WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 18, 2013, 02:29 PM

Two Grand Forks properties added to historic register

More than 80 years after their foundations were laid in Grand Forks, two properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

By: Brandi Jewett, Grand Forks Herald

More than 80 years after their foundations were laid in Grand Forks, two properties have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Both built in the late 1920s, the Skarsbo apartments and the Hariman Sanatorium were accepted into the register on Aug. 27 and 28 respectively.

The properties were nominated for the register at a local level last summer by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The Skarsbo buildings still function as residences, but the Hariman Sanatorium has since been converted into apartments.

First in nation

While it currently houses apartments, the Hariman Sanatorium began its life a as chiropractic hospital.

It was the first building in the nation constructed for the specific purpose of being a chiropractic hospital, according the commission’s coordinator, Peg O’Leary.

“There were others before it but those were converted from existing buildings,” O’Leary said. “It’s an extraordinary building for its time.”

Designed by chiropractor George Hariman, the three-story building opened in 1928 at its current location of 2002 University Ave.

According to O’Leary, the building almost didn’t open.

“There was a lot of animosity from the standard medical community,” O’Leary said. Chiropractic was and is still considered a type of alternative medicine.

While they weren’t successful in having Hariman’s building permit revoked, opponents did succeed in persuading the bank financing the project to cancel his loan.

Losing that loan halted construction briefly, but Hariman secured another directly from his builder and construction continued, according to O’Leary.

Hariman died in 1977, leaving behind his wife Emma Hariman and their son Donald. Donald Hariman joined the sanatorium as a chiropractor in 1950 and ran it with his mother until 1981, when the practice closed and the building was sold to UND.

A private developer purchased the building from the university in 1999 and converted into four apartments in 2000.

Historic pair

Located a mile to the northeast of the Hariman Sanatorium are the Skarsbo apartments.

Built in 1928, the pair of brick apartment buildings — known individually as the Ambassador and President apartments — and their caretaker cottage are at 204 and 210 N. Sixth St.

O’Leary said their architecture is much more elaborate than other buildings built around the same time.

“There is a lot of detail in brick,” she said, noting the Ambassador building in particular has a special type of brick featuring a speckled appearance.

The pair’s construction as freestanding buildings also makes them special, according to O’Leary, who said many apartments from that time were built over downtown businesses.

The apartments of the Skarsbo complex were meant as starter homes where families stayed until they could afford to build homes of their own, she said.

“Today we see them as charming one-bedroom apartments,” O’Leary said. “Most wouldn’t think you could have a five-person family living in them. But they did.”

About 720 properties in Grand Forks are on the National Register of Historic Places.