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The Fargo Theater: An Art Deco movie theater that has served as an icon of downtown Fargo since its construction

David Goran

Located at 314 Broadway, formerly the site of a fruit store known as the Idlekope Building, the Fargo Theater is an art deco movie theater in downtown Fargo, North Dakota, United States.

Fargo Theatre (1938). Photo Credit

Fargo Theatre (1938). Photo Credit

Construction began on the theater on September 15, 1925. Opened on March 15, 1926, this 870-seat theater is the area’s only remaining vintage movie palace with a vaudeville stage.

Since its construction, the Fargo Theater has served as an icon of downtown Fargo.

The theater took six months for completion. Photo Credit

The theater took six months for completion. Photo Credit

Its first movie played was “The Man on the Box” staring Syd Chaplin and directed by Charles Resiner. Photo Credit

Its first movie played was “The Man on the Box” starring Syd Chaplin and directed by Charles Resiner. Photo Credit

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo Credit

The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo Credit

The theater serves as a multi-purpose facility with capacity for film showings, live productions, and meetings, and is a registered historic landmark.

The building’s gleaming marquee remains a symbol that has been appreciated for decades. Photo Credit

The building’s gleaming marquee remains a symbol that has been appreciated for decades. Photo Credit

Projector at Historic Fargo Theatre. Photo Credit

The projector at Historic Fargo Theatre. Photo Credit

In 1937 it was remodeled by architects Liebenberg & Kaplan, and for years it has been home to a twice annual silent movie night, in which classics like the Phantom of the Opera, Ella Cinders, The Thief of Bagdad, and The General are accompanied by an original live score on the Fargo’s mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ.

Fargo Theatre was built in 1926 as a vaudeville and cinema house, complete with a Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ. Photo Credit

Fargo Theatre was built in 1926 as a vaudeville and cinema house, complete with a Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ. Photo Credit

Originally designed in the Renaissance style, the theater was restored in the 80’s with a more art deco style interior. Photo Credit

Originally designed in the Renaissance style, the theater was restored in the 80’s with a more art deco style interior. Photo Credit

It was restored in 1999 to its historic appearance and now is a center for the arts in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area. Photo Credit

It was restored in 1999 to its historic appearance and now is a center for the arts in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area. Photo Credit

With its classic art deco design beautifully restored and renovated in 1998-99, the Fargo Theater now operates as a first-run cinema, 364 days a year. Since 2001, The Fargo Theater has served as the main venue of the Fargo Film Festival.

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The festival has accepted submissions from many independent filmmakers from more than 32 American states and 15 countries. The Fargo Theater still stands at its original location in downtown Fargo and is a major attraction to this day.