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Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, Published January 12 2013

Halgrimson: Fargo’s Forsberg House was a fascinating place

‘Thousands See Forsberg House: While it is not one of the oldest in Fargo, The house at 815 3rd Ave. S., is probably one of the best known because it has, in the past 20 years, been visited by thousands. Officially, it is listed in the American Association of Museums as The Forsberg House,” according to a Forum article on June 15, 1975.

The home was built by Mrs. Peter Gustav Forsberg after the death of her husband in 1906. Mrs. Forsberg had a real estate business, and she and her three children – Ann, Dorothy and Dewy – moved into the new house in 1907. Mrs. Forsberg was 91 when she died in 1948.

At that time her daughter, Dorothy Banks, who had been widowed, returned to Fargo. She and her brother, Dewey, who had been an interior designer, began to make the house into a museum.

The house has four floors, and at that time, a patio and Oriental tea garden occupied the yard.

The living room became a formal parlor with a rosewood grand piano as the focus.

The dining room held a Hepplewhite sideboard and Hitchcock chairs dating back to 1846.

In the basement, was a kitchen where Mrs. Banks cooked. There was also a Franklin stove where Mrs. Banks and her brother, who lived in the house, could warm themselves in cold weather.

A Country Store, furnished with the contents of the old Furnberg store at Osgood, N.D., also occupied the basement.

Tours of the house were arranged around Dorothy and Dewey’s schedules because they both had outside jobs. People from all over the country visited the home as well as local groups of adults and school children.

It was a fascinating place, and I remember going there when some of Helen Roger’s harp students were entertaining.

But in 1974, after Dorothy’s death, Dewey was not able to take on the expense of keeping up the museum, and he sold the house in 1976 to Mary Joan Grove and Mary Ellen Maltry of Grove-Maltry Estate Liquidators.

Richard A. Bourne, president of a firm of estate auctioneers, came from Hyannis, Mass., to choose items to take back to Massachusetts to sell after which Grove and Maltry held a series of sales of the remaining collections.

Dewey selected the things he wanted to keep and moved to an apartment at the Grave Inn in downtown Fargo with his poodle, Rusty. Dewey died in 1986.

The house was purchased in 1977 by Fargo attorney Elizabeth Maxwell to use as her office. In 1981, the Schneider Law Firm took over the building and remains there today.

The community can be thankful to the other law firms who now have offices in some of those old south side homes, many of which have been replaced by large apartment buildings.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

Readers can reach Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com