Cathedral of St. Mary

A Look Around Downtown Fargo

Cathedral of St. Mary

Fargo, North Dakota 58105, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


St. Mary's Cathedral was built in 1899 as the Catholic Church in Fargo. The property also contains the Bishop's Residence as today the Cathedral also serves as the seat of the Catholic Diocese of Fargo.

The church was designed by Edward P. Bassford head architect of Bassford & Company of Minneapolis. The design is that of Victorian Gothic Revival. It was built by a construction company from Duluth, Minnesota and local architect firm, the Hancock Brothers, supervised the construction.

The bell tower stands at 172 feet tall and houses the lone bell of the cathedral. The smaller tower of the cathedral houses a statue of the Virgin Mary.

The Cathedral was commissioned by North Dakota's first Bishop John Shanley. Bishop Shanley who sought to move the Diocese from Jamestown to Fargo, purchased the land for the church and construction begain in 1891. Construction was temporarily halted in 1893 by the Fargo fire. The building was finally completed in 1899. It remained the only Catholic church in Fargo until 1917.

Bishop Shanley was honored by the Diocese, naming the local Catholic High School after him.


  1. “Catholic Diocese of Fargo, ND.” Accessed December 10, 2016.
  2. “Cathedral of St. Mary - Fargo, ND.” Accessed December 10, 2016.
  3. “Cathedral of St. Mary | Fargo History.” Accessed December 5, 2016.
  4. Fargo Historic Preservation Commission. A Look Around Downtown: Fargo Heritage Discovery Walk. Second. Fargo, North Dakota: Fargo-Moorhead Heritage Society, 2006.

Photo Sources:

  1. Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (2042.6.1)
  2. Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (2023.M-4)
  3. “012666.jpg (620×349).” Accessed December 10, 2016.
  4. Bjoertvedt. English: Images from Central Fargo, North Dakota., June 30, 2012. Own work.

This point of interest is part of the tour: A Look Around Downtown Fargo


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