The past lives again

If this month’s Frontier Days festivities rekindled your interest in the early history of Fort Dodge, you won’t want to miss the 11th annual Oakland Cemetery Walk to be held Saturday and Sunday.

Oakland Cemetery has been part of Fort Dodge history since the community’s earliest days. It wasn’t officially established until 1866, but burials there date back to 1851. The cemetery has the distinction of being on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of those for whom it is the final resting place have played important roles in the evolution of our town. That’s why each year for more than a decade, local actors have offered contemporary Fort Dodgers the opportunity to meet some of the men and women who shaped local history – at their gravesites.

On Saturday, tours will run from 1 to 3 p.m. To join a tour at Oakland Cemetery, a shuttle service will pick up visitors at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1436 21st Ave. N. The cost is $7 per person. Children under 10 are admitted free.

There is a 2 p.m. performance on June 22 in the Bioscience and Health Sciences Building at Iowa Central Community College.

This year the actors, clothed in period attire, will reacquaint us with the following 10 individuals:

H.R. Bradshaw, 1845-1925, operated an early brick and tile works in Fort Dodge. Portrayed by John Metier.

George L Cruikshank, 1834-1914, businessman, farmer and postmaster of Dakota City. Served with the 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry during the Civil War. Portrayed by Ben Ahlers.

The Rev. J. Dolliver, 1816-1905 Retired minister. Portrayed by the Rev. Jim Laupp.

David Fessler, 1830-1896, owned the first clothing store in Fort Dodge and opened the New Opera House. Portrayed by Adam Liker.

Isaac Garmoe, 1827-1907, Margaret Garmoe, 1823-1912. He was a director of the Fort Dodge Savings Bank and a treasurer of Webster County. Portrayed by Jesse and Susan Helling.

Frank W. Paige, 1853-1932, botanist who was one of Iowa’s leading experts on mushrooms. Portrayed by Brad McIntyre.

Jeannie Ringland, 1873-1946, mother of Ann Smeltzer, last occupant of the historic Ringland Smeltzer House. Portrayed by Susan Ahlers Leman.

C.B. Smeltzer, 1870-1941, an early Fort Dodge banker and father of Ann Smeltzer. Portrayed by Steve Kersten.

Richard Welch, 1910-1994, owner of the Welch Shoe Co. Portrayed by Matt Drees.

Cemetery Walk is a fundraiser for the preservation of Oakland Cemetery. It is also an important, thought-provoking celebration of Fort Dodge history. Don’t miss this chance to meet some of the people who helped build our hometown.