Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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Dodge's Point
Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

The history of Dodge's Point goes back to Congressional Railroad Act of 1862, passed to facilitate the building of new transportation systems across the Prairie to the Rocky Mountains. The goal of the act ws to bring in silver and gold from the western territories to bolster the Union's war chests.

President Abraham LINCOLN commissioned the DODGE brothers of Council Bluff to build the Union Pacific Railroad, planned to run from Omaha to a point along the border of Nevada. Here it would connect with the Central Pacific Railroad.

Grenville DODGE, the chief engineer of the Union Pacific, and his brother Nathaniel explored possible railroad sites throughout the Midwest which included Northern Iowa. During their travels,they explored the area around Clear Lake.

After the Civil War, the DODGE brothers returned to Clear Lake and purchased ten acres that included the Point from Edward C. DAVIS. DAVIS had previously purchased the property from the United States government for timber. This property became known as Dodge's Point Park.

Around 1875, the DODGE brothers purchased an additional 104 acres, including Long Beach, renamed Dodge's Point Beach.

Nathaniel P. DODGE'S summer home was built right on the Point.

Dr. Roy WOODWARD of Mason City, purchased a lot along Dodge's Point Beach where he built the WOODWARD family cottage, Pei Tai Ho, in 1925.

The Globe Gazette
Mason City, Iowa
Monday, December 3, 2007
by Kristin Buehner of The Globe Gazette

Gen. Dodge Purchased Plot in 1870's

CLEAR LAKE — Dodge’s Point was named for Gen. Nathaniel P. DODGE, of Council Bluffs, who purchased the 124-acre plot that is Dodge's Point in the 1870's, according to newspaper accounts of the time.

DODGE built a two-story summer cottage with three bedrooms and a covered porch in 1875 on the tip of the point, where he had a view of the entire lake. The property also included two buildings for servants and a boathouse, said Mason City President Channing "Chan" DAKIN in his history of Dodge's Point.

In 1907, all but the DODGE cottage and one acre of land around it were purchased by the Dodge's Point and Park Co., led by Mason City attorney Hugh SHEPARD. They platted the land and sold it off as lots.

Other officers of the corporation were B. C. WAY, owner of the Mason City Telephone Co.; Truman A. POTTER, who would later become mayor of Mason City; and Sam A. SCHNEIDER, a Mason City banker.

WAY was also an officer of the Dodge's Point Country Club. Others were Frank J. HANLON, president of People's Gas in Mason City, and Mason City meatpacker Jacob E. DECKER.

All of them built cottages on Dodge's Point.

Iowa Bankers at Dodge's Point, June 16th, 1911
Photograph by F. Mench

Cottages typically featured front porches, rustic wooden furniture, window seats, massive stone fireplaces and telephones.

The Dodge's Point and Park Co. also bought a line of 35 rowboats, four sailboats and two steamers to provide transportation to and from the Mason City and Clear Lake interurban trolley for prospective buyers, DAKIN said.

"The pride of the fleet" was a 50-foot gas launch called the Arawanna that could carry 125 passengers.

During the 1940's, Des Moines businessman John Ruan acquired a cottage on Dodge's Point, adjoining the lot on which the DODGE cottage stood. In 1952, he purchased the DODGE cottage and the one-acre lot and demolished Dodge's cottage.

The Episcopal Church of Iowa later purchased the Dodge's Point Country Club for a state camp named Camp Morrison, after the church's bishop. A dining hall, dormitory, chapel, office and ice house were part of the site.

In the 1970's, the camp was purchased by John EVANS of Mason City and the dining hall converted into a private home. EVANS demolished the other buildings, except the chapel, which he converted into a two-stall garage.

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Dodge's Point

Dodge's Point

Dodge's Point

Dodge's Point

Bayview Road
Judge Weaver Cottage
Dodges's Point Park, 1910



The Globe Gazette, Mason City IA

Compilation by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2011


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