Conservatory of Music


Fargo College Conservatory of Music was founded in 1887. The first director was Edward Albert Smith, who had made a name for himself as a music instructor in Fargo, prior to the opening of Fargo College. He had a music school in the Keeney Block in downtown Fargo, which was destroyed in the Fargo fire of 1893. After Jones Hall was completed in 1890, the Conservatory was located in the parlor. In 1898 a pipe organ was place in the college chapel.

Smith resigned in 1900, and was replaced by Ira B. Penniman. In about 1901, the Conservatory moved to the Duval House also called South Hall, on the corner of 8th Avenue and 6th Street South which was "... refinished and especially fitted up for the exclusive use of the Conservatory of Music." It contained two "good sized" studios on the first floor with an office and a hallway between them. The second floor had practice rooms.

Class at conservatory

In 1903 the school again moved, this time to the C.R. Stone Block at 614-616 1st Avenue North. In this building they had studios, practice rooms, reception rooms, and recital halls; the largest seating 700 people. In 1906 Mr. Penniman resigned and he was replaced by William W. George as director. In 1910, a new Stone Block was built across the street at 613-615 1st Avenue North, and the Conservatory move into this building. Bertrand Orr replaced William George as director in 1911, and he remained director until 1914, when he was replaced by Albert J. Stevens.

On November 23, 1920, the Conservatory was moved to Watson Hall located at 601 4th Street South. The building had been bought by Mrs. Lizzy Eugenia Wells Watson for $25,000 and it was given to the Fargo College for use as the Conservatory of Music. In 1922 the Fargo College was forced to close due to financial difficulties. The Conservatory continued to operate as fundraisers attempted to raise money to reopen to college, but the stock market crash of 1929 ended the campaign and the college was force to sell all of its assets, including the Conservatory. The building reverted back to Mrs. Watson, who in turn donated it to the Fine Arts Club.

Wau-kan, 1921
Fargo College Records, MS 153. Institute for Regional Studies Archives, North Dakota State University, Fargo.