North Dakota Harness Company (Dakota Hardware Company)
The North Dakota Harness Company was started in Casselton, N.D. in 1884 by two brothers Walter W. Smith and Charles O. Smith. The company manufactured harnesses, collars, saddles and their business extended to South Dakota and Montana. In 1897 the company moved to Fargo, where it opened business at 619 N.P. Avenue. In 1905, the company built a new building at 627-629 N.P. Avenue. The building was designed by the Hancock Brothers, architects. Charles O. Smith served as the company president until his death in 1920. His wife, Elinor Smith took over as chairman of the board at that time. The company continued to change with the times, as there became less of a demand of harnesses, the company focus changed to hardware. The 1930 Fargo city directory advertised the company as wholesalers in Chi-Namel paints, varnishes, stains, enamels, paints brushes and painters supplies. About 1933 the company changed its name to Dakota Hardware Company. In 1941 Thomas O. Smith took over as company president, and he served until his death in 1967. In about 1965, Dakota Hardware Company moved to a new location at 212-218 N.P. Avenue, and Thomas’s widow Aileen ran the company. In 1980 the name changed once again to Smith Distributing, and was last listed in the Fargo city directory in 1985.
Fargo and Moorhead City Directory. Fargo, 1881-1927.
Polk’s Fargo and Moorhead City Directories. St. Paul, MN: R.L. Polk and Company
Souvenir of Fargo, North Dakota, 1906. Fargo, N.D. : Porte Printing Co., c1905.