Post card, postmarked 1903
In the brief history of the Fort Dodge Armory found on the Karl King website, it is written that Fort Dodge's original armory was considered too small and too close to the downtown. The establishment of the 56th Regimental Band in Fort Dodge in 1903 (which included an annual allocation from the government for rehearsal hall rental) provided the occasion for the community to construct a new armory which opened its doors in 1904. The 1904 armory still stands today at 710 1st Avenue North where it has long served as the Laramar Ballroom. The famous rocker Buddy Holly played the Laramar just a couple of days before his fatal plane crash on February 2, 1959.
The first postcard above is postmarked 1903, one year before the armory officially opened in 1904. One possible explanation for this discrepancy is that this is a "construction photo" of the new facility, a theory which is supported by the lack of landscaping or sidewalks, the temporary boardwalk in front of the entrance to the building, and what seems to be a pile of construction debris to the left of the building.
The Armory was at one time the home of the 56th Infantry Band, under the direction of Carl Quist.
Source: Karl King: Circus Bandleader and March King