As Iowans visit haunted houses this Halloween weekend, an abandoned hotel in downtown Fort Dodge will open for what are being called flashlight tours.
Terry Moehnke serves on the committee that puts on the town’s annual fireworks show and the tours are a way to raise money for the event. Moehnke says the Warden Plaza building may not be haunted, but it is spooky as it’s been vacant for some time.
“A few years ago, it was given away to a non-profit as kind of a tax process,” he says, “and they more or less went in and tore the copper wires and plumbing out of the building.” The eight-story building has some 200 apartments on the upper six floors with the lower two levels in retail shops, all empty — and a bit scary. It first opened more than 90 years ago. The power is out so all visitors will need to bring flashlights to see the once-beautiful interior.
“The paint is pretty well falling off which is kind of artistically interesting,” Moehnke says. “There’s a lot of debris, a lot of construction material laying around, but structurally, the building is sound.”
He says the city plans to renovate the building next spring. The tours cost $5 and will run both today (Saturday) and Sunday. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Dodge-Fireworks-Celebration-1420262758240755/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf>
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)