Published by

Daniel Haglund

Daniel Haglund, 46, is a former page designer at The Forum newspaper who currently sells insurance and annuities for Sons of Norway and group insurance for Colonial Life. He also drives Uber every week. While at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead from 1994-2013, Dan played myriad roles including reporting, photographing, writing columns, editing magazines, illustrating and creating graphics. Dan has two children, Jonathan, 22, and Delana, 18, and lives in Moorhead.

DANIEL HAGLUND: Just The Facts, Man —A View To The Sky

I have had a lifelong fascination with architecture — and tall buildings specifically. I would fill spiral-bound notebooks with fantastic floor plans of my dream homes, completely devoid of common-sense, load-bearing laws or feng shui rules. But I was only 7.

Maybe it was when I climbed a ladder at age 3 to join my dad who was shingling our house (scared the parents pretty good). Or perhaps it was watching King Kong scale the World Trade Center in the 1976 movie. Or maybe it was just seeing pictures of tall buildings in encyclopedias. But at some point, my fascination turned to self-education.

One of the buildings I had wanted to see in person, as a child, was the tallest building in Minnesota — the IDS Center, 792 feet high. It was built in 1972 and was originally 775 feet tall, but a window-cleaning garage was added its top in the late 1970s. I recall taking a family vacation to Minneapolis at that time, peering curiously at the mammoth structures as we got closer and closer. Then finally driving right next to the towers, staring straight into the sky to see the tops. It made me woozy.

We took the ear-popping elevator to the IDS’s observation deck, which has since closed after I checked last month. I could see the horizon for 20 or 30 miles from this view, looking down on the shorter buildings and even seeing ant-like people walking around the sidewalks. Amazing.

This experience inspired me to read more about other buildings around the country, then around the world. I later visited the 1,250-foot Empire State Building and 1,368-foot World Trade Center 1 in New York City, the 1,815-foot CN Tower in Toronto and the 1,450-foot Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago. I hope to see the world’s tallest building someday, the new 2,717-foot Burj Khalifa in Dubai. At more than a half-mile high, it is a dizzying 12 times taller than Fargo’s current tallest building (Radisson, 206 feet, 8 inches).

Recently, I’ve thought more about the buildings in my hometown of Fargo-Moorhead. We will soon be witness to a new tallest building in the middle of Fargo, which will actually become the new tallest building in the state. The Kilbourne Group’s Block 9 Tower is projected to rise to 250 feet, 8 feet higher than the current state Capitol Building in Bismarck.

Following are the tallest buildings in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo:


• 1. Block 9 Tower (Proposed height: 250-252 feet; Proposed by Kilbourne Group in 2013; Construction to begin this fall, to be completed 2019; 18.5 floors). Would become the tallest building in North Dakota, 8 feet taller than the State Capitol Building in Bismarck.

• 2. Radisson Hotel (206 feet, 8 inches; built 1985, 18 floors).

• 3. Herschel Lashkowitz High Rise (203 feet, 4 inches; built 1970, 22 floors).

• 4. Sanford Medical Center (199 feet, 8 inches; built 2012 (To be completed this year), 11 floors).

• 5. Cathedral of St. Mary (170 feet, 3 inches; built 1899).

•6. First Lutheran Church (167 feet, 4 inches; built 1920).

• 7. Fargodome (125 feet; built 1992).

• 8. New Horizons Manor (122 feet, 2 inches; built 1973, 10 floors).

• 9. Bank of the West tower (119 feet, built 1973, 10 floors).

• 10. Twin Towers (110 feet, built 1978, 9 floors).

• 11. Pavek Hall at North Dakota State University (110 feet; built 1987, 9 floors).

• 12. Seim Hall at NDSU (110 feet; built 1973, 9 floors).

• 13. Sevrinson Hall at NDSU (110 feet; built 1967, 9 floors).

• 14. Thompson Hall at NDSU (110 feet; built 1967, 9 floors).

•1 5. Bethany Towers II (110 feets; built 1979, 9 floors).

• 16. Black Building (108 feet; Built 1931, 9 floors) Tallest building in North Dakota from 1931 to 1934 when the new Capitol building was completed at 242 feet high, which currently remains the tallest in the state. The spire-topped churches and cathedrals do not count, since they generally have a single working level above ground.


• 1. Riverview Heights Apartments (Height: 169 feet, 1 inch; built 1968; 14 floors).

• 2. Nelson Hall at Minnesota State University Moorhead (145 feet; built 1966, 12 floors).

• 3. Park View Terrace (96 feet, 7 inches; 8 floors).

• 4. One Riverside (72 feet, 6 inches; built in 1978; 6 floors).

• 5. U.S. Bank Building (72 feet; built 1950; 7 floors).

• 6. Clay County Service Center (60 feet, 5 inches; 5 floors).

• 7. Moorhead Center Mall Building (60 feet, 5 inches; built in 1973; 5 floors).

Incidentally, MSUM’s John Neumaier Hall, which was built between the years 1969-70, was Moorhead’s second-tallest building until its implosion in August 1999. It was determined to be structurally unsafe, as the foundation was not holding stable. It was 163 feet, 6 inches tall, and was 15 stories high, rising three floors above the neighboring cylindrical Nelson Hall.


