Yerxa Mercantile Store
The Yerxa store was established by Woodford A. Yerxa in 1875. W. A. Yerxa was one of Fargo's pioneers and one of its first mayors. The store was originally called Goodman & Yerxa. Peter P. Goodman was Yerxa's partner until 1882 when the Goodman family moved to Sheldon, Minnesota. Yerxa bought Goodman's interest in the store which became W. A. Yerxa and Company. The store was located in the Union Block at about 520 Front Street.
Thomas E. Yerxa, a brother of W.A. and born February 24, 1851 in New Brunswick, came to Fargo in 1878. He clerked for Goodman & Yerxa for two years and then moved to Pembina to open his own chain of stores. In 1884, Thomas sold his stores, moved back to Fargo, and bought W.A.'s interest in the Fargo store. In about this same time the store was moved to the southwest corner of Broadway and N.P. Avenue. Thomas divided the store into four departments: dry goods, clothing, boots and shoes, and groceries. The store employed 25 people, including Isaac "Ike" Herbst, who worked at the Yerxa store before opening his own store. The store, also known as Yerxa's Wigwam, was spared from the fire of 1893. By this time T. E. Yerxa had moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where he continued to build is company. He left the management of the store to family members.
On June 12, 1897, the neighboring Headquarters Hotel burned down and the land on which the Wigwan stood became prime for redeveolpment. In 1899, the lot on which the store was located was sold to Alex Stern, who demolished the wooden structure, and erected the Edwards Block on the site. At that time, the T. E. Yerxa store moved to the N.P. Block at 4 Broadway, located next to the Northern Pacific Railroad tracks. In the 1910-1911 Fargo city directory, the store name appears to have changed to Yerxa, Skinner Grocery Co., run by the Yerxa Brothers. Sometime between 1913 and 1915 it closed. Thomas E. Yerxa died in March 1916 at Sierra Madra, California.
Fargo and Moorhead City Directory. Fargo, 1881-1927.
City of Fargo and the Great Fire Festival : June 5th, 6th, & 7th, 1901, Souvenir. [Fargo: s.n., 1901]: 13.
Illustrated album of biography of the famous valley of the Red River of the North and the park regions, Chicago, Alden, Ogle & company, 1889, p. 739.