It was an intrepid group of religious liberals, many of them transplanted New Englanders, who first organized this congregation. William Ballou came to Fargo in 1889, and began giving a series of public lectures on art, literature, philosophy and religion to a receptive audience hungry for intellectual stimulation.
He gathered around him a number of leaders in the young Fargo community, starting in June of 1889. In late November, 1889, F.H. Irons, W.A. Scott, and A.E. Nugent met at the latter's office and agreed to bear the current expense for Sunday meetings, and to canvass the prospects for forming a stable organization which would be called the Unitarian Society. In December 1889, a temporary organization was created. By February, 1890, the church was incorporated. On December 20, 1891, William Ballou was ordained as the first minister.
During early 1892, Mrs. O.J. deLendrecie and Mrs. A.E. Nugent began raising funds for the purchase of two corner lots at Ninth Street and Second Avenue South. The building cost $5,000.00, and the first sermon was preached in it on December 11, 1892.
The church was in constant use for lectures, concerts, study club work, etc., as well as for the religious services of the society.
A series of unfortunate events ended that first Unitarian Church. It was not until 1952 that a group comprised mostly humanist faculty members from area colleges and universities joined together to create the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fargo Moorhead.