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It’s a wonderful life…

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A few miles west of Agincourt on the road toward Storm Lake, the village of Fahnstock has become a bedroom suburb and lost much of its leafy rural quality. This was especially true after the Aerodrome located nearby in the 1930s. But from 1909 until the market crash, Fahnstock was an idyllic stop on the interurban to Fennimore county’s lake country. The trolley branched there during “the season” to take revelers to Resort, the gateway stop for access to Sturm und Drang.

Founded by Elias Fahnstock in the 1870s, the village that bears his family name was never intended as serious competition for Agincourt. He was content to watch that battle waged between Agincourt and Muskrat City, knowing full well that the latter had been sited poorly on fertile bottom land that was too inclined to flood. As friend and confidant of Amos Beddowes, de facto Indian Agent for these parts and closely aligned with the Sac & Fox people through marriage to their medicine woman She-Listens-to-the-Moon, Fahnstock knew that the coming railroad was inevitable and far more likely to pass through his modest town site on land better situated for a likely route between Fort Dodge and the Missouri Valley. By 1880 the village had a bank, post office, general store and two-room grade school, while the interurban branch line for summer people gave it added business during pleasant weather.

This postcard view of about 1910 shows State Bank head cashier Julian Bleach standing in front of the simple wood-framed bank. What appear to be brick are sheets of tin or galvanized metal stamped to simulate brick. To the left is part of the general store which also served as post office until its closing in the Depression.


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