The Broadway Of Old

Story and photos by Andrew Jason
MSUM journalism

Everybody is familiar with the famous, almost cliché, signs downtown. The Fargo Theater’s sign glows for everyone’s recognition. Most native Fargo residents will recognize the Bismarck’s flashy sign. However there are numerous other gems waiting to be seen. Many of these gems have been there for upwards of 100 years. If one keeps their eyes open during a walk or drive downtown they will see many signs advertising the Fargo of old.

According to, operated by the Institute for Regional Studies at North Dakota State University, the Hotel Bison opened in 1910 as the Viking hotel and in 1940 became the Hotel Bison.
A Coca-Cola sign has faded into history above the Broadway Barber Shop.
One can almost imagine farmers coming into town to buy their overalls.
Scherling Photography has been open for 92 years and this sign shows its history.
A sign outside the Ford building describes how this water tower was built along with Ford building and opened July 23 1915. The 40,000-gallon tank provided water for the 200 employees. Water was provided for sanitation facilities, lunchrooms, boilers and sprinkler systems.
According to the National Park Service this sign is on the Smith, Foller & Crowl building. It was constructed in 1917 as a warehouse for men’s “furnishings, notions and dry-goods.”
This sign overlooks Downtown Fargo.
The Friends of Youth painted this mural in 1986. A sign next to it allows you to see names of the “youth” who painted it. All these “youths” are now in their 30s.
A beautiful Peacock mural is painted on the back of the Robert’s Street Studio building.

(Edited by Matthew Liedke, MSUM Mass Communications Major)

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