(Casselton, ND) Hi 80 Lo 63 – Today we spent a full day in Fargo. Our first destination was Bonanzaville in West Fargo. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)
Bonanzaville is a complex of museums that encompasses a total of 45 separate buildings housing all kinds of different museums. Most of the buildings were examples of homes, cabins, and businesses from the 1800’s, but there was much more.
The Telephone Pioneer Museum had hundreds of artifacts from the history of telecommunications, from the telegraph to the telephone.
The coolest buildings were the airplane and car museums. The Eagles Air Museum had several aircraft on display.
And the World Famous Antique Vehicles Museum had an amazing number of old cars that dated from the very early days of the automobile industry up to the ‘60’s.
Of course, horse drawn vehicles weren’t left out.
In a separate shed was a train car display.
Including this early steam engine.
This railroad snowplow is attached to the front of an engine and requires three men to operate.
But most of the buildings were original homes and town buildings that were relocated to this site to recreate a pioneer town. Of course, the first place you look for in a new town is the saloon, right? We found the Brass Rail Saloon.
There was a drug store.
And a general merchandise store.
The local school house was built in 1895 and was used until the ‘50’s. Student enrollment peaked at 40, and one teacher taught all the pupils and all the grades. Sure was a different way of life back then!
This is the first house built in North Dakota. It was built in 1869 when Fargo was nothing but tents and temporary huts.
This large church was very beautiful, but sadly was almost completely destroyed by a fire just six weeks ago, so we couldn’t go inside it.
There were many other homes and buildings, but many of them were very similar to other examples of pioneer life we saw at other museums this summer. Bonanzaville was very well worth the visit, but we enjoyed seeing the “planes, trains, and automobiles” the most. Frankly, we’re getting a little “pioneer weary.” We’ve been to four or five pioneer museums this summer and after a while they all seem to look alike. But we highly recommend Bonanzaville if you’re in this area. It has something for just about everyone.
After a couple of hours of walking around we were ready for some lunch, so we headed to our favorite lunch place, Culver’s. We’re glad to be back in Culver’s territory!
After lunch we took a driving tour through downtown Fargo.
It’s a pretty town. It’s not overly large. Fargo and Moorhead are separated by the Red River and the total population is around 150,000.
I read online that there’s a small museum tucked away in the corner of a large shopping mall that I just had to see. It’s the Roger Maris Museum.
Roger Maris was a Fargo native and was famous for breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1961 by hitting 61 homers (61 in ‘61). I remember following his chase for the record when I was a little kid. The museum was very small but interesting. On display was the Yankees uniform he wore during the 1961 season.
And one of his gloves.
There were many of the home run balls he hit during that season. And of course I couldn’t pass up a photo of his Cardinal uniform from his two seasons playing for St. Louis at the end of his career.
The Roger Maris Museum was one of those little places that turn out to be a pleasant surprise. I grew up in the Ft. Lauderdale, FL area, which is where the Yankees had spring training in the 1960’s, so I got to see Roger Maris (and Mickey Mantle) play a couple of times in spring training games. So this little museum brought back some memories.
We made one more stop before heading home. We’d heard there was an exhibit from the movie “Fargo” at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitor Center. Fargo is one of my favorite movies, so we had to stop there!
If you’ve seen Fargo, you know about the “infamous wood chipper scene” at the end of the movie. If you’ve forgotten it, here’s a still from the scene:
Just kidding! But that is the actual wood chipper used in the movie. The display case on the left has a copy of the original screenplay.
This was a fun day. We returned home to relax for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow we’ll tell you a little about the park we’re in. See you then.