Horace E. Stockbridge

Horace E. Stockbridge photo

Horace E. Stockbridge

Horace Stockbridge was the first, and youngest, president of North Dakota Agriculture College, which later became North Dakota State University[1]. He was born in Hadley, Massachusetts on May 15, 1857[2]. He attended Massachusetts Agricultural College, where he received his degree in 1878[3]. He had a strong background in agriculture, which was probably why he was picked to be the president. Prior to his acceptance of the presidency of NDAC, Stockbridge was an associate professor of chemistry at Massachusetts Agricultural College from 1884-1885, a professor of chemistry and geology at the Japanese Imperial College of Agriculture and Engineering from 1885-1889, chief chemist for the Japanese government from 1888-1889, and director of the Experiment Station at Purdue University during the year 1889[4].

Stockbridge was elected president of NDAC in 1890, when he was only 33 years old[5]. He was the one who picked the location of the college, appointed the teachers, oversaw the construction of buildings, and organized the experiment buildings. He designed College Hall, now known as Old Main, and came up with the idea of special short winter courses so that farmers could get the planting done, in subjects like agriculture, chemistry, and other related topics[6]. He resigned from NDAC in 1893, because of political reasons, and then moved to Americus, Georgia[7]. After he left NDAC, Stockbridge became a professor of agriculture at Florida Agriculture College in 1897[8]. He was the agriculture editor and co-founder of the Southern Ruralist from 1906-1922, and in 1922 he started editing for the Southern Farmland and Dairy, which he continued to do until his retirement due to ill health[9]. Horace Stockbridge died on October 30, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia[10]. In 1957, a new men’s hall on NDAC’s campus was named Stockbridge Hall in honor of the first president of the college[11].

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012
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[1] NDSU Archives, President Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

 

North Dakota Agriculture College (NDAC)

North Dakota Agriculture College (NDAC) was established in 1890, by a law that allowed for an agriculture college to be formed in Fargo, North Dakota . This was part of the United States government’s effort to create colleges for the study of agriculture and the sciences. The following appeared in the Daily Argus on May 2, 1890: “At the meeting of the Fargo Agricultural College board yesterday afternoon the following members were present: J. B. Power of Power, E. M. Upson of Commings, M. Saunderson of Edgely, and O.W. Fancis of Fargo. Mr. Francis was elected president and J. B. Power, secretary. After organization the situation was discussed and steps taken to obtain for the college the $15,000 to be given by the government for an experiment station. The board adjourned until the fifteenth.” When the fifteenth rolled around, the board set up an experiment station that would reveal whether or not this new college would work out. The North Dakota State Legislature set up the rules and regulations for the maintanance and running of the college in the first and second session of the assembly.  The Daily Argus reported on May 16, 1890 that “Forty acres on the Lowell farm, one half mile south of the city, have been secured. Buildings will be secured in the city;” which meant that now the college had a place and buildings in which to meet and hold classes . These buildings were not made for the college, but were existing buildings that were used in case the college failed. The first building specifically built for NDAC, is the building now known as Old Main . At the time of its construction, this building was known as College Hall . Construction on Old Main started in 1891 and was completed in 1892, shortly followed by the “Farm House,” Francis Hall, and the Mechanic Hall in 1893, the Creamery in 1895, and the Festival Hall in 1897 . Old Main held classes, offices and laboratories for the faculty, a library, a gym, an office for the president, and room for an enrollment of 80. The first staff member hired by the school board was Clare B. Waldron, who was a botanist. He arrived in July 1890, and he was the only staff member around for the next three months. On October 15, 1890, the first budget was approved, the president, Horace E. Stockbridge, was hired, and the first three faculty members, Henry L. Bolley, Edwin F. Ladd, and Clare B. Waldron, were hired by the school board . The first regular classes were not held until September 8, 1891 . The students had unofficially called NDAC North Dakota State University right from the beginning, when NDAC was just an experimental school, but the name was not changed until December 8, 1950, because there were not enough votes to officially change the name of the college until 1950 .

Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012

1 NDSU Archives, Law Passed at the 1st Session of the Legislative Assembly of North Dakota.
2 NDSU Archives, Daily Argus.
3 NDSU Archives, Daily Argus.
4 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
5 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
6 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
7 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
8 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893
9 NDSU Archives, Horace E. Stockbridge Papers, 1890-1893

Charles A. Roberts Home, 611 8th St. S.

Charles A. Roberts Home, 611 8th St. S. Image appears in “Fargo’s Heritage” by Norene A. Roberts.

One of Fargo’s grandest old homes, the Charles Roberts House was built in 1884, anchoring the north end of the historic South Eighth Street district. It is an enormous dwelling: it features over 20 rooms and measures in at well over 7,000 square feet. It has a carriage house and a large, picturesque yard. According to architectural historian Ron Ramsey, the Roberts Home is a “truly exuberant piece of architecture, this house in High Victorian Style exhibits the use of spindles, brackets, spikey ornaments, decorative brickwork, high ceilings, and steep roofs.”[1]  Astonishingly, this home was designed not by an architect, but an untrained pioneer woman who also wore many other hats during her lifetime.  Her name was Matilda Roberts, widely regarded among locals of the time as the “most beloved women in Fargo.” [2]While her husband, Charles, was away on railroad business in 1883, Matilda Roberts decided to build a home that would demonstrate her family’s position on Fargo’s social ladder. She designed the house and superintended its construction. She and her boys installed lathing to all 20 rooms, their handiwork still buried under plaster and decades of paint. The brick of the home was taken from the Roberts family brickyard–in fact, it is the same brick that is used in Old Main at NDSU. On the main floor, Matilda designed four large rooms that could be opened into one large meeting area, the floors covered with thick Axminster carpets. The house was filled with mahogany furniture and featured eight fireplaces. According to the Fargo Forum, “The dining room was in polished golden oak. Willie’s room was in blue with a water lily motif… Lee’s red, Tan’s pink, and Matilda’s gray and rose… When Charlie came home, he was even more amazed than usual at his practical wife.” [3]

The 1890s were an exciting time in the Roberts household, for Matilda seemed determined to open her home to any and all social opportunities.  A large ballroom on the third floor was the scene of many parties. Often, Schirrman’s Orchestra would play from the balcony to gathered guests outdoors. The Roberts were generous to the students of the Agricultural College (now NDSU), for their “basement was fitted out as an amusement room, a clubhouse to the young men of the town. There was an $800 billiards table and everything else was on the same scale.” [4] Lawn parties were also very popular at the time. “Chinese lanterns strung from tree to tree, ices in a tent at a smilax trimmed table, an orchestra playing behind the shrubs. Eucre occupied the place that bridge now does and there was always a prize for high score and for lone hand. At one party, the guests had ten minutes to make a buttonhole; a gold thimble went to the best one, a silver to the worst.”  The Roberts were not involved in many social clubs.  However, Mrs. Roberts was instrumental in founding the Fargo YMCA and a ladies’ club called the Quiva Club, which met in her home. [5]

– Zach Jendro, Digital History, 2012


[1] Richardson, Jerry, and Kevin Carvell. “A Walking, Driving, and Horse and Buggy Tour of Historic Fargo” (brochure). Fargo: Fargo Heritage Society, 2011.

[2] “First Citizen of City Passes Early Today”, Fargo Forum, June 27, 1934.

[3] Owen, Ida Mae. “Roberts’ Fortunes at High Tide”, Fargo Forum, February 20, 1930.

[4] Owen, Ida Mae. “Fargo Rivals Reno in Early ’90s”, Fargo Forum, February 21, 1930.

[5] Ibid.