Alexander Stern was born in Giessen, Germany, on June 7, 1857. His father was a farmer and stock raiser. Educated in Germany, Stern immigrated to the United States and landed in New York on August 17, 1871, with $17 in gold in his pocket. He exchanged the gold for $22 in paper money and headed west to Chicago and then Bloomington, Illinois, where he was employed as a clerk. In 1878 Stern began his own business which he ran in Bloomington until 1882. In that year, Stern came to Fargo and opened a clothing store on the corner of Broadway and Second Avenue. He built a new store on Broadway in 1885. Stern also built two other buildings in 1892 but they were both destroyed in the fire of 1893. Both were rebuilt but I don't know the locations.
Stern was also vice-president of the Fargo Packing Company (which he founded), president of the Fargo Plumbing Company, and director of the Merchant's State Bank. He was on the board of directors of the Agricultural College (now NDSU). In addition he served several terms on the Fargo City Council and was president of the council.
Stern married Miss Bertha Kaufman of Arora, Nevada, on July 5, 1885. The had three sons: William M., Samuel S., and Edward A.
As a boy, William Stern trapped frogs and sold them to Fargo restaurants but as an adult his life revolved around Fargo, banking, aviation and politics. William Stern was born in downtown Fargo in 1886. Later in life, Stern was fond of saying that his bank office looked out on the building in which he was born. After high school, he joined his father's company and began a long business career of his own after serving in the Army in World War I. Returning to Fargo after the war, he resumed his business career. In 1925 he became cashier and vice-president of Dakota National Bank, which his father and others had founded eight years earlier. He later became president of the bank and spent many years in the position. The former Dakota National Bank is now part of U.S. Bank. William Stern won national recognition in the Republican Party and helped bring air service to Fargo. He was one of three men who selected the site of Fargo's Hector International Airport and he helped the fledgling Northwest Airlines get off the ground.