The Black Building

A Look Around Downtown Fargo

The Black Building

North River, North Dakota 58102, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University


George Black, son of an Irish immigrant came to Fargo in 1912 to open a dry goods store. He and his father founded a store and their business flourished. In 1929, after the stock market crash, Black decided to build a new facility for his store. Thus, the Black Building was built. Black sold his company to Sears, who sought to open a business in Fargo. Black used the proceeds to finance the construction of the Black Building.

The Black Building was built in by the T.F. Powers Company and designed in 1930 by an architect firm out of Minneapolis, Minnesota Lang, Raugland, and Lewis. Fargo architects Braseth and Houkom were the consulting architects for the building's construction.

Sears occupied the basement and two first floors with George Black acting as manager. The remaining six floors were office space for tenants like doctors, lawyers, dentists and local TV station WDAY news.

The Black building was sold to a local investment firm in 1986 for $1.8 million. It was sold again in 1993 for $700,000 to LTD, Inc. of Grand Forks.

Kilbourne Group purchased the building in 2015 and still owns the building today.

Fargo's Black building is one of the tallest buildings in the Historic District and is a prominent feature of the city's sky line. Faced with Indiana limestone and dark metal window spandrel panels it is an excellent example of Art Moderne style.


  1. “Black Building | Fargo History.” Accessed December 11, 2016.
  2. Fargo Historic Preservation Commission. A Look Around Downtown: Fargo Heritage Discovery Walk. Second. Fargo, North Dakota: Fargo-Moorhead Heritage Society, 2006.
  3. Fargo, Forum Communications Company 101 5th Street North, and ND 58102 Call us at235-7311. “Kilbourne Group Buys Historic Black Building in Downtown Far...” Accessed December 12, 2016.

Photo Sources:

  1. Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (2006.12.1)
  2. Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (2006.15.19)
  3. Everett Brust. Restored facade of the Black Building in 2003.
  4. Institute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (2006.29.10)
  5. State Historical Society of North Dakota (00075-570)

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


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