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Source of map: mapquest.com

Cardinal Muench Seminary is located along the Red River on the northeast side of Fargo, North Dakota. Interstate highways I-29 pass about 5 miles to the west and I-94 is about 10 miles to the south.

Driving Directions:

From I-94: Take the exit for I-29 North ("Grand Forks") and continue with the directions below.

From I-29: Take exit #67, the exit for 19th Avenue North. Turn east (toward the city of Fargo and the airport), drive to end of 19th Avenue (approximately 3 miles) and turn left on to Elm Street. Drive to 35th Avenue North (about 1 1/4 miles) and turn right. Drive about 5 blocks. Cardinal Muench Seminary is located on the left.

See Cardinal Muench Seminary from above: TerraServer satellite image.


The seminary buildings, of brown brick construction, were erected in 1965-1966. They are situated on an 80 acre campus in northeast Fargo along the Red River. The river is lined with trees, providing an environment of natural beauty and peace.

The main building is divided into four sections: 1. the chapel; 2. office and faculty residence wing, 3. classrooms and facility services, and 4. the dormitory and recreational areas. The chapel is on the south side of the building and is reached by a breezeway with a slate floor. The offices and faculty wing is on the west end of the building. In the center and extending to the north is the library, classrooms, oratory, dining room, gym, and service and maintenance areas. The student dormitory and recreation area are on the north-east end of the complex.

There are also two inner courtyards, providing places of solitude, -- and protection against the North Dakota wind!

frosty trees


Bitter cold temperatures and dangerous wind chill is common in Fargo during the winter. Anyone living here quickly learns how to survive these harsh conditions.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Fargo was on January 8, 1887, when the air temperature was −48° F. In more recent times, the temperature got down to −36° F on January 30, 2004. On average, the temperature is below freezing on all or part of one half of the days of the year.

The average annual snowfall in Fargo is 41 inches.

Source of historical weather information: NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.

Finals weeks 2006

The Red River

Because Cardinal Muench Seminary is built along the Red River, it must contend with annual spring flooding. The Red River of the North flows north from North Dakota into Canada. Since the ground is still frozen when the spring thaw arrives, the snow melt runs off immediately into the Red and its tributaries. This water encounters a frozen river further to the north.

The picture on the right shows the flooding of 1969. This aerial picture is looking west. The Red River is in the foreground. The recently built Cardinal Muench Seminary (down and to the right of the photo's center) stands alone, as no other homes had yet been constructed in the area. The water can be seen threatening the seminariy's "back door." Also notice the snow and water to the west (the top of the picture).

As part of the effort to combat the record flooding of 1997, a three foot earthen dike was built to protect the seminary to a projected river level of 40 feet (pictures above); because of it, the seminary and the north side of Fargo were spared. On April 17, 1997, the river crested at 39.57 feet. Until that time, the highest recorded level was 40.1 feet on April 7, 1897.

The photo on the right was taken on April 21, 1997. It was taken from the same angle of the 1969 photo, above. Notice how the neighborhood had since been built up around the seminary.

There was near recording flooding again in 2006. At that time the dike was surveyed and found to have settled slightly. It was determined that it would be able protect the property up to a water level of 39.1 feet.

The top picture on the left shows the "high water" mark of 37.18 feet, reached on April 5, 2006 (the seminary dorm is visible on the far left). The river had flooded parts of the property normally a field, as seen in the lower picture, taken 10 days later.

Seminary Chapel