Created By: North Dakota State University
Fargo's second oldest park, following Island Park, is Lindenwood. This area was purchased in two parts by City of Fargo from William and Alice Resser to be used as a park showcasing the lovely mature trees along the Red River. The first purchase, a $32,900 parcel, was completed on Sept 29, 1917. Sale was made with the agreement that Resser could farm the land just west of the tree line during the 1918 growing season. The second section, purchased in 1919, was an additional $70,000.
The land purchase allowed River Drive to run from city limits south to Riverside Cemetery. It is told that River Drive became nationally known as a splendid scenic byway in the 1920’s and 30’s as Americans fell in love with the automobile. The farmland just west of the park was not built into the homes you see now until the 1950's, as you can see in the aerial photo taken in 1954.
Through the years, The Linden Woods, the park’s charming original name, became simply Lindenwood, a place for tourists to camp (thanks to running water in 1921 and the addition of horse and motorbike mounted police in 1922), a lovey picnic and leisure spot for locals (due to benches and picnic areas being added in 1923-24), and home base for a Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) camp (men constructed the main road and toilets and shelters in summer 1934). The park was originally closed each October 15th and reopened in the spring as weather and flooding permitted.
In June 1955 a by-pass highway was proposed and a section of Lindenwood Park land was offered to ND DOT for $39,400. ND DOT countered much lower and Fargo Park District settled for $17,833. Construction started later that year. In 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. By 1958, 7.6 acres of the southernmost section of Lindenwood were cut off by I-94’s path, rendering it useless to the park. The aerial photo from 1959 shows the section purchased by Riverside Cemetery for $7,500. Fargo Parks use the acquired funds towards the construction of the Winter Sports Arena, known today as the John E. Carlson Coliseum, on 17th Ave N.1
NDSU Archival photographs and Fargo Forum newspaper both show Lindenwood Park as a backdrop for outdoor fashion shoots for department store ads in the 1960’s and 70’s. In 1999, Fargo-Moorhead’s Sertoma Club chapter signed a deal to begin Holiday Lights. Paid entry per vehicle allows park goers to view over 65 lighted displays with all proceeds benefiting local charitable organizations.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Walk with the Dead: Fargo's Riverside Cemetery