In July of 2019, thieves made off with Fargo’s replica Statue of Liberty, which stood in downtown Fargo since 1950. As of this writing, Fargo’s Lady Liberty is still missing and some are speculating that the statue may be at the bottom of the Red River, because once the thieves realized how heavy it was, they likely pitched it over the side of the Main Avenue Bridge.
In a strange coincidence, this is not the first time a statue has gone missing in Fargo.
Over a century ago, in 1908, a statue of a Native American stood in the center of Broadway just south of the tracks between Main Avenue (then known as Front Street) and NP Avenue. The statue was originally intended to be a water trough for horses (you can see the ‘bowls’ on the base of the statue in the postcard print I’ve embedded here) but the fountain was later shut off due to the threat of contagion inherent in a public watering trough.
The statue was damaged by a truck in the 1940s, hauled off to storage, later re-bronzed and placed in NP Park in 1949, but NP Park became a parking lot in 1958, and the statue was again placed in storage for a time. In 1959, the Statue was used as part of a protest at City Hall (a story I first discovered on the Fargo History website painstakingly created by Fargo native John Caron, and now hosted by NDSU) before it again disappeared into storage.
In 1961, the statue was again restored and put on display outside the Street Department warehouse at 4th Street and 1st Avenue South (near the present day YMCA). In 1965, however, vandals cut the statue off at the ankles and made off with it. It was later found behind a home at 1524 11th Street North with missing feet and an arm broken off. The statue was returned to storage with the intention that it would one day be restored again, but it disappeared when the city shops were moved in favor of urban renewal, and nobody has seen it since.
Maybe somebody, a city employee perhaps, has seen an odd crate somewhere in the back of a seldom-used warehouse, accumulating a layer of dust for half a century… anybody? For history lovers, it would be fascinating to see a longstanding mystery like this solved after such an extended period of time. And let’s hope Lady Liberty turns up soon, too.
If these stories interest you, please consider picking up a copy of Fargo Moorhead Lost and Found.