Built in 1865, Fort Dodge is the oldest permanent settlement in this area of Kansas. It not only protected those traveling on the trail, but provided supplies and a resting place for traders and buffalo hunters. The first buildings were sod and adobe, and some troops lived in dugouts. Once lumber arrived, wooden buildings were erected. At its greatest capacity, the fort boasted four companies of infantry.
The fort was abandoned in 1882. Eight years later, Fort Dodge was deeded to the state for use as a soldiers home. Today, it still serves this purpose as a retirement community and nursing facility for retired Kansas veterans. A historic library and self-guided walking tour tell the fort's history to visitors. Many of the original buildings are still in use.
Fort Dodge is now comprised of a peaceful park, quiet shaded tree lined walks, and dignified buildings, both old and new.