North Dakota sites recommended for National Register of Historic Places

BISMARCK—A Fargo neighborhood, a Grand Forks synagogue and cemetery, and a Barnes County school will be considered for listings in the National Register of Historic Places.

The North Dakota State Historic Preservation Review Board agreed Friday to forward the nominations, which also includes a Burleigh County school, to the National Park Service for consideration.

Whether the sites are approved will be determined in the next several months, but it’s rare for a North Dakota site to be rejected, said Erik Sakariassen of Bismarck, president of the state review board.

Here are the recommended sites with information from their nominations:

Green Consolidated School #99 near Valley City. This site is considered to be the best preserved open country consolidated school in North Dakota. An open country school means it was built away from a community with a railroad depot.

The school educated students from 1916 until 1974 and since then has been used as a community center. The school met all of the state standards for education and the building gives physical testimony to what those standards were during the time the school operated.

Evelyn Emberson of Silver Bay, Minn., was among those to push for the school to receive a historic designation. Her grandfather served on the first school board, and her mother was one of the school’s first teachers. Emberson attended the school all 12 years.

“It just comes naturally, preserving the past,” Emberson said of her interest in promoting the school. “We call our school a symbol of rural education. We want to keep the school as the school building.”

The B’nai Israel Synagogue and Montefiore Cemetery in Grand Forks. The synagogue is said to combine the design of master architect Joseph Bell DeRemer and his Grand Forks firm with the culturally distinct customs and traditions of the Hebrew community. It also exemplifies the art deco work he and his son designed in the 1930s.

The cemetery is distinct for the customs and burial traditions of the Jewish population. It also hosts the remains of several prominent citizens.

The synagogue’s architecture and the importance of recognizing the history of the Jewish population in Grand Forks make the sites a good nomination, said Peg O’Leary of the Grand Forks Historic Preservation Commission.

“They (the Jewish population) have been an important factor socially, religiously and economically in Grand Forks since the 1880s,” she said. “It’s an important story to tell.”

The Fargo Oak Grove Residential Neighborhood Historic District. The nomination is focused around North and South Terrace, bounded on the east by Short Street North and on the west by Elm Street North.

Historically, it is one of the few identifiable, small-scaled residential neighborhoods close to downtown Fargo. There is a tangible cohesiveness in the scale, density, material character and landscape treatment that unifies this neighborhood.

The Oak Grove residential neighborhood took shape and took on its present architectural character as a range of middle-income houses and related infrastructure from 1895 to 1952. The predominance of working-class, gable-fronted mechanics’ cottages and vernacular bungalows is a reflection of consumer tastes during this time period.

Florence Lake School #3 in near Wing, N.D. The school was originally built as Sterling School #2 in 1917 but was moved to Florence Lake Township in 1937 after the earlier school burned.  This small prairie schoolhouse has unusual architectural details that recall the classical style.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s list of properties considered worthy of preservation, a news release said. North Dakota now has about 400 listings, said Lorna Meidinger, the state’s National Register coordinator.

5 thoughts on “North Dakota sites recommended for National Register of Historic Places

  1. I am very interested in learning more about the Green Consolidated School#99….I am just starting to get the history of my family and my mother, Zelda Eggert, who was born in 1899, taught at that school in the 1920’s. She married my father, Arthur Davidson, when he returned from WW I.. His father, Andrew Davidson had come from Denmark and homesteaded near Valley City in the 1800’s. Andrew Davidson was on the school board when my mother taught at Green. She had come from Wisconsin. That’s all I know and both of my parents are now dead and I am trying to piece our history together for my grandchild.

  2. I attended this Florence Lake School my first and Second Grade, 1950-51, It is being restored as we find money, last year a new roof, this year we would like to put windows back in the orginal places and put new siding on. It sits along Hwy.#14 in central N.D. I have been collecting desks, found a teachers desk and chair, and books, like to find old maps and a globe, metal bell, to get as much orginal things as we can. My teacher is still alive and has given pictures, that we will hang when completed.

  3. Could someone please give driving directions to Green School? I visited with my family when I was a kid in 1968 because my Dad had taught there one year, so I recently tried to locate the school. Thanks in advance.

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