In 1869, one of the greatest hoaxes of the 19th century happened here.
Stubb Newell of Cardiff, NY needed a new well. On Oct 16, 1869, Stubb directed two well diggers to a spot he selected behind his barn. They dug 3 feet and hit something solid. The well diggers uncovered a huge foot, as they dug more, an entire body of a man emerged. 2 days later a large tent was placed over the 10 foot stone man and crowds of nearly 200-500 people/day paid 50 cents to see this giant. Scientists, philosophers and the clergy all attended and were challenged in their beliefs. As the story grew - so did those who cried hoax.
P.T. Barnum offered $60,000 to have the giant but was turned down. He then created his own giant based on this giant to display in NYC. Finally the story broke down as people recalled a man named George Hull (cousin of Newell) visiting a gypsum mine in Fort Dodge, IA in 1868. He commissioned a 5 ton block to be used to "carve a statue of Abraham Lincoln". The block of gypsum was shipped to Chicago and carved into this giant man. The surface was treated with acids and picked at with needles to give it an antiquated aged look. It was then shipped and buried in NY. And the rest is history...
Today the giant rests at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown, NY However, the people of Ft Dodge figured why not get in on the action, and in 1969 - a replica was created from the same gypsum quary and is on display at the Fort Museum.