Wish you were here! Fargoans once sent postcards of Island Park to their friends
Early residents of Fargo were clearly proud of their grand park in the middle of the city.
FARGO — All of the talk recently of reinvigorating Island Park in Fargo sparked a sweet memory for 87-year-old Joanne Wilson of Moorhead.
Wilson recently found an old postcard her mother wrote to a friend in Wisconsin in 1910 featuring the park.
“My mother (Elizabeth) was just 14 when these cards were written,” Wilson said. “Helena was 17.
In the postcard, Elizabeth describes the weather that August day in Arthur, N.D. (where she lived).
“We have been having nice weather for harvesting, but not for anything else because we haven’t had any rain. Maybe we will have some soon,” she wrote.
The teenager went on to tell her friend, “I guess we will start to thresh soon, if we can get some men.”
Who knew the hot topic of conversation for teen girls in 1910 would be harvest weather and the shortage of hired men?
Anyway, whether Helena held onto the card for the weather-speak on the back or the lovely photo of Island Park on the front, she held onto it.
A source of pride
It appears that Elizabeth and Helena weren't the only people corresponding via Island Park postcards in the beginning of the 20th century. North Dakota State University Archives has several postcards featuring scenes from the park in its collection.
The young city (just 35 years old in 1910) was clearly proud of its oldest and grandest park, choosing it as the image to share of Fargo to out-of-town relatives.
You can only imagine what these people 112 years ago would think of the revisions and improvements coming to the park in the 2020s.
So whatever happened to Elizabeth and Helena? Helena ended up marrying Elizabeth’s brother Edmund in 1919. Both raised families, lived and farmed in North Dakota for many years.
It’s safe to assume that as the years went by, the two women were able to talk about harvest weather and hired men over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table instead of on a postcard.