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A Brief Timeline of Agincourt History

This is a work in progress. Give me a little time… Jeez, this is hard.

1850 — The former reservation of the Sac & Fox people opened to White settlement; a minor land rush ensued. • Fennimore County was authorized, with Muskrat City as seat of government.

1853 — The section that would become Agincourt was purchased by a syndicate of five Philadelphia investors. • Later that year, the Original Townsite plat was filed at the Fennimore County courthouse in Muskrat City. • Former Indian agent Amos Beddowes built the first house at the townsite, a log cabin now in Riverside Park.

1857 — Agincourt incorporated as a municipality, with a mayor and council of four members. [Population ±200]

1858Spring floods devastate Muskrat City for the third consecutive year. County residents voted to relocate the courthouse twelve miles north at Agincourt; the original Italianate courthouse building was cut in two parts and moved. Teams of draft horses required five days to move the building to a temporary bridge over Crispin Creek and then to the square set aside in the O.T. for a government building. • The Daily Plantagenet began publication.

1861 — First Civil War casualties were buried at The Shades. John Beddowes was among them.

1860 — The Fennimore County Agricultural & Mechanical Society acquired approximately ninety acres for a fairgrounds on the west bank of the Muskrat River. Construction began with grandstands and a race track.

1868 — Saint Ahab Roman Catholic parish organized by Rev Francis Manning. Construction of the first church began soon after.

18— — Bishop Kemper Academy opened on the block provided in the original townsite east of The Commons.

1888-1889 — Construction of the second courthouse began from designs by East Coast architect William Halsey Wood

1893 — Harney’s Orpheum, Agincourt’s first legitimate theatre at the corner of First Street SW and The Avenue, burned on August 1st. A stock company formed to build it replacement, The Auditorium.

1895 — The Merchants National Bank merged with the Farmers & Mechanics State Bank and reorganized as the F+M+M National Bank. • Construction of The Blenheim hotel. Opening season at the new Auditorium.

1899 — Enlargement of Saint Joseph-the-Carpenter Episcopal church, with the addition of new transept-narthex and baptistry.

1905 — An archaeological dig at The Mound was organized by archaeologists from the University of Iowa.

1907 — Agincourt celebrated its Golden Anniversary on October 25th (Founders Day), 1907 at the Fennimore County Fairgrounds, including horse racing and a major fireworks display. John Philip Sousa wrote “March to Agincourt” for the event. Founders Day is officially established by the Common Council on October 25th as a day of municipal celebration.

1908 — Construction of the F+M+M Bank at 2 North Broad Street.

1909 — Service began on the Northwest Iowa Transit Company’s [NITC] line between Agincourt and Fort Dodge, where it connected with the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern. • The legislature authorized the Northwest Iowa Normal School in a former county orphanage (vacant since 1905); Dr W.A.K.E. Reinhardt became the first president.

1910 — NITC right-of-way pushed westward toward Storm Lake; a branch line diverted from Fahnstock to the Station-Store at Lake Sturm und Drang. Twice-daily summer service ran to the lake from May 15th to September 1st. Construction of the Wasserman Block.

1912 — Fire consumed the Masonic Lodge at 1 North Broad Street. The lodge built a third floor on the F+M+M bank across the street and donated its former site for “a public library or other community resource”. Anson Tennant modified the Wasserman Block and opened his architectural office in Suite 205-207. • A short NITC branch line extended to the fairgrounds.

1914 — Architect Anson Tennant received the commission for the new public library; the program grew to include an art gallery and venue for banquets and other community celebrations.

1915 — Anson Tennant sailed for Liverpool on the RMS Lusitania and disappeared with its sinking on May 8th.

1916 — Saint Crispin’s Chapel was added to Saint Joseph-the-Carpenter as a memorial to Anson Tennant, thought to have been lost on the Lusitania. The crypt beneath the chapel serves as a Tennant family mausoleum.

1918 — Influenza Pandemic: the former Episcopal School was used as a hospital and quarantine facility, and a special section of The Shades was set aside for burial of influenza deaths.

1919-1920 — Construction of Asbury Methodist Episcopal church (later Asbury UMC) designed by Liebbe Nourse & Rasmussen, architects of Des Moines.

19xx — The Archers, a Double-A baseball team is organized and a baseball field established at the fairgrounds. • Northwest Iowa Normal signed a coöperative arrangement with the Fennimore County Fair board to share athletic facilities on the fairgrounds.

1937 — Anson Tennant was discovered living in the Basque Country of Northern Spain and reunited with his Iowa family.

1941-1945 — Agincourt went to war.

1950-1951 — Construction of the new Roman Catholic church (Francis Barry Byrne, architect), dedicated as Christ the King. • The grave of Rev Manning was discovered while excavating for the new church and was reinterred at St Ahab Cemetery.

1957 — The Founders Day celebration included “Agincourt Suite”, adapted by British composer Sir William Walton from the score for the Lawrence Olivier film “Henry V”.

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1966 — The “Historic Preservation Act of 1966” was passed by Congress. The Fennimore Heritage Society forms to consider nominations.

1966 — The second Fennimore County courthouse was struck by lightening and burned, though arson is suspected. Commissioners interviewed architects for the new facility.

1968 — The third courthouse was dedicated on July 4th on the plaza defined by the second courthouse footprint.

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2007 — Agincourt’s sesqui-centennial. American composer Daron Hagen wrote “Agincourt Fanfare” for thirteen brass instruments; its world premier occured on Founders’ Day.

2015 — The 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt was celebrated on October 25th, including the premier of “We Few” by American composer Daron Hagen, Agincourt’s official “Composer-not-in-Residence”. A tandem celebration was staged at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead, Minnesota.

2016 — “Welcome to Agincourt, Iowa: the town that time forgot and geography misplaced” was presented at the Historical Fictions Research Conference at Cambridge, UK.

2018 — Competition for the design of Saint Ahab’s Chapel at Christ the King R.C. Church.

2018 — “How Cities Happen(ed): The Agincourt Project”, an exhibit focussed on Agincourt history, opened at the Rourke Art Museum during November 2018.

2021 — “What if…?” presented at the Historical Fiction Research Network, Salzburg, Austria.

2023 — “The Agincourt Project” presented at the Lake Superior Design Retreat, Duluth, MN.

2023 — “The Agincourt Project”, article in AIA North Dakota.

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