During our visit earlier this year, one of the first things I noticed about Fargo, North Dakota was its vintage neon signs. As we wandered around downtown it seemed that the colorful marquees confronted us at each and every turn. While I can’t find a singular reason for the prevalence of neon signs in Fargo, they serve as a beautiful symbol of the city’s revitalization.
I’ve always been drawn to neon signs. Something about the ethereal glow they give off intrigues me. And I’ve long been inspired by their vintage charm and bold, graphic designs. So I was thrilled to see that at least in Fargo, neon is having another moment.
From what I’ve been able to find, many of the neon signs in Fargo are original to its long-standing businesses. For example, Fargo Linoleum opened in 1926 and is one of the downtown Fargo’s oldest businesses. According to RoadsideArchicture.com, the current sign was installed in 1952. Others, like the sign that glows purple, orange, and green from atop the Hotel Donaldson, are newer. The hotel’s current sign was installed in 2003 when the building underwent major renovation.
The historic preservation nerd in me appreciates that as the city has grown, it has held to its roots. As we wandered its streets, I couldn’t help but appreciate how downtown Fargo’s neon signs perfectly blended the new with the old.
The city’s tourism office claims Fargo is “north of normal” and, in the best way possible, I couldn’t agree more.
What’s the first thing you notice when you visit a new city? Do you have a favorite of the neon signs in Fargo?