Hired to design the structure was Henry Kamphoefner, a young architect from Sioux City who had won international recognition for a pavilion which was constructed in Sioux City in 1935. When completed in 1938 the Fort Dodge Bandshell was already considered an excellent example of Modern Movement Architecture. It is made wholly of reinforced concrete cast in smooth-lined forms. WPA funding took care of 85% of the $45,000 cost, the City of Fort Dodge making up the remainder. The Oleson Park Music Pavilion was chosen by the State of Iowa as its example of architectural excellence at the 1939 World's Fair in New York. The bandshell has special added significance because of its close association to Karl King and Henry Kamphoefner.
Ground Breaking for Oleson Park Music Pavilion - June, 1936
Karl King Band Manager Walt Engelbart is pictured at the left, State Senator Ed Breen is on the right.
Along with Karl King, these men were the ones who really pushed for this project.
The pavilion was the product of the Great Depression of the 1930's and its construction reflected a sense of optimism and hope for the future at one of the low points in our nation's history. Constructed under the Federal Works Progress Administration, it was designed to bring economic relief by providing jobs and stimulation for the local economy. The bandshell has become one of the most recognizable structures in Webster County and is clearly a symbol of Fort Dodge. The dedication of the bandshell, which was held June 7, 1938 in conjunction with the annual convention of the Iowa Bandmasters Association, was one of the largest celebrations in the history of Fort Dodge. More that 15,000 people attended the dedicatory concert.
This is a popular Bill Fuller photo of Oleson Park Bandshell
August 24, 1962
2004 photo of the Karl King Bandshell in Oleson Park
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