Fargo In Flames

This tour covers the dramatic fire stories of some of Fargo's buildings.

Fargo In Flames

Fargo, North Dakota 58105, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University

Tour Information

Join us today in the present as we remember the destruction of The Great Fargo Fire of 1893, as well as Fargo High School, and the first Cass County courthouse. By walking through the historic downtown along with the tour you will learn about the fires and the devastation that was wrought.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Herzman’s Dry Goods store is the rumored starting place of the Fargo fire of 1893 that destroyed over 90% of the downtown area. According to the story, Mrs. R Herzman was burning cardboard in the back of the store when the fire raged out ... Read more
Samuel Magill was born in Pennsylvania in 1832. Throughout his first 50 or so years of life he traveled many places including: New York, Minnesota, Iowa, and finally settling in Fargo, North Dakota. After coming to Fargo in 1881 Magill bega... Read more
Red River Valley National Bank The bank was the first three story building in Fargo and was lavishly built. It enticed customers with its exotic mahogany and rosewood furnishings, plate glass, and beautiful frescoed ceilings. All of this wa... Read more
The bank was the first three story building in Fargo and was lavishly built. It enticed customers with its exotic mahogany and rosewood furnishings, plate glass, and beautiful frescoed ceilings. All of this was destroyed in the 1893 Fargo f... Read more
The Fargo Forum was first started in 1891 by Alanson W. Edwards and Colonel H.C. Plumley. The first publication dates Nov. 17, 1891. After Edwards died Plumley took over but struggled on the business side of running the paper leading to fin... Read more
This bank was one of many victims of the fire of 1893. The bank was rebuilt  on the same site. The bank remained in business at this location until 1921. NDSU Archives. "Merchants National Bank." https://library.ndsu.edu/fargo-history. Pho... Read more
Yoder and Lewis Grocery was located in the Stern Building and opened in March of 1893. After only being opened for a couple months then entire building burned. Only three days after the fire Yoder and Lewis were resupplied and selling again... Read more
Following the fire of 1893 the house was rebuilt and remained in operation for almost two decades. The Opera House was yet again destroyed by fire in 1912. Due to being besieged by fire a second time the Opera House was not rebuilt. NDSU Ar... Read more
In the early days of firefighting, there was a romance and thrill involved. Town folk would come out to watch the men at work. It may seem macabre now, but before television, phones, or widespread radio usage, getting the scoop required goi... Read more
In 1882 the Keeney Block was constructed. It had the latest technology - built-in fire fighting equipment! The system was simple. Hoses on reels connected to a water works. (1) The Keeney block can bee seen in the photo as the large buildin... Read more
George Freeman, owner of Freeman’s China Hall Tea Store, came to Fargo from Maine, via Boston, Massachusetts. (1) Born in 1848, he married Susan and came across the Ohio River Valley and the upper Midwest to Fargo with three young childre... Read more
While the building housing the clothing store was destroyed by the 1893 fire, the most important aspect of this location to focus on is the prior owner. Alexander Stern, originally from Germany, moved to Fargo in 1881. He was instrumental i... Read more
The bank managed to withstand the fire the longest out of all the building destroyed by the 1893 fire. The location was home to more than one Fargo business and office. Thomas Baker Jr. Fire Insurance was located in the basement and the Uni... Read more
The Elliot Hotel was owned by Peter Elliot and the location was originally a restaurant in the Stanton House Hotel. In 1887 Peter Elliot became the owner of the building and changed the name to the Elliot House. In 1893 the hotel burned dow... Read more
Fargo’s first city hall was housed on the corner or Roberts St and NP Ave. It shared the building with the fire department until it burned down in 1893 during the Fargo Fire. The building housed almost all city record causing them to also... Read more
The hotel primarily served the railroad, which was it was conveniently located near. The hotel first burnt down in September of 1874 due to a kitchen fire and was rebuilt in 60 days by Messrs. Hubbard and Tyler. The hotel was then rebuilt a... Read more
Goodman & Yerxa Groceries and Dry Goods TE Yerxa Department Store The store was founded in 1875 and was one of the first businesses on the block. The dry goods store was vital to the growth of Fargo, supplying groceries, crockery, texti... Read more
Wimmer’s Diamonds: “Walk a Flight to Buy Right” During the Fargo fire of 1893 the location was home to a bank as well as a barber shop which was located in the basement with the bank offices on the second level. By some stroke of luck... Read more
deLendrecie's Store All that remains of the old DeLendrecie’s store is the name on the side of the building, but it began in 1880 as Chicago Dry Goods House[i]. Onesine Joassin deLendrecie moved to Fargo in 1879 and quickly embarked on be... Read more
The Main Avenue Firehouse was established in 1910 and was known as Fire Department No. 2. The building remained a firehouse throughout the 1960s [i]. Since then the building has been a home to a wide variety of groups and businesses. From b... Read more
The first Cass County courthouse was built in 1874 where the current day Northern Pacific railway depot is located. The current Cass County courthouse, at the 3rd Avenue location, opened on July 31, 1906. It was built on the same location ... Read more
Fargo High School was built in 1882 and accommodated grades one through twelve. The facility cost about $40,000 to build, not accounting for inflation. The structure was comprised of three stories with 21 rooms in total. In 1899 the scho... Read more


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