Badger Township was organized on October 10, 1865, and the town of Badger was laid
out and plotted by Charles Knudson in 1882. Knudson is known as the "Founder of
Myron Fleming was the first settler in the town of Badger. He served as the first
postmaster, and he built and operated the first general store in 1881. His daughter
Josie was the first child born in Badger in 1882.
Otto Ottoson and N.P. Hill built the first elevator in 1885. One year later, the
Peevie Company built another elevator nearby. Both of these elevators were purchased
by the Quaker Oats Company. In 1902, the Farmers Elevator Company was organized,
and in 1942 it was reorganized and became the Badger Cooperative Elevator. In 1973,
it merged with the Vincent Co-op Elevator and formed the New Co-op.
A local farmer, Tom Chantland, developed a superior
open-pollinated corn which bears his name. Tom and his son Alfred put up a seed
cleaning plant at their farm. Alfred built a gravity separator which they used for
grading alfalfa and clover seeds. Alfred also built a conveyor for loading bags
of seed, which sparked the idea of the Chantland Manufacturing Company. This company
was formed in the early 1940's, building its first conveyors in a garage at the
Alfred Chantland was also responsible for building the Elton Seed and Milling Company
in the 1940's. In 1956, Maurice Johanson purchased the seed mill, and later changed
the name to Johanson's Seed and Milling Company. He operated the mill until 1987,
when he turned it over to his son Steven, who still operates the company today.
Otto Ottoson established the Bank of Badger in 1889. The name was later changed
to the State Bank of Badger, and in 1894 to the Badger Savings Bank. The Badger
Credit Union was incorporated in 1939, and sold to the First National Bank of Fort
Dodge in 1968. In 1989, Farmers Savings Bank opened. It is a branch of Farmers Savings
The community has had several doctors who have resided or have had an office in
Badger. The first was Dr. Dahl in 1902, and the last was Dr. Otto Glesne in 1928.
The first telephone company, Badger Telephone, was started In the late 1800's. In
1956, it converted to a dial system. In 1959, the company was sold to North Central
Telephone Company. In 1986, the company was sold to Webster-Calhoun Cooperative
In the early 1900's, Adolph and Alfred Knudson built a town hall. It was used for
school programs, basket socials, home talent plays, band practices and group meetings.
A new brick community hall was erected in 1927, where all community events and indoor
sports were held. The community spirit was at its height at this time, resulting
in an award for being "Iowa's Leading Farm Community".
Badger had been recognized as a town since 1882, but it was not until February 8,
1900, that the town was incorporated.
Fire Department was formed in the early 1900's. The citizens later organized a volunteer
fire department. In 1941, the department purchased a front-end pumper, and in 1951,
an International was purchased. In 1971, a Breda Pumper was purchased, in 1972 a
small tanker, and in 1979 a new van. In 1980, a semi-tanker was added, and then
in 1984 a 1955 FWD Pumper. In 1977 a new station was built on Knudson Street.
Badger Lutheran Church sends deep roots into the past. According to the Rev. O.A.
Sauer's records, the first Norwegians arrived in Badger in 1867. In 1869, Badger
Evangelical Lutheran Congregation, affiliated with the Norwegian Synod, was organized,
with 200 members. Therefore, the Badger Lutheran Church of today dates back to 1869.
The very early education in Badger began in a grainery [granary] on Patrick Mitchell's
farm with Susan Calligan as the teacher. In 1862, the Houge School was started on
Houge land in Section 3. Later a new school was built in the northwest corner of
Section 8. This became Houge School District 3. In 1863 a school was built in Section
13 on the Maher land. Later a wooden structure was erected in Section 19, which
became District 4. By 1885 there were seven schools in the township with an enrollment
of 100 children and many adults who attended during the winter months.
One of the first organizations in Badger was the Young Ladies Society, which was
organized in 1894. In 1906, the Society served the first Norwegian Supper. These
suppers have been held for more than 90 years. Another organization is the Badger
Lions, which was chartered in 1973 and sponsored by the Humboldt Lions Club. Membership
rose to 44 in the late 70's, and today is at 15. In addition, the Badger 39ers meet
twice a month, on the first and third Mondays. The group has 36 members.
The 10 rural districts, which existed for more than 80 years, educated hundreds
of children in one-room schoolhouses that were heated by coal or oil. Students who
wanted to attend high school either stayed in Fort Dodge during the week or drove
to school with a student who was fortunate enough to own a Model T. In 1955 a new
Central Elementary School was built in the southwest part of Knudson Park. All 10
rural schools were sold at auction. in 1966, Badger became part of the Fort Dodge
School District. At that time, junior high students were bused to Fort Dodge, leaving
only six grades in Badger. In 1985 the sixth grade was also transferred to Fort
Dodge. In 1990, Badger Elementary School was closed amid much controversy.
The biggest event for Badger community was the community picnic held at the close
of each school year. The first picnic was held June 25, 1923 at Knudson Park. There
was a parade led by the Badger Band, followed by war veterans, floats and children
and teachers from each district. A program with performances given by the students
and teachers followed the parade.