Grand Forks City Hall celebrating an anniversary

While we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Chester Fritz Library last month and are continuing to work towards commemorating the library through digital collections and exhibits, it would be unfair to not congratulate the City of Grand Forks for the centennial of the opening of the city hall on November 15, 1911. I stumbled across this fun fact in a Grand Forks Herald article published online just after 10:00pm.

The building, located at the corner of N 4th Street and 2nd Avenue North in Grand Forks will be having a small celebration, beginning at 3:30pm Wednesday, November 15 at its original entrance at 402 2nd Ave. N in downtown Grand Forks. Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown will blow out candles on a birthday cake at 4:00pm.

This building is interesting not only for its architectural style, which is, according to the article, a classical revival style, but for a small plaque commemorating the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana, Cuba in February 1898. It is believed to be the only monument to that event in North Dakota and is made from metal from the ship. This is important, as the North Dakota militia served in the ensuing Spanish-American War, but in the Philippines, instead of Cuba, where they hoped to serve.

It has served numerous functions over the years, including a jail, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The building was added onto in 1993. This is one of several other prominent buildings in Grand Forks that will soon celebrate that mark, including the Masonic Temple and Grand Forks County Court House (2013) and Central High School (2017). Interestingly enough, Grand Forks’ other high school Red River High School will celebrate fifty years in 2017.

Having commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of an important building in Grand Forks, hearty congratulations are extended to the City of Grand Forks for the centennial anniversary of the city hall.

The building is viewable through Google Street View on Google Maps and is below:


A Library Dedicated Fifty Years Ago

Our local paper, The Grand Forks Herald provided a well-written article sharing with the public what we are working to commemorate, the fiftieth anniversary of the Chester Fritz Library. Their linking to our site is quite appreciated.

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the library. The University sent out many invitations to library staffs across the country inviting them to Grand Forks to share in our happiness and celebration of a new library facility. While most were unable to attend due to the distance to get to Grand Forks, they sent well wishes and some shared similar experiences of recent library constructions on their own campuses, which reflected the major changes coming to college and university campuses as they adjusted to different and expanding student populations both from veterans on the GI Bill to baby boomers entering adulthood.

Our library has changed much over the last fifty years. It has expanded in size, grown its collection, and incorporated new technologies to increase its accessibility to patrons, while changing how those patrons use it. It is the largest library in the state and is the heart of the UND campus. Chester Fritz’s donation of $1 million has certainly returned well in the thousands of students who have gained knowledge and their education through the library. Congratulations to the staff of the Chester Fritz Library on fifty wonderful years.

Check out the Fritz at 50 celebration at

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