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Fessenden, North Dakota
Night view of Fessenden
Night view of Fessenden
"Proud Of Our Past Excited About Our Future..."
Location of Fessenden, North Dakota
Location of Fessenden, North Dakota
Country United States
State North Dakota
County Wells
 • Total 0.44 sq mi (1.14 km2)
 • Land 0.44 sq mi (1.14 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,611 ft (491 m)
 • Total 462
 • Density 981.86/sq mi (378.89/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 701
FIPS code 38-26180
GNIS feature ID 1028952

Fessenden is a town in, and the county seat of, Wells County, North Dakota, United States. It was founded in 1893 and is home of the Wells County Fair. The population was 462 at the 2020 census.


Fessenden was founded in 1893 with the arrival of the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad into the area. In 1894, the county seat was transferred to Fessenden from Sykeston, North Dakota. It was named for ex-Surveyor General Fessenden, who had surveyed the county.

Fessenden Auditorium building on Main Ave. between Railway Street South and 1 Street South has collapsed on July 3, 2007. On April 16, 2009 there was a fire that destroyed a bar, bowling alley, and a cafe, as well as doing some damage to the medical center in Fessenden. Fessenden celebrated its centenennial in July 1993.


Fessenden is located at 47°38′59″N 99°37′34″W / 47.64972°N 99.62611°W / 47.64972; -99.62611 (47.649667, -99.626142).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.45 square miles (1.17 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 713
1920 731 2.5%
1930 738 1.0%
1940 902 22.2%
1950 917 1.7%
1960 920 0.3%
1970 815 −11.4%
1980 761 −6.6%
1990 655 −13.9%
2000 625 −4.6%
2010 479 −23.4%
2020 462 −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 479 people, 236 households, and 138 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,064.4 inhabitants per square mile (411.0/km2). There were 289 housing units at an average density of 642.2 per square mile (248.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.7% White, 0.2% African American, 0.2% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races.

There were 236 households, of which 17.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.5% were non-families. 37.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 20.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.03 and the average family size was 2.62.

The median age in the city was 52.7 years. 17.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 15.7% were from 25 to 44; 32.3% were from 45 to 64; and 30.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.1% male and 49.9% female.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Fessenden has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

Notable people

  • C. A. Bottolfsen, 17th and 19th Governor of Idaho; raised in Fessenden
  • Otto Krueger, served as North Dakota State Treasurer, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner and U.S. Representative during the 1940s and 1950s
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