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Founded in 1871, Fargo spread from two ragtag settlements at a crossing of the Red River that were known historically as “Fargo in the Timber” and “Fargo on the Prairie.” Academically trained architects and experienced designer-builders soon discovered a growing market for their services. An agricultural college was established in Fargo in 1890 (now North Dakota State University, NDSU; CS41), and numerous trade schools, business colleges, and private or church-affiliated schools contributed to the economic engine that served the region’s agriculture. The Great Fargo Fire of 1893 transformed the architectural growth of Fargo. In August of that year, strong winds spread a fire from the foot of Broadway near the Northern Pacific Railway tracks that consumed almost the entire downtown stock of commercial and residential buildings. The fire occurred the same year as the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, resulting in the widespread adoption of Classical Revival in Fargo’s reconstruction, which was then transmitted to smaller communities of the southeast region.

Writing Credits

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

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