Home for sale offers glimpse of early Fargo days
FARGO — The phrase "historic Victorian home" often conjures images of an enormous, grand mansion whose interior depicts the opulence of that bygone time. While Julie Snortland's home for sale at 705 10th St. S. is certainly regal, it also embodies a warmth and coziness not always typical for similarly aged houses.
The home's welcoming ambiance stems largely from the open floor plan. From the main entry, the dining room and kitchen are visible, while a quick step into the living room yields views of another sitting area that leads to the kitchen.
The home was built around the turn of the 20th century, and Snortland says Mamie Hansen was supposedly the first homeowner. However, property records indicate at least five other individuals owned the lot before Hansen purchased it in 1905.
Snortland has never lived in the historic home she purchased in 2012, but instead rented it out to visitors. When she bought the home, Snortland was pleased to discover many of the home's beautiful features intact.
"Each owner before me put their love into the home," she says. "It hadn't been updated in a way that would detract from the original features, and I appreciated that."
The main project Snortland undertook was fixing the home's foundation. She worked with contractor Aaron Knuth at AJ Improvements to have part of the basement excavated and reinforced, using cinderblocks on the interior but adding reclaimed bricks to the exterior to maintain the home's historic look.
Nearly every wall of the more than 3,000-square-foot home is adorned with wallpaper, which Snortland and her Realtor, Deb Clark from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, realize may turn off some buyers. The good news, Snortland says, is the walls behind the paper are in mint condition and could easily be painted.
Wallpaper is just one of many features that illustrate how each homeowner has valued its history. The sink in the main-level half-bath came from a barbershop in town, while the bathroom's light fixture was once in the famed Powers Hotel downtown.
The kitchen, whose ample space belies its age, was given additional square footage when a maid's staircase was removed. However, the basement stairwell still shows the footings of that antiquated remnant.
More history can be found in the unfinished basement. A coal-burning stove once sat in the middle of the basement, and a nearby room's blackened brick walls show where the coal was stored. An oval outline on the cement floor indicates where a cistern used to collect water.
In a tucked-away space that once served as the cold storage room for the home, wooden planks adorned with color and words tell the tale of when Buffalo Bill Cody brought his Wild West show to Fargo. Large billboards advertised the event and were later dismantled. Those boards serve as the sub-floor in the basement and attic of Snortland's home.
"It was pretty cool to learn that piece of history," she says.
The home features a carriage house that has been converted to a four-stall garage. It was originally part of the Alfred Moody property at 303 8th St. S. that was built in the late 1800s. In 1966, the home was scheduled for demolition to make way for the Blue Cross Blue Shield building, which now houses WDAY.
Another interesting snippet of history is a framed pencil etching of one of the Hansen sisters in one of the upper-level bedrooms. That drawing will stay with the house, Snortland says.The upstairs offers three full bedrooms, two of which are adjoined, as well as a fourth, smaller space that doesn't have a closet; it once served as a maid's bedroom.
The chair rail lining the upstairs hallway is original and features tiny golden fleur-de-lis. Snortland had her contractor fix cracks in the ceiling then add crown molding to the upstairs hallway, another touch that adds to the home's natural grandeur.
Though Snortland never lived in the home, she and her family gathered there for some holidays. Everyone enjoyed the space, and that's what she'll miss most once she sells the home. "The joy it brings to me to see that I've helped preserve a beautiful home and its history," she says.
Her Realtor agrees. "This is not my home, but I take a lot of pride in it," Clark says.
While the home has been on the market for less than two months, both Snortland and Clark acknowledge the importance of finding the right buyer.
"Buying this home will probably require a leap of faith. It did for me, and I don't regret it for a minute," Snortland says.