Fargo man documents Block 9 construction in pictures

A Fargo man who loves photography and construction took thousands of pictures of the Block 9 construction site.

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FARGO — For more than two years, 71-year-old Dennis Olson became a fixture just outside what was previously called the Block 9 project in downtown Fargo, taking photos from every angle from the very beginning of construction.

"First of all, I love construction, and Block 9 is the best project I have seen in my life," Olson said. "What makes it special is being downtown; it's perfect. I love it."

As Block 9, which later became the RDO Building, began to take shape, Olson's pictures changed. He continued his trek to downtown to document it all, just because he wanted to.

Olson would arrive early in the morning and again late at night to take pictures from a half-dozen locations downtown.

In the end, he took more than 17,000 photos.


He even had his birthday cake a few days ago decorated with one of his pictures, which he keeps in zip-close bags. The Kilbourne Group construction crew has looked at them and are amazed at the dedication of one man to one building.

"It is great to see, literally, through a different lens of someone's perspective, of what they thought were special moments of the project," said Keith Lieber, vice president of construction at Kilbourne Group.

Olson said he won't stop taking photos of downtown, especially with holiday lights going up. He still enjoys walking by the completed building he witnessed being built from the ground up.

"Every time I look at it, I love it," Olson said. "I just love coming downtown, (it's) a beautiful place to be."

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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