Fort Dodge, Iowa is a small town version of Detroit. It is a virtually abandoned downtown and a shrinking population.
This generous gift of failure and desolation came from unions. Fort Dodge was a union town that produced most of the gypsum and wallboard in United States. It was also a major meat butchering center.
The peak population of Fort Dodge was 1970. From that point on businesses learned that they could move away and leave unions behind.
The bleak nature of downtown Fort Dodge is due to the very nature of union workers.
Union workers, in most cases, are zombies who seek a life with no work effort, abundant paternal care and no risk of having to learn new skills.
A union worker is not the kind of person to start a small retail business in the dying downtown. And they didn’t. There was no Renaissance. There are just two large shopping centers on the periphery.