Idelkope Building, Fargo ND

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The Idelkope Building, 2007.

The Idelkope building, located at 506 North Broadway, was built in 1914 where the Great Northern Railroad intersects Broadway in Downtown Fargo, ND. Up until this summer it was one of my favorite buildings in Downtown due to the store occupying it; now I have no reason to go in the storefront.

Address Discrepancy

Apartments above.

Interestingly, the apartments in the 2nd floor of the Idelkope building have the address 508-1/2 North Broadway, otherwise known as Terrace Apartments. The stairwell is built into the Idelkope building, but 508 N Broadway is the single-floor building adjacently north of Idelkope.

Early Years

In my 1930s Armistice Day film, the Idelkope Building is located in the center of the frame. The image is quite blurry, but the sign above the door appears to read "I.G.A. Stores". The food theme continued for many years, with "John's Bakery" as the resident according to the 1954 City Directory.

The Idelkope Building, circa 1930s.

Late 20th Century

When I was a kid, this building was always Duane Johnson Bookseller (he bought the business in 1982). I went there to get cheap comic books, which were tossed into cardboard boxes and stacked ungainly ("thrown in cardboard and stacked ungainly" was the standard of storage there). Duane eventually sold out to BDS Books in 2001, who continued with Duane's inventory, but cleaned up much of the clutter.[1]

I vaguely remember the billboards seen in the 1930s movie, during my childhood, but sometime in the 1980s or 1990s the billboards were removed.


While the Rennaisance Zone tax breaks and funding provided by the city was designed to improve downtown businesses, the additional capital through the city wasn't enough for the current

Stone cornice identifying the Idelkope Building.

owner of the Idelkope Building. Rents were raised, and BDS Books was forced to move out. Thirty-plus years of operating as a bookstore in that location wasn't enough proof that it was a viable long-term tenant; the new tenant, a "jogging supply store," is, of course, an ancient and long-lived business path, thus guaranteed to leave the current building owner with a vacant -- but beautifully restored -- storefront.

One positive aspect of the restoration is the un-bricking of the southern-facing windows. These are visible in the 1930s movie, but were, at some point, bricked-over.

Windows bricked over.
Windows un-bricked.


  1. "Broadway bookstore buys texts", Jessica R. Anderson, Contributing Writer, NDSU Spectrum, accessed 10/1/2007.