Since several hundred people gathered to watch the cornerstone be placed on November 18, 1930, downtown Fargo’s Black Building has captured the imaginations of North Dakotans. As we embark on writing the next chapter for the iconic landmark, we look to the past.
T.F. Powers & Co., the construction company, called the Black Building its masterpiece. Other superlatives used to describe the structure included center of activity that was flooded with merchandise, pride of Fargoans, and veritable cathedral of business activity.
Ads for the building boasted that “if all of the electrical wiring and piping in the Building were placed end to end it would reach from Fargo, N.D. to Ulen, Minn., or a distance of 32 miles.” Another reads “The Black Building offers better elevator service, lighting and ventilation, plus PRESTIGE. Another line: Seeing Fargo always incudes a tour of Broadway’s tall white structure, known far and wide as The Black Building.
The caption of a 1934 photograph of the Black Building lobby reads: “The above photograph, although it does not do it justice, gives one a reasonably accurate conception of the size and beauty of the luxurious entrance lobby to the office part of the Black Building. More than 4,000 people visit this lobby daily.”
Our vision is to return the Black Building to its rightful place in Fargo’s history as a destination unto itself.