In 1885 R.W. Bliss & Company, Fargo, Dakota Territory, published Bliss’ Fargo and Moorhead Directory for the Year Commencing July 1885. The directory attempts to list each householder in the communities, the person’s address and occupation. Business listings include the proprietors, address and type of business. Here we’ve reproduced the alphabetical and classified business listings from the Moorhead section verbatim. The Fargo section and advertising are not included. Please remember that directories missed many people and misspellings are common.
In 1885 Moorhead’s east/west running avenues were generally named and the north/south running streets numbered. Moorhead had no house numbering system until 1902. There were only about 2,500 people in the city in 1885. The directory “addresses” were designed to get one close to the person’s house or business. Sometime they only directed one to a neighborhood.
“Northwest Point” was a residential area northwest of downtown. “woodlawn Park” was southwest of downtown. “Oak Grove” was south of Woodlawn Park. A typical listing might read: “Vachon L, baker, Fourth near Front, r same,” meaning L. Vachon’s bakery was on Fourth Street, somewhere near Front Street and his residence (r) was the same. Use the abbreviation list to help decipher other abbreviations.