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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published April 03 2011

Halgrimson: Northport Shopping Center expanded over time

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of columns examining the history of the Northport Shopping Center.

A 1976 story in The Forum noted that “Northport Shopping Center in Fargo will mark its 20th year of operation next week at a time in its history when sales are hitting new highs.”

While groundbreaking for Northport was set in the fall of 1955, plans for an addition to the north end with an L to the east were already under way. The shopping mall was located between Broadway and Eighth Street and between 25th and 28th avenues.

By the time the shopping center was 20 years old, there were a dozen stores including the original supermarket, drug store, hardware store and variety store.

At that time, William Kostlofsky of the Walgreen Drug Co. was president and Mrs. Robert Gramm of the Carousel was secretary.

The surrounding area had also grown. It included the Valley North shopping center a few blocks north, the Red River Bowling Lanes and Captain’s Table restaurant, the Bankers State Bank of Fargo, a Red Owl grocery store and the New Horizions Manor apartments.

By 1961, a story said that North Port (it was originally spelled as two words), “was the largest shopping center under one roof in North Dakota.” It contained 15,000 square feet of store space and had parking for 800 cars. It covered 11 acres within six city blocks.

Leases signed for the North Port addition when it was completed in 1961 were W.T. Grant Co., a budget department store (moved from 108 Broadway); a new Ben Franklin store; Three Sisters, a national chain women’s apparel shop; Shoe Corp. of America; Reed Cleaners; Josef Beauty Salon; and Peter Brokvaine, linoleum shop.

There was a grand opening for the completed project in November 1961. In December, a hunter in Michigan, N.D., 600 miles away, found one of the balloons released at the celebration. It was caught in a tree with the string still attached. The hunter contacted North Port to let them know.

Ted’s Super Valu added space again in 1962; North Port Clothiers opened, with Philip Hoglund, Art Jore Jr. and M.C. Johnsen as managers; and the Bankers State Bank & Trust Co., with Glenn R. Peterson as president, opened.

In 1963, North Port Shopping Center was sold to Paul Christen and Donovan Sondreal of Huron, S.D. In addition to the original four businesses, the shopping center included North Port Café, Carousel Card Shop, McLarnan Off-Sale, Three Sisters, W.T Grant. Co., Liz & Bevs, Bankers State Bank, Schiff Shoes, North Port Clothiers, Reed Cleaners, Epko Camera Corner, Modern Linoleum & Tile Co., Orchid Beauty Shop and North Port Barber Shop.

In 1975, the bank, now called the State Bank of Fargo and dating its beginnings to 1966, planned a free-standing structure on the east side of the Northport parking lot on Broadway. Dr. G. Wilson Hunter was chairman of the board at that time.

Northport is still evolving, and in the next column I will briefly cover the last 35 years.


Readers can contact Forum columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com