Weekly Photo Challenge – Tour Guide


Fargo, North Dakota.

This week, Krista Stevens asks us to share what we love about where we live. In her challenge post, she shares images of her home city of Winnipeg, Canada. She comments about not having many tourists come to her city. You can read her entire challenge post here. My wife, Lynn, and I live only about four hours south of Krista’s home town. Like Winnipeg, Fargo isn’t a tourist mecca, though there are plenty of interesting things to see and do in the city where I worked for over three decades. When I retired we had the chance to move, but elected to stay living in the community that we’ve called home since 1978. OK, so we got a bit tired of the cold and now spend our winters in the great Southwest, but we always return to our home each spring.

I could share many images of our hometown, but if I were to give a tour, we would probably start with lunch at the Wurst Bier Hall in downtown Fargo. Then explore the vibrant downtown area. Once suffering from the malady of many downtowns, the area was stagnating and urban blight was setting in. Visionary city leaders concentrated on supporting a renaissance district by giving tax breaks and other incentives to restore historic buildings and improve the downtown area. In the image above, the iconic Fargo marque invites visitors to a classic motion picture or stage show. After the show, don’t forget to stop for a bite at Sammy’s Pizza, just across the street.

The sun sets on a summer evening in downtown Fargo just up the street from the Bier Hall. New and revitalized buildings line the streets and as you can see by the large number of parked cars, the city is crowded on a Tuesday night at 7:50 PM. With daylight savings time and a northerly latitude, the dusk arrives late in the day even on August 30 when this image was taken.

In 2016, Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz authorized the placement of a statue of Homeless Jesus at the First Lutheran Church in downtown Fargo. The original statue was placed in 2013 at the University of Toronto to challenge how people think about homelessness. In classic examples of “North Dakota Nice”, in the first two months since its placement, Emergency crews responded twice to 911 calls from citizens who were concerned that a person might need medical assistance. The statue was dedicated on June 4, 2016 at the 10th anniversary of the church’s Homeless and Hungry event.

My last image for this week’s challenge is the clock at the Northern Pacific Depot. The site of the original Northern Pacific Train Depot is at Main Avenue and Broadway in the heart of downtown. The first Fargo building entered in the National Historic Register, it was donated to the Fargo Park District and for a number of years housed a Fargo Senior Center. The plaza renovation cost almost $500,000 USD, all funded by private donations. This historic renovation is yet another example of “North Dakota Nice.”

John Steiner


  1. Thanks for taking us on a tour of Fargo. I love western towns; I used to live in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The town center, when I lived there in the early 80s, looked similar to this. I wonder if it has changed much since then. 🙂

  2. It’s interesting how downtowns all over the nation, fell into shit left for the homeless and mentally challenged. Then tax incentives lead to business’ relocating and eventually lead to gentrifying and forcing the homeless and disadvantaged to a new locale. You’d think there would be a middle ground. The urban unicorn of affordable housing is pretty much a myth. Whoa… Didn’t mean to get heavy. Y’know I’m down with this tour Sammy’s, Wurst, yes please… Though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a cup o’ joe & a donut at Sandy’s!

  3. Looks like Fargo is a nice little town. Great Images you’ve taken. I have always thought of Fargo as a cold, windy, snowy town with temps in the Winter on the minus side. Guess not all the time like is portraded in the movies.

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