Plains Art Museum

A Look Around Downtown Fargo

Plains Art Museum

Fargo, North Dakota 58105, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


With the bonanza farms of Fargo and the Red River Valley producing vast amounts of grain crops for the Minneapolis market, the International Harvester Company decided to establish a farm implement dealership and distribution center in Fargo. They built their first buildings in 1879, including a two story office building and three warehouses.

The building that now houses Fargo’s Plain’s Art Museum was constructed in 1904 for the International Harvester Company of Chicago. The building is located at 704 1st Avenue North, near the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad. It is a three story masonry building designed in the utilitarian style of the day. It is characterized by the exterior masonry walls and large windows which let in large amounts of natural light deep into the interior of the building. The interior of the building features heavy timber beams capable of supporting the large machinery that was housed on each floor. A freight elevator provided access to all three floor. The Fargo branch of the International Harvester company could easily transport farm equipment to towns in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

After years of sitting abandoned the building went through serveral years of renovation. It was reopened on March 6, 1997 as the Plains Art Museum. The museum maintains a collection of regional art and hosts traveling art exhibitions.


  1. 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 (51.7.4)

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


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