The B., C. R. & N. Ry. was graded and laid through Fern Valley township in 1881. Wm. Thompson had a post office at his farm on section 18 which was called Fern Valley. A man by the name of Rodman of Forest City, an old retired sailor, owned some land on the right of way in the township and he offered the railway company a half interest if they would plat a town on his land and call it "Rodman." This was done and the station house was the only building except the temporary boarding shanties for some time. Wm. Thompson moved his post office from his farm into town and changed the name to Rodman.
Thomas Bates built the first house and boarded the section hands and worked on the railroad. Mart Fritz built a house and E.E. Shriner built a store in 1888. W.D. Fenn built the next house.
There were several large hay barns put up about this time and the buying and shipping of hay became the leading business of the town. M.L. Fritz built a hotel and several other stores, blacksmith shop, and other buildings were erected from time to time. After several attempts to have a creamery, the people of the town finally got together, borrowed money from a bank at Emmetsburg, and the creamery was built in 1895. Later more hay barns and two elevators were built, and several more business ventures came to the little town.
History of Palo Alto County - Dwight G. McCarty ©1910. Provided Courtesy of The Reporter.