Home News Historic properties in Fargo, Moorhead get new life, new chapter to their story – InForum

Historic properties in Fargo, Moorhead get new life, new chapter to their story – InForum

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Fargo — Located west of Fargo’s main downtown thoroughfare, this stately brick building was built more than a century ago when some 20,000 people called the city home. Once known as the Union Storage and Transfer Company and Armor Creamery buildings, the historic Union on NP Avenue is now home to downtown residents and booming businesses.

Restoring the building to a usable facility was no easy task, but owners Jessica Allsopp, John Williams, and Eric Verner believe that all the hard work and additional education required was ultimately worth it. I believe there was When the property was purchased in 2013 and the basement was flooded, it seemed like a tall order.

“We knew the entire building would have to be renovated or it would be completely unusable,” Alsop explained. They needed to figure out how to do it and preserve the historical integrity of the building.

Originally the frozen-food side of the building, Alsop said, it was thought to be best suited for residential apartments, as its solid brick walls provided soundproofing and insulation from neighbors. The opposite section, which housed the creamery portion of the business, provided an architecturally appealing setting for commercial tenants. The entire facility, empty and run-down when purchased, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The historic preservation process made many decisions about how to restore building features such as windows, structural columns, doors, and railings. “It was overwhelming to figure out how to get around the historical standards to stay in the registry,” Alsop said.

Fortunately, the group worked with MBA Architects who have extensive experience in historical preservation projects. Their insight meant that the former loading dock was converted as an outdoor patio for both private and public use, with the exposed wooden beams refinished to maintain its aesthetic appeal. No two of the 38 units have the same residential apartments because they had to leave them. This is a highlight feature for those looking for a unique downtown living space.

“This is true of most buildings. There are certain elements that make a project unique: windows, headroom, finishes.” Older buildings have many advantages that newer buildings don’t.

The neighborhood around Historic Union has changed as well since the project began nearly a decade ago. Gone are the dilapidated buildings, ugly parking lots, and dilapidated parking lots. The location is home to sparkling new apartment complexes and trend-setting businesses like Wild Terra Cider and Love Always Floral.

“The neighborhood has changed a lot,” Alsop said. “It’s been fun to see the impact we’ve had on neighborhoods before they started to change.”

While the area around Historic Union has changed, the building’s importance to Fargo’s history remains. Union Transfer Company he began shipping fresh produce, farm tools and parts in 1906.

The first warehouses were built in 1909 and 1916 by CA Bowers and JH Bowers of Bowers Bros. As business boomed in the 1920s, BL Bertel worked for a company in 1908, first as a day laborer and taking college courses at night. Before he was promoted to bookkeeper in 1911—and several partners bought it, in 1929 he changed the name to Union Storage & Transfer Company.

The current structure, consisting of a four-story refrigeration plant and an adjacent three-story creamery, was designed by prolific Fargo architect William F. Kirk and built that year. Businesses provided stable employment for many during the Great Depression.

A building designed by William Kirk in downtown Fargo.

forum file photo

“During construction, people stopped and talked about working here and selling eggs to Creamery,” Alsop said. “It was really associated with the agricultural industry and was seen as a symbol of the city’s commerce.”

Across the Red River in Moorhead, Bertram and MBA architects are working on another project involving a former dairy mill.

fairmont creamery

The building on the north side of downtown Moorhead was purchased from Eventide Senior Living Communities, which has owned the building since 1994, but will move residents out of the historic building in the summer of 2021.

Fairmont Creamery was founded in 1884 in Nebraska, but didn’t open a Moorhead store until 1924. During World War II,

The business supplied powdered eggs and hired over 100 local women to work in the factory.


By 1980 the dairy closed and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places two years later.

according to the application

“Fairmont Creamery is significant as a precursor to the introduction of diversified agriculture to Minnesota’s Red River Valley region and as a prime example of industrial architecture in the 1920s.”

Preliminary approval for the historic restoration has been obtained, but construction has yet to begin on the 105 multifamily units due to cost concerns, Bertram said. He hopes that construction will begin later this year, that the building will remain in good condition, and that the restoration process will go smoothly.

Fairmont Creamery David Samson/The Forum
The historic Fairmont Creamery was sold to Fargo architect and developer Kevin Bertram, who plans to restore it for use as a residential building.

forum file photo

“There will always be specific standards to maintain, but each project will have its own historical preservation standards because, historically, there is a reason it is registered,” he explained.

The Fairmont Project is another historic preservation project in the MBA’s portfolio.

Built in 1915, the Armory Events Center was once Moorhead’s armory.

Center Avenue and Adjacent Muscatel Auto Dealership

Simon Warehouse Loft, a 100-year-old potato warehouse converted into 65 modern apartments


Built in 1922, the warehouse featured many features similar to the Union Storage building in Fargo. The loading platform became a patio and galvanized garage doors now provide privacy and segregation in the community he room that once housed a freight elevator. to the original character of the building.

“At the time it was built, it was one of the largest potato warehouses between Minneapolis and Seattle,” Bertram said.

He said he is eyeing other potential historic preservation projects in the Fargo-Moorhead area that have yet to be announced publicly.

When it comes to evaluating projects, Bartram has a few things in mind. “It has to be a solid, interesting building. Besides that, we need to find creative uses for the building,” he explained. “The point of historic preservation is to maintain old buildings and keep them as close to their original intentions as possible.”

Just off Interstate 90, MBA Architects is working on a redevelopment.

Historic Red River Mill in downtown Fergus transforms into 5-story, 31-room boutique hotel

Followed by

Former Kirkbride nurses dormitory redeveloped into apartments


IMPACT. Milton BB Office
The historic Milton Beebe home is located at 717 3rd Ave. N. in Fargo.

David Samson/The Forum

Historic architecture office could become a single-family home

Once the office of a famous architect, the small but historically significant Milton Beebe home will soon become the office of the Cass Clay Community Land Trust. His Ron Ramsay, an NDSU professor and longtime owner of the home, recently transferred the property deed to the trust. Ramsay plans to transfer his three other Beebe properties to the trust. He has two other Beebe properties, but they are privately owned by someone else. All six properties are

Milton Earl Beave Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015


Ramsay and her husband, Peter Vandervort, founded a non-profit organization called Plains Architecture many years ago and plan to leave a fortune to the organization managed by the FM Area Foundation. Ultimately, a five-person board will award grants and fellowships through Plains Architecture.

Beebe’s Neoclassic, or Greek Revival, office was built in 1906 and is the last of his six properties. A New York native, Bebe unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Buffalo, losing to Grover Cleveland. Eight years later, Bebe left New York and settled in North Dakota, where he opened his business in 1899. He built the Moorhead Public Library, the Fargo He Masonic Temple, and other buildings on the Fargo and He NDSU campuses.

He retired in 1910, moved to San Diego, and died in 1923 at the age of 82.

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