The Remains of a Red River Prohibition Bridge

During a bike ride with my family one summer, we ran across a historical marker along the Moorhead Red River bike path that told the story of Fargo’s connection to Moorhead Saloons during the prohibition era, saloons which were clustered around bridges on the Moorhead side of the river. ┬áThis historical marker has the photo shown below, and the accompanying text.

Moorhead’s saloons, many built on piers cantilevering out over the River, were clustered around the River’s bridges to be as close as possible to their North Dakota customers.. This photo looks over the Red River to the east from the top of the Case Plaza building in Fargo. Note the old North Bridge and Billy Diemert’s salon built on piers along the steep river bank. This marker is near the rear of Diemert’s former location.

In 1889, North Dakota entered the Union as a dry state. The state Constitution required all saloons to close in June 30, 1890. Soon after, thirsty North Dakotans flocked acros the river to drink in Minnesota. By 1900 Moorhead was home to 45 saloons and 3700 citizens.

Moorhead’s saloon business boomed until 1915 when Clay County finally went dry. Today, except for lingering rumors or bawdy houses and connecting tunnels, all that remains is the occasional broken bottle eroding from the river bank.

Photo courtesy of Flaten/Wange Collection, Clay County Historical Society

The photo below was taken from approximately where Diemert’s is shown in the photo above (the spot where American Crystal Sugar’s corporate headquarters is today), looking toward the bridge. All that remains is the old footing.

Troy Larson is the President of Sonic Tremor Media LLC and Founder of

6 thoughts on “The Remains of a Red River Prohibition Bridge

  1. Awesome post. I haven’t lived in FM area since 1979, but I know this spot in river from fishing on the red. Kind of funny, but MN allowed 18 yr olds to drink in the 70’s so of course being from Fargo this meant many an “adventure” in my misspent youth.

  2. Since I am Billy Diemert born in 1951 from Edgeley, ND. , I found this article very interesting and fun. I never knew this history.

  3. I enjoyed reading this post on North Dakota’s history! I did not know we entered the Union as a dry state. Thanks for writing!

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