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Downtown Commercial District

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c. 1875–mid-20th century. Bounded roughly by 2nd and 5th aves. NE, 3rd and 5th sts. NE, and Railroad Ave.

After a catastrophic 1884 fire wiped out the downtown, burgeoning commercial growth was perhaps less concerned with stylistic detail than with quickly erected commercial space. Though largely dependent on the railroad for building materials from outside sources, Devils Lake had success manufacturing masonry materials, with the most productive facility being the Devils Lake Petrified Brick and Stone Company. The landmark Great Northern Hotel (RY3) provided lodging for the recreational tourists attracted to the lake and for travelers making connections throughout the northeastern region of the state. The city’s first academically trained architect was Joseph A. Shannon (1859–1934). His contributions to the architectural fabric of the community, along with those of architects John Marshall (1864–1949) and Henry J. Scherer (1890–1956), have yielded a richly diverse group of downtown buildings.

Writing Credits

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


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "Downtown Commercial District", [Devils Lake, 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, 101-101.

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