Fargo is the largest city in North Dakota and the county seat of Cass County. Fargo, along with its twin city of Moorhead, Minnesota, along with adjacent West Fargo, North Dakota and Dilworth, Minnesota, form the center of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The city of Fargo is the crossroads and economic center of a large portion of eastern North Dakota and a portion of northwestern Minnesota. Fargo is a retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and educational hub for the region. Fargo is home to North Dakota State University. The local newspaper is The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The city motto is “Gateway to the West”. Fargo was founded in 1871.
Fargo Early History
The area that is present-day Fargo was an early stopping point for steamboats floating down the Red River during the 1870s and 1880s. The city of Fargo was originally named “Centralia,” but was later renamed to “Fargo” in honor of Northern Pacific Railway director and Wells Fargo Express Company founder William Fargo. Fargo was founded in 1871. The area started to flourish after the arrival of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the city became known as the “Gateway to the West”.
During the 1880s, Fargo became the “divorce capital” of the Midwest due to very lenient divorce laws.
A major fire struck the city on June 7, 1893 when the proprietor of a grocery store accidentally started the blaze as she emptied ashes behind her store on a windy day. The fire destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses. However, Fargo was quickly rebuilt with new buildings made of brick, new streets, and a water system. The North Dakota State Agricultural College was founded in 1890 as North Dakota’s land-grant university, becoming first accredited by the North Central Association in 1915. In 1960, NDAC became known as North Dakota State University.