Created By: North Dakota State University
The Ford Motor Company built an assembly plant in downtown Fargo at 505 Broadway in 1914. The Chicago School style building was designed by Ford's head architect, John Graham of Seattle,Washington. The building had show rooms and a garage on the first floor, offices and a shop on the second floor and the assembly plant on the third floor.
The plant was located along the Great Northern Railroad tracks and had a spur line running through the building. Automobiles were assembled, then taken to the roof by elevator and washed. This is the reason for the building's iconic "Ford" water tower on the rooftop.
After the cars and trucks were washed and shined they were returned to the ground level. The automobiles were loaded on to rail cars while still inside the building and sent to cities across the Midwest.
Assembly plants such as this one were built to decentralize the manufacture of cars and trucks.
July 23, 1915 was declared "Ford Day" by the city of Fargo to celebrate the completion of the plant. The plant employeed 200 people when fully staffed. Ford built the plant in Fargo to supply the Dakotas with Ford automobiles and to serve as the region's sales and service center.
The Ford Motor Company moved their regional operations to Minneapolis in January of 1956. Later that same year, the building was purchased by The Hayer Company, a household appliances dealer who remained in the building until 1988.
In 2004, Muchler Bartram Architects purchased the building and renovated it to house retail space on the first two floors and apartments on the third. The renovations were completed in 2006 and the first tenants were Northern Home Furniture, Highmark Realty and Sterling Company.
This point of interest is part of the tour: A Look Around Downtown Fargo