Created By: North Dakota State University
In the early days of firefighting, there was a romance and thrill involved. Town folk would come out to watch the men at work. It may seem macabre now, but before television, phones, or widespread radio usage, getting the scoop required going to the source! Firemen were seen as heroes, surely, but also as entertainers! (1) The 1889 Firemen’s Tournament included a parade with marching bands and a showing off of skill and equipment, as was expected by Fargoans.
In looking at the photo with the tree branch arches, as constructed for the Firemen’s Tournament, you can see the Daily Republican on the left side of the photo. This photo from 1889 shows the building’s ground floor inset and columns as well as Fargo’s raised wooden plank sidewalks, which helped the fire to travel. (2) This building, was not the original Republican. In 1880, the offices burned but the press was salvaged and the paper didn’t even miss a day’s print! (3)
The second photo, taken around 1905, shows the building you see today, which was rebuilt in 1893, refaced in 1899 after another fire licked at its doorstep, and refaced again as it went from Wasen Guard Furniture Dealers first, to D.I. Ames Furniture Store around 1905 (as shown). Fargo Plumbing and Heating Company occupied from 1910-1922 followed by two convenience stores, Osco Drug (1965-78), and Metro Drug which closed its doors recently. (4)
While it is believed by most that everything was lost in the Great Fire, a few microfilms of the Daily Republican are still available to browse. The films, created from original newspapers, are at State Historical Society of ND in Bismarck.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Fargo In Flames