Old Rolfe


44673 325th Ave, Rolfe, IA 50581

“Old Rolfe”, located a few miles northeast of the present town of Rolfe, was the first town in Pocahontas County. Today, there remains a war memorial and marker where the first courthouse in the county stood from 1860-1876. The beautiful marker was built by Father Paul Dobberstein, creator of the nearby Grotto of the Redemption. In May of 1857 a party of pioneers consisting of Robert Struthers, W.H. Hait, A. H. Malcolm, and Guernsey Smith, came from Fort Dodge with an ox team along the Des Moines River until they reached the northeast corner of the Des Moines Township. At this time there were no settlers in the county except for a few in the south along the Lizard lake settlement. The first claims on record were shanties built in June of 1858. Hait, was the first to establish his claim, 280 acres, at age 23. He erected the first log house in Pocahontas County. A thriving frontier community grew quickly out of this. In 1861 a school house was built next to the Hait cabin. Helen Harvey was the first teacher. These early settlers took the lead in the organization of Pocahontas County. The public offices and public buildings used for the creation of the government of Pocahontas County were located at what is now referred to as “Old Rolfe.” This privilege was maintained for a period of seventeen years when the public records and offices were moved to Center township in 1876.

Old Rolfe on the map