunday afternoon.



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