Created By: North Dakota State University
The Federal Post Office Building in Moorhead, Minnesota, was built in 1915 to serve as both the federal courthouse and the post office. The building architect was Oscar Wenderoth, who was a government architect who designed several federal courthouse buildings across the country during his active years, mostly between the years of 1910-1915. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 during a county wide assessment of Clay County, Minnesota for buildings of historical significance. The Federal Post Office was selected due to being an example of a government designed building built for federal purposes and its successful transition from federal building into the Plains Art Museum in 1966. Because of urban renewal in the 1970’s, it is one of the few tangible reminders of Moorhead’s architectural past. Today, it serves as the Rourke Art Museum.
Oscar Wenderoth, the architect who designed the Federal Post Office Building, began his career as draftsman at the architect firm of Theophilius Parson Chandler and eventually made his way as an architect for the government. He designed several other federal buildings and post offices in California and Washington during his time as Supervising Architect of Treasury, a position he was appointed to by President Taft in 1912. Wenderoth left that position after just three years, under mysterious circumstances that were never disclosed to the public. He went blind in 1920 and died in 1938.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Moorhead Historic Preservation Walking Tour