William O. Olsen was born in Stormhammer, Norway in 1860. He came to the United States with his family at a young age. His father first operated furniture stores in St. Paul and then Moorhead, Minnesota, before arriving in Fargo in 1884. Mr. Olsen was an employee at his father’s store until it was destroyed in the Fargo fire of 1893. After the fire he went into business for himself, establishing his first store at 514 Front Street. He moved the store to 109-111 Broadway in 1902. In 1912 he built a three story brick building at 213 Broadway, and the business continued on at this location until about 1949. W. O. Olsen died in 1929, but his widow Annie, daughter Helen, and son-in-law Donald Burrett operated the business until it closed.
Fargo and Moorhead City Directory. Fargo, 1881-1927.
Polk’s Fargo and Moorhead City Directories. St. Paul, MN: R.L. Polk and Company
"Death takes W. O. Olsen, 69, resident here for 52 years" Fargo Forum and Daily Republican (2 June 1909): 5
Souvenir of Fargo, North Dakota, 1906. Fargo, N.D. : Porte Printing Co., c1905.