The Rusk Auto-House

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An example of the Rusk Auto-House, located in south Fargo, ND.
The "Rusk Auto-House" was a prefabricated steel garage for storing automobiles, in a time when there was no reason to automatically add a garage to a home.

Contents

Building's Label

One example I've run across has the following label:

The pressed-metal label.

THE
RUSK
AUTO-HOUSE

MANUFACTURED BY
THE FARGO CORNICE & ORNAMENT Co.
FARGO, N.D.


A Rusk Auto House in state museum, 2009

History

People today might not have thought of this, but before the automobile there was no reason for people to build an garage-sized accommodation for any automobile-sized objects. Barns and machine-sheds existed for farmers, horse owners had stables, but there weren't any custom buildings for automobiles as are so common today.

The Rusk Auto-House is an example from a local manufacturer that contributed to early automotive history.

George Rusk, of Fargo Cornice and Ornament Company, saw an opportunity for business despite the lagging ornamental-construction market. Using the production equipment available to them, Fargo Cornice produced these small-prefab garages, advertised for "$139 and upwards"[1]


702-704 Broadway

Historical Value

One Rusk Auto-House, once located at 702-704 Broadway, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places[2], Building #87002634, in 1987. Its architect was listed as "Fargo Cornice and Ornament Co., Hancock Brothers." According to the March 1988 Howard Binford's Guide, the garage sat just off "Seventh avenue, across the street from the bishop's
A Rusk Auto House in north Fargo, ND
residence". It belonged with a home built by Fargo hoteliers Peter Elliot and F. Urban Powers. This area is now completely paved, as a parking lot for Sanford Hospital.


The Enderlin, ND Rusk Auto-House

References

  1. "Early Prefab Garages Made Locally", Don Lilleboe, March 1988 Howard Binford's Guide
  2. National Register of Historic Places, Cass County, North Dakota.
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