Fargo Street and its namesake beach are named for James C. Fargo, an active North Side real-estate developer. Born in Watervale, New York, at age 15, Fargo entered the business office of his brother, William G. Fargo, who ran an express-mail delivery service between Buffalo and Albany, New York, and another between Buffalo and Detroit, Michigan.
James Fargo moved west to run the Wells & Co. office in Detroit in 1847. In 1855, Fargo came to the Chicago office of the reorganized firm, by then called the American EYpress Company. In the meantime, William Fargo and his partner, Henry Wells, founded Wells, Fargo & Company to handle the banking and express needs of California Gold Rush entrepreneurs.
In 1867, Fargo returned to New York to become the general manager of American Express, but he never relinquished his Chicago ties.
Fargo Beach Park is one of 18 street-end beaches acquired by the Chicago Park District from the City of Chicago in 1959. By that time, the city's Bureau of Parks and Recreation had been operating these small municipal beaches since at least 1921.
Many of these beaches were located in the Rogers Park neighborhood, where a growing population of apartment dwellers lacked easy access to recreational opportunities. In contrast to the city's larger municipal beaches, the street-end beaches, though staffed by lifeguards, had no changing rooms or other facilities.