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The Gardner in Fargo

The Gardner Hotel in Fargo held its grand opening on this date in 1909. It’s on the southwest corner of Roberts Street and First Avenue North in Fargo. The five-story brick building cost about $250,000 to build, and was named for Frank C. Gardner, who led a group of Fargo investors. In 1912 the Gardner offered 150 rooms – 70 rooms had running water, and they cost $1.50 to $2.00 a night. Eight rooms even had a bath, and they went for $2.00 to $4.00.

The Gardner became one of downtown Fargo’s premier hotels, and its location was enviable – across the street from the Post Office and Federal Building. Today, the Quentin N. Burdick U.S. Courthouse stands across from old Gardner building, while the Post Office and Federal Building are a block to the north.

The Gardner saw changes and new owners down through the years. Major renovations took place in 1941. In 1985, the Gardner was converted to a 129 apartments, which still rent today, advertising the building’s “historical elegance” and “opportune location.”

Adding to the building’s storied past were some of the famous guests, including Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. There was Al Jolson, Charlie Chaplin, Will Rogers, and North Dakota’s famous band leader, Lawrence Welk.  Also, boxer Jack Dempsey, and aviators Charles Lindbergh and North Dakotan Carl Ben Eielson. And among the many more, was the singer known as "The Last of the Red Hot Mamas," Sophie Tucker.

Dakota Datebook by Jack Dura

Danbom, D.B., Strom, C., Grosz, J., & Hallberg, J. (2002). Images of America: Fargo, North Dakota 1870-1940. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC

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