Fargo, North Dakota
The vibrant city of Fargo has had a long love affair with transport throughout the centuries of its growth and development. In fact, the city’s founders chose the location to stake out their homesteads because of the transport links – launching the city right where the Northern Pacific Railroad crossed the Red River back in 1871.
The city was even named after William G Fargo. He was not only a co-founder of Wells Fargo Express but William was also one of the directors of the Northern Pacific Railroad, so transport systems really are the city’s lifeblood. For a long time it was dubbed the Gateway to the West.
Fargo grew rapidly from a population of around 600 in 1876, in a shanty-town style, to more than 8,000 inhabitants by 1892 and with it the city structure changed shape from bordellos and saloons, to more wood-framed buildings. However, disaster struck Fargo on June 7, 1893 when a fire consumed the downtown area, destroying 31 blocks.
But out of the ashes, a new Fargo grew, with 246 new buildings created within a year of the fire, and the post-fire city was for more substantial and attractive than the original. Many of these stunning buildings can still be seen in today’s modern Fargo which has a population of around 121,000, with a further 225,000 in the wider metropolitan area.
The growth of Fargo
The fire wasn’t the only disaster to hit Fargo – the City was also partly destroyed by a large tornado in 1957 – an event which led to significant advances in the scientific study of tornadoes. Despite this setback, the City grew from strength to strength, helped again by transport links following the creation of two interstates which helped to grow Fargo beyond its city limits.
Retail growth also saw a huge boom in 1972 thanks to the development of the West Acres Shopping Center which was a great aid to the area’s economy.
During the mid-1980s, the south and south west sides of the city grew, with both residential housing and retail development, which was an awesome time for local Fargo painters! Private developers helped to improve downtown Fargo during this era, with the creation of the Renaissance Zone and housing rehabilitation programs.
In fact the growth of the region and its economic success mean that currently Fargo is one of the most populated cities in North Dakota, home to around 15% of the total state population. Forbes Magazine actually rated Fargo as the fourth fastest-growing small city in the US, in 2014.
The university has also grown in strength and size, becoming a vital part of the city’s economy, with most of its students living off campus.
The area has had a consistently low unemployment rate and low crime rate, as well as offering families and working people a large supply of affordable housing. This led to Fargo being named as one of the most livable cities in America in Money Magazine, during the 1990s and 2000s.
The current city has much to offer, housing North Dakota State University, and is cited as a cultural, healthcare, retail, industrial and educational, hub for North Dakota and Minnesota regions.
Geographic challenges for Fargo
One of the regular challenges which Fargo has faced over the years has come from flooding, thanks to its location on the Red River of the North. The city sits in a flat region known as Red River Valley, which is a rich land perfect for agriculture – but susceptible to changes in the river levels.
The area is subject to seasonal water level rises as the river flows from the US to Lake Winnipeg in Canada, and often picks up melting snow and ice, causing blockages in its tributaries and making the river overflow.
As Fargo is essentially flat, this can lead to massive flooding, which was seen in its full horror by the city in 2009. Since then however, the city has installed successful major flood defences, which have fought off significant river rises of 40 feet over the years.
The general climate in Fargo is humid and thanks to its harsh winter season, where temperatures can fall to -17 regularly, for around 43 nights of the year, the city has been voted as America’s Toughest Weather City several times. The city gets an average snowfall of 52 inches per season, while the summer sees frequent thunderstorms and highs of 32 degrees for just 12 days of the year.
Cultural and leisure activities in Fargo
However, for the residents and visitors who brave the weather, there are a wide variety of cultural and leisure activities available in Fargo including theater, musical organisations, orchestras and dance companies.
There is also a Winter Carnival in Fargo which was started back in 1928. The City is home to several museums including The Plains Art Museum, which is the largest museum of art in the state.
The city is also home to: The Children's Museum, The Courthouse Museum, The Fargo Air Museum, and The Roger Maris Museum. There are also parks, golf courses and a wide variety of sports clubs across the city for those who prefer to spend their leisure time more actively.
Modern day transport hub
Modern day Fargo still retains is long tradition of transport links, remaining a key transport hub for the surrounding region as it sits as the crossroads of two major interstate highways, and also has its own airport. Hector International Airport has the longest public runway in the state.
It is also well served by public transport with a bus services across the area, linking Fargo to other communities, along with the BNSF Railway which runs through the metropolitan area. The excellent transport links have helped the city become renowned as a great place to start a new business or find work.
Fargo has come a long way since its founders carved out their homes on the banks of the river, surviving a fire, tornado and numerous floods, to become the vibrant, successful and popular City it is today.
With its strong university, active cultural centers and awesome transport links, Fargo has successfully moved away from its old agricultural roots to become a modern center for retail, healthcare and technology industries, carving itself a strong future in the process.
We hope you've enjoyed this brief history of our great city. If you're looking for painting contractors or painting services, don't hesitate to call FM Painters at (701) 809-9090 for a FREE ESTIMATE! We look forward to hearing from you.