• 1. West Fargo High Rise (Height: 85 feet, 4 inches; built 1968; 7 floors).

DANIEL HAGLUND: Just The Facts, Man — A Breath Of Fresh Air

Memorial Day has long meant a day of reflection, a day of remembrance, a day for giving thanks to those who have defended our ideals and independence.

I used the day as a rare opportunity to just see a bit more of our great land. A plan-less, meandering drive through the countryside. A respite at a remote lake to wet the toes, an open car window to hear the birds, a shared wave with an old fellow on his riding lawn mower. You know, the good stuff.

The sunshine and fresh air were doing wonders. After a couple of hours, a stop for a cold beer.

I really just let the car take me wherever seemed new. I drove on roads I’d never been on, winding through lakes country and eventually finding myself along a familiar stretch south of Detroit Lakes.

And what I found on the south-facing deck of the Holiday Inn on the north shore of Detroit Lake was what the day was all about.

A perfect day. Temps in the 80s, a slight breeze … and peace.

A young couple was showing their toddler a sand beach for presumably the first time. He pressed his bare feet into the sand, then smiled back at mom. He was discovering the texture of the warm sand atop the cool sand underneath.

A man was walking his adventurous poodle, who kept tugging forward to smell new scents, panting as it forged ahead.

And then I noticed the pontoon boats.

Directly in front of me was one populated with Bud Light drinkers, a couple of cowboy hats, a few kids.

The next pontoon was a rental. A group of Muslims, the females in burkas, slowly and carefully loaded onto their craft. The rental agent instructed the basics to the man who would be the captain. Then they were off, slowly navigating to avoid any other boats.

The furthest pontoon boldly displayed its rainbow flag. They were out onto the lake not much later.

After arriving back on shore within an hour, the children from the pontooners played as one in the shallow water.

Should such a scene be remarkable? No. Would it be remarkable somewhere else? Unfortunately, yes.

It appeared to me that for one afternoon on the north shore of Detroit Lake, there were no cultural divides, there was no bigotry and no outward fear of those who are different.

To me, it just seemed like freedom. Where all men and women are created equal.

DANIEL HAGLUND: Just The Facts, Man — Pass The Lefse And Krumkake

I hate to rain on Jim Maxson’s May 4 article, “On Burgum, Nelson, Stenehjem, At Least We Know We’re Getting a Norwegian,” from In it, Maxson claims North Dakotans will have a choice between three gubernatorial candidates of Norwegian descent.

Only problem — Fargo Republican Doug Burgum is not Norwegian. Most of his Burgum ancestors were English. I traced his family tree, and the following are his great-great-grandparents: William Burgum and Edith Bowery (both born in England), Aaron Bradley and Elizabeth Harper (both born in England), Phillip Slaughter and Harriet Castleman (born in Virginia and Kentucky, respectively), Gen. Charles Warfel and Mary Boyd (born in Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively), Dr. Henry Kilbourn and Fanny Briggs (both born in Vermont), Amasa Feltt and Elizabeth Young (both born in Vermont), James Conwell and Harriet Conner (born in Delaware and Indiana, respectively), and finally James Higgins and Lucinda Craig (born in Pennsylvania and Ohio, respectively).

None of these names ring Norwegian, and the beginnings of Norwegian emigration to the United States didn’t start trickling in until the 1820s-1840s, after most of these people were born. Not that donning a bunad and feasting on lutefisk needs to be the litmus test for governorship. North Dakota has a rich history of English settlers as well, with many towns and cities bearing English names.

But alternately, fellow candidates for the state’s highest office — Wayne Stenehjem and Marvin Nelson — are quite Norwegian. Breaking down the candidates by their heritage, Stenehjem can claim he’s at least half-Norwegian. Wayne’s father Martin was 100 percent Norsk. His mother, Marguerite (McMaster) Stenehjem was mainly Scottish and German. Nelson’s great-grandparents Julius and Alethe Nelson emigrated from Hedmark, Norway. He has other Norwegian ancestry as well.

I’m not exactly sure what level of confidence or comfort North Dakota residents harbor with a Norway-descended resident at the helm, but the tone of Maxson’s article makes it appear palpable. Or somewhat amusing.

But as a former president of the Fargo Sons of Norway Kringen Lodge, I am well aware of the pride this group feels in its cultural and historical imprint on the state. Tens of thousands of Norwegians spread across the state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and their descendants number greatly among the present-day population.

I am among them. My great-great grandfather Jorgen Sunderland walked barefoot, as the story goes, 600 miles from Iowa to Dakotah Territory (before 1889 statehood) over several fall weeks to settle here. He walked in lead of the family’s horses and carriage on the journey. These ancestors of ours all had a dream of a better life.

In forwarding Maxson’s message though, North Dakotans can be assured that these men have stepped up to public service to the best of their collective abilities. All are born and bred here. They carry with them North Dakota sensibilities and work ethic. Whatever happens in November, at least there will be no outsiders. And maybe … just maybe … lefse and krumkake at the governor’s residence.