Lessons Learned in a Giant’s Town

On May 10, 2008, I loaded up into the famous Rideshare Van with Baier and we headed to Fort Dodge to tour the Fort Dodge Museum and see the “Real” Cardiff Giant.

I already knew that there would be a certain amount of controversy surrounding the trip and the Cardiff Giant due to the Cardiff Giant’s phallus. However, I will delve more deeply into the realm of the Cardiff Giant and his junk later. Today I just want to cover some of the salient points of the trip.

We did some important things like:

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Take the Traditional Road Trip Photo

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Pretend to be Repentant Prisoners

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
See the Cardiff Giant

However we also learned a few things on this trip.

heck out the “Conditions for Employment for Teachers” in 19th Century Central Iowa.

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Like you can read that! Stop squinting!

Since you can’t read that, let me start out by saying I know some womenfolk that I hold in very high regard. Some of them its even for their morality. But I don’t know a single womanfolk that could hold to these standards or would even bother trying.

Conditions for Employment

  • Must not dress in bright colors
  • Dresses must not be more than two inches above the ankles
  • At least 2 petticoats must be worn (I’d kind of like to know why that matters.)
  • Petticoats will be dried in pillowcases (Again, why does that matter?)
  • Teachers will not marry
  • Teachers will not keep company with men
  • Will not get into a carriage or automobile with any man, except her brother or father
  • Teachers are expected to be at home between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.
  • Teacher will not smoke
  • Teacher will not play cards
  • Teacher will not dye her hair under any circumstance (Not even if dressing as Ginny Weasley for Halloween)
  • Teacher will attend church each Sunday
  • Teacher will either teach Sunday School OR sing in the choir
  • Teacher will not leave town without permission of the Chairman of the School Board
  • BUT THIS ONE IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE: Teachers will not loiter at ice cream stores

Another lesson learned on this trip is that the man who carved the “Real” Cardiff Giant looked eerily similar to Donald Pleasence’s Doctor Loomis character from the horror movie classic Halloween (1978).

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Dr. Loomis

Haddonfield isn’t all that far away. I bet Smith’s Grove isn’t that far away either. Perhaps he just swung over on his breaks.

Even though I haven’t watched a horror movie in many a year now, I still have thoughts like this running through my head (in Donald Pleasence’s voice) when I look at the Cardiff Giant:

I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the *devil’s* eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that [Giant’s] eyes was purely and simply… *evil*.


– I- I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.


This isn’t a man.

A final non-gypsum-phallus related lesson we learned is never eat at the Fort Dodge Bonanza, no matter how nostalgic you are feeling for the old Ames Bonanza. The high point of that meal was watching an employee refill the buffet with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth.

There are many more pictures posted in the famous Photography 139 Gallery in The Cardiff Giant Road Trip Album:

Cardiff Giant Road Trip


There are some bonus pictures in the Friends Album that you have to be a Registered User to see. There might have been some rules violations in those pictures and I don’t feel right posting those for the whole world to see after the Museum Director asked to buy some pictures off of me.