I’ve been visiting Fargo, ND, for over a decade.
When my son and I went there for the first time, it was to find a house. He’d accepted a position at a local university and needed to move his possessions before the fall semester started. He clearly wanted to live in the older part of Fargo, rather than in some mall-encrusted suburb. So my memories over the years are seen through the prism of this decision.
Back then downtown Fargo looked rusty. There were empty storefronts on the main street and streetlights that needed attention, as did the Hotel Donaldson. The most noticeable landmark was the Fargo Theater where a wood-carved statue of Marge from the movie was on display. (Actually the movie “Fargo” was shot in other locations such as Minneapolis, MN, and Bathgate, ND, with no filming in the film’s namesake.) Still the town had latent charm: an old fashioned train depot, a couple great bars, and Sammie’s pizzeria.
Fast forward ten years. There are few empty storefronts. Instead there are trendy restaurants, a great running gear store, coffee shops, and galleries. Somehow a complete revamping of the main street lighting was funded. And the HoDo, as the hotel is referred to locally, has been refurbished. I’ve stayed there and can attest that the experience was stellar.
After a couple reincarnations as a restaurant, the train depot is now a bicycle shop. But Amtrak still stops there. The old-time great bars haven’t been edged out, and Sammie’s is still on the corner making one pizza at a time.