The Fort Dodge Messenger: March 11, 1904
Should Not Lose Opportunities
Commissioner Harmon of the Commercial Club, on Manufacturing Institutions
Many Are Moving West
City Shows an Unprogressive Spirit in Not Securing Locations
‘Western towns never had a better plum plucking opportunity than the present,” said Commissioner Harmon of the Commercial Club today. “Factories and labor employing institutions all thru the east, harassed by the numerous labor troubles prevailing there, are driven to seek new locations. Many western cities are reaping large benefits from this condition of affairs and are landing factories galore. Fort Dodge has had scores of opportunities to get good things in this line, but she is too slow in closing her deals. While Fort Dodge is dickering for better terms, some other town, willing to pay the bonus asked, steps in and takes the prize. We have lost a number of splendid things in just this way.
“Fort Dodge, with her numerous natural advantages, shipping facilities, etc., works on the principal (sic) that she ought not be required to give any bonus; that her superior advantages should suffice without any cash inducement. it always proves, however, that it is the town that is willing to pay, which lands the institution every time. Fort Dodge should be forced to realize the situation. It should get out and cinch these deals before they are all snapped up by other towns willing to pay the price.
“Fort Dodge as a town is all right, but she is slack in this one matter. When I was in Chicago, the manager of a great bonding firm said: ‘Say, do you know Fort Dodge is the best town on the map of Iowa. Her wealth of gypsum, when fully developed alone is enough to make her the best town in the sate.’ I think the gentleman was right, but a town can’t rely altogether on natural resources. It must get out and hustle for things and be willing to spend a little money or be left behind. I know of one instance where a city no larger than Fort Dodge received a proposition and raised a bonus of $100,000 in forty-eight hours. Fort Dodge is just as wealthy as the place in mind, but such an amount could not possibly be raised here in even a much longer period of time.”