According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.8 square miles (38.4 km²), of which, 14.6 square miles (37.7 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (1.89%) is water.
| City of Fort Dodge |
Population by year
As of the census of 2000, there were 25,136 people, 10,470 households, and 6,376 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,726.1 people per square mile (666.6/km²). There were 11,168 housing units at an average density of 766.9/sq mi (296.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.47% White, 3.79% African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.85% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.30% from other races, and 1.36% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.94% of the population.
There were 10,470 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.1% were non-families. 33.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.94.
Population spread: 24.3% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $33,361, and the median income for a family was $42,555. Males had a median income of $31,253 versus $23,360 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,018. About 7.7% of families and 11.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
The Fort Dodge Regional Airport is located north of town. It is primarily a general aviation airport with minimal commercial links.
Jefferson Bus lines serves Fort Dodge with a link to Williams.
Gypsum rock is processed into drywall and plaster products at several Fort Dodge manufacturing facilities. Drywall was patented by a Fort Dodge resident, and the gypsum used to create the Cardiff Giant hoax of the late 19th century was mined at Fort Dodge.
Fort Dodge is the home of Fort Dodge Animal Health (division of Wyeth) USA manufacturing. A major producer of pharmaceuticals and vaccines for veterinarians, the company's headquarters were moved from Fort Dodge to Overland Park Kansas in 1995. Two of the company's three USA manufacturing plants are located in Fort Dodge.
At least three major national trucking companies (primarily flatbed carriers serving the drywall industry) are based out of Fort Dodge.
Fort Dodge serves as a retail center for North-Central Iowa.
The Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, 1,250-bed medium security state prison, opened in 1998.
For most of the 20th century, meatpacking was a major industry in Fort Dodge. The last two large meatpacking plants (owned by IBP and Hormel) closed during the 1980s. One of the laboratories of Fort Dodge Animal Health was built on the site of a former Hormel processing plant.
The Fort Museum has a replica of the Cardiff Giant, which was a fossilized giant humanoid "discovered" at Cardiff, New York. The Cardiff Giant was later proved to be a hoax, sculpted from gypsum mined at Fort Dodge. The Fort Museum is a full scale recreation of a military outpost on the prairie from the 19th century. Also in Fort Dodge is the Blanden Memorial Art Museum, the first public museum of art in the state of Iowa. The Blanden, opened June 5, 1932, is renowned as one of the finest small museums in the nation for its extensive permanent collection as well as popular touring exhibits.
The Fort Dodge Municipal Band is the Karl King Band, named after well-known composer Karl L. King, who was the leader of the municipal band for fifty years before his death in 1971. Several local landmarks are named after Karl King, including the bandshell at Oleson Park, a memorial statue in front of the Fort Dodge Public Library, and a bridge over the Des Moines River.
Hawkeye Community Theatre, one of the longest continually running theatre organizations in the state, is located on 521 North 12th Street. It is housed in a century old classic building converted for live theatre performances, and seats 220. HCT puts on six full length productions a year of varied genre. Website is http://www.frontiernet.net/~leeedle/Home.html
Private schools in Fort Dodge include St. Edmond (Preschool-12),Community Christian School (pre-K -8), St Paul Lutheran (Preschool-8), and Harvest Baptist School (7-12)
Fort Dodge has been the location of some Iowa High School Athletic Association championships, including Cross Country championships at Kennedy Park. It is probably most well known in Iowa for hosting the state girls' softball championships at Harlan Rogers Park.
Oleson Park boasts a small zoo featuring a small population of albino white tailed deer. Oleson Park also has woods and hiking trails. The town's band shell is located here.
Snell-Crawford Park(bottom of Williams Drive, at 12th avenue) is a local favorite for weekend recreation. It has a disc golf course, 3 sand volleyball courts, exercise stations located along a jogging/walking trail, picnic tables and grills. In the summer kids go crawdad hunting.
Kennedy Park is the nearest camping facility to Fort Dodge. It has a larger camp ground, a lake with a swimming beach, and an 18-hole golf course.
The 300 acre Gypsum City Off-Highway Vehicle Park opened to the public on July 6, 2006. The park is located on abandoned gypsum mines. Plans are in place for the park to be expanded to as much as 1,500 acres in the future.
Fort Dodge is a top tubing destination in the state, offering the swift and clear waters of Lizard Creek, solitude on the Des Moines River from Fort Dodge to the Dolliver Park area, and the nearby lake at Brushy Creek.
The Fort Dodge Country Club features one of Iowa's premier 18 hole golf courses. The par 71 golf course will challenge golfers of all abilities, from the beginner to the seasoned pro. The recently renovated clubhouse boasts spacious rooms for weddings/parties. Amenities include a swimming pool, bar/restaurant, and a stocked pro shop.