The start of May felt like the start of April - and that’s fine! Bank those warm days, and we’ll be seeing 70s into November. That’s how it works, right?

We’re still two weeks away from the Total Greening, I think. But it’s happening fast now. Saw one of those trees that sprouts flowers - genus flowerus treeus, I think - and pitied it; went off too soon. To see those blossoms on a chill drizzly day is premature.

Today’s main accomplishment: not screaming when I checked my phone to see how much time was left on my parking meter. I figured, maybe 20 minutes. It was on the screen you hit to BEGIN parking. Hadn’t finished the procedure. Hit it instantly, of course, then headed back to the car to move it, thinking I’d get another ticket if I stayed another two hours in the same spot. Was resigned to getting a ticket - it had been an hour and 40 minutes, after all. Didn’t look as I turned the corner. Then, well, face it -

No ticket. Secondary accomplishment: not cheering out loud at that moment. Then again, what would one say? Yay? Yippee? The actual emotion is Whew, but no one ever shouts Whew.

Difference between Whew and Phew: discuss.

The tallest tower in Fargo is coming down. You may laugh - what, they’re knocking down the old three-story office building on Main and Broadway? First of all, yes, Fargo does have an intersection of Main and Broadway. Four of three corners are not the same as they once were, which lends a regrettable sense of vacancy to what should be a dense intersection. The old jewelry store, Wimmers, has metal panels over to the ancient building. On the northwest side, a park - but it was a park for decades before Shotwell’s put up a floral store. As I have mentioned before, it blew up - a gas leak, I think - and for a few years there was a picture of a Swami in the clouds, or atop a mountain, with flowers in the air. “Never underestimate the power of a flower,” the sign said, an indication of the Rowan-and-Martin level of counter-culture penetration to the middle of the North American continent.

On the northeast side, there’s a parking lot. A hotel once stood there, next to the train tracks, and the Penney’s was across the rails. On the southeast side, a ten-story office building, the pride of urban renewal.

But the tallest building isn’t on Main and Broadway. It’s to the east, off the street, in a development built on the grave of the old city. Urban renewal cleaned out the old two-story brick buildings.

Hey, who needs that, when you can have THIS?

And it took them 20 years at least to add that.

A few blocks to the east the old buildings were replaced with a strip mall, complete with Country Kitchen, I believe. A white medical building. And the 22-story housing tower, which ended up as an old-folk’s home. May have started out that way. It’s the “Lashkowitz High Rise,” a term I have never heard anyone use.

It’s a bore.


Oh, I remember being proud of it, once; we had a skyscraper! But it never fit into downtown. It stood apart. The entire area was blasted and empty, and anything that went up, including a gawdawful bank building, felt like an embarrassment.

It’s actually not the tallest. The Radisson Hotel is a few feet taller, but it doesn’t seem like it. The skyline has been sad for years, but now there’s a new project that will rise 18 stories:

It's not the most coherent thing I've ever seen. The tower is situated incorrectly and the podium is overscaled, but it's a worthy addition and a statement of faith in downtown, so hurrah. (Or whew.)

I am surprised I outlived the High Rise. Kids born today will have no memory of it, and it’s doubtful they’ll be taught the context that produced it. This would seem to be a mistake. I never remember learning hyperlocal history, as if that was somehow beneath the job of the school - but really, it’s one of the most important things you can teach kids. It’s not just the when and where but the why, and if you know all the whys, and how they turned out, you can avoid those mistakes down the road, as well as have some admiration for the people who built something where nothing of lasting note had stood. Ever. Not to say it wasn’t inhabited; sure. But roads and sewers and schools and gas lines and electricity and trolleys and stores and phones - it happened in a trice, and it happened in a place that was cold and remote, and that’s remarkable.

And it still thrives. It’s expected that it will. It’s assumed that whatever produced this will continue to work. But no one ever taught us why.

Sometimes I wonder if the ambient futility and weltschmertz and general anomie I feel is due to my suspicion that the shared ideas and knowledge sets I took for granted are unraveling, and sometimes I think eh, you’re wrong, it’s not a suspicion at all, it’s fact. And also inevitable. But how did I grow up feeling the pull of the past? Why was that unusual, instead of part of the usual skill set for navigating your time and place?








Fourteen thousand souls. The Wikipedia entry is folksy enough: "The Pottawatomi Indian Tribe, semi-nomadic hunters who lived in wigwams, inhabited Antioch when white men began to arrive. It was in 1832 that the American Indians began to leave the area, although arrowheads and other remnants of their history can still be found today if one knows where to look.

So keep an eye peeled. Let's see what the town has to offer. Is downtown alive, moribund, or caught between the two?

That’s a lot of store for a hair salon.


The exterior is almost cool; the palette is nice, the signage nice, the stone has that Flintstony look, but it’s just a bit too prefab. And I suspect it was something else.


Cool piece of modernism in plain sight, probably well-regarded by no one:

That sounds pretentious, and mildly contemptuous, so I withdraw it. But really, take another look. All glass, completely transparent. Bonus for this shot: the ancient GAMBLES ghost sign.

We’re a bank with lots of money! Just not enough to put stone all the way around the building.

Cool theater. But let’s go back in time a bit.


You NEVER see a Buckaroo Revival movie theater. This may be the first. And the last, if anyone had any sense.

“We designed the wall as an homage to cartoonists who, over the years, have used a few bricks to suggest the entire wall.”

A bygone rehab, the hue of the stone - it’s hard to fix an era exactly.

Look! Look! Take us with you!

But where are they? Let's advance a bit . . .

Great sign, and a convenient line for practicing your walk after you’re pulled over.

Oh, that’s beautiful.




Makes you curse again the fact that such a cool style had to come along during a time of severe economic contraction. Imagine what downtowns might have looked like.

Although they would’ve peeled it off for this.


I presume everyone inside was crushed by the landslide, or buried under pumice falling from the volcano:


The first building did well, so he expanded. That’s my take.

Something very strange happend on the second floor on the right.

Ghost: can you ID it?



You will. If not now, eventually.

It’s like those stories where the aliens create a place they think the spaceman will mistake for home, but the details are off just enough to raise suspicions. There’s nothing technically wrong, but there’s something about it, Captain. I just don’t know.



Finally, this looks ordinary and non-descript.

But when you soar above it . . .


Bowling alley?

Grocery store?

That'll do - see you tomorrow.





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