You are here

William F. and Isabelle Lemke Home Building Association House

-A A +A
1920. 1222 9th St. S
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

This two-story house with shed-roofed dormers and glass sun porches is fairly typical of Craftsman designs. The house’s history begins with the populist Nonpartisan League (NPL) capturing the state’s Republican Party in 1916 and dominating the state legislature after the 1918 elections. The NPL established such progressive programs as the North Dakota State Mill and Elevator (GF29), the Bank of North Dakota, a state-owned printing commission, and the North Dakota Home Building Association (HBA), administered by the appointed three-person Industrial Commission, of which William F. Lemke was a member. The HBA began slowly because of investor reluctance to buy its bonds, but it soon authorized loans for three new houses, one of which was this house for Lemke. He borrowed four thousand dollars of the construction cost from the HBA and the remainder from his wife, but cost overruns and design changes during construction eventually provided political ammunition for the conservative rival Independent Voters Association (IVA). In the second half of 1920, building permits were taken out for twenty HBA-funded houses in the vicinity of Lemke’s. Most were modest bungalows, but seven were built speculatively for resale, sparking media characterization of “mismanagement” of the state program. HBA houses in the south Fargo district are testament to an interesting experiment with state socialism in North Dakota’s history and to Lemke’s political influence.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "William F. and Isabelle Lemke Home Building Association House", [Fargo, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 45-46.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.