In 1891, Theodore Schwennesen circumnavigated the world, a trip of a global scale -- which included passing through Fargo at one point:
Now to Morehead and Fargo with 12,000 people on the Dakota border. Here everything is bare, hilly land. Buildings look lost and lonesome, no trees, just hills and valleys interrupted by some rocks...
Upon crossing into "Dakota", as he calls it, his description of the rest of the state isn't too much different from today, although there's more of us around now. Remember: this was only 70-80 years after Lewis and Clark, and only 15 years after Little Big Horn, and indian attacks were still on people's minds. Most of the cities he mentions were only a few years old, and the rest is still wilderness, save the lonely railroad tracks Schwennesen was on. Interestingly, the 'fort' he reports seeing in Hebron was most likely Fort Sauerkraut, a makeshift defense against indian attack during The Indian Scare of 1890; due to the, er, "success" at Wounded Knee, Fort Sauerkraut was no longer needed by the time of Schwennesen's trip.
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