Every city has a hometown newspaper and Fargo is no different. In fact, there have been a number of newspapers published in Fargo. After many mergers, however, today's Forum can trace its roots back to the 1873 Fargo Express.
The Fargo Forum was first published by Major Alanson W. Edwards & Colonel H. C. Plumley (pictured right ) on Nov. 17, 1891. When Edwards passed away in 1908, Plumely succeeded him. Although a talented newspaperman, Plumely did not have the necessary business skills. Financial problems at the paper forced it into receivership and it was purchased by J.P. Dotson of Crookston, Minnesota in 1912.
An issue of the Fargo Forum from Friday, August 25, 1899 is shown to the right.
Headlines described riots following the guilty verdict of Capt. Dreyfus in France and unrest with the Boers in South Africa. Holmes Clothiers advertised men's silk and linen suits from $4 to $7.50.
In 1916,Norman B. Black, former publisher and general manager of the Grand Forks Herald, purchased the Forum from J. P. Dotson for $100,000. Black took over as publisher on May 1, 1917. His co-owners were his son Norman D. Black, newspaperman, Holder Doran "Happy" Paulson, and James E. Rockwell.
Under Black's leadership, the Fargo Forum prospered and took a more moderate and thoughtful approach to Fargo and North Dakota boosterism than did the often outspoken Edwards. The paper soon gained increased respect throughout the state. Death overcame the 66-year old Black on January 8, 1931. A few weeks later, Norman D. Black (son of the former publisher) became publisher of the Fargo Forum. At the time, the Fargo Forum was flourishing but deeply in debt from its new building and the depression. The paper grew and prospered under Norman D. Black. On August 15, 1944, Jenny C. Black, announced a new publisher: Norman D. Black, Jr., who served as publisher until his death on September 25, 1969. The name was changed to The Forum on April 1, 1966. The new publisher was William C. Marcil, 33-year-old son-in-law of Norman D. Black, Jr. Marcil continues to serve as publisher today and has led the expansion of the Forum into Forum Communications, a multi-media company serving the Upper Midwest.
The Forum has had a number of homes. The Forum operated from the Odd Fellows Temple from 1894 to 1910. The picture to the right is an early Forum office but I can't find where it was located. The windows look very much like those of the original Odd Fellows Hall but the entrance is slightly different.
The Forum building was built in 1926 on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and First Avenue North. It was built by Meinecke and Johnson and cost about $300,000. The third floor was rented to Northwestern Bell Telephone Company was its North Dakota headquarters. The formal opening of the building was January 22, 1927.
In 1966, the Fargo Forum changed its name to The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. In 1993, the holding company changed its name to the Forum Communications Company. In 1996, the online version of the Forum, called INFORUM, was established.