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Fargo surgeon to be featured on HGTV's 'House Hunters'

The historic Hector House at 1103 Broadway is one of three homes Fargo surgeon Mary Aaland considers buying on next Tuesday's "House Hunters" on Home and Garden Television. David Samson / The Forum

A Fargo surgeon and her search for a home will be featured on an upcoming episode of "House Hunters."

Set to air at 9 p.m. Tuesday on Home and Garden Television, the episode will follow Mary Aaland as she looks for a place to live in the downtown Fargo area.

The episode was filmed in April, and the show's crew returned to Fargo in July to follow up on the progress of the new home, which is unveiled at the end of the episode.

Aaland, a former Fargo resident, decided to return to town to be close to family after serving as head of trauma surgery at a hospital in Fort Wayne, Mich.

After nearly 30 years of being away, "I just decided that it was time to come home," she said.

Now employed as a trauma surgeon at the Broadway Sanford Clinic, Aaland said she wanted to live close to work.

"Downtown fit those requirements where she could get to the hospital quickly," said Richard Schmidt, one of the show's producers.

While searching with her sister and her Realtor, Schmidt said Aaland was surprised how much downtown Fargo had changed since the last time she visited town.

"She was very impressed with the quality of life down there," he said.

Her lifestyle also played a role in her decision. While living in Fort Wayne, Aaland often had local children or families over to her house.

"I love to entertain," Aaland said. "That was a big thing for me to consider."

"She wasn't sure whether she wanted to keep that lifestyle or whether she wanted to downsize," Schmidt added. "She had to really figure out what she wanted."

The episode will feature Aaland's three main choices - loft apartments located at 12 Broadway, a house at 1302 9th St. N. and the historic Hector House at 1103 Broadway. The Hector House, at least, has a history of playing host.

Built by Martin Hector (also the namesake of Hector International Airport in Fargo), the house was constructed in 1893, according to Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, a columnist for The Forum who spent her childhood there. Her parents purchased the house in 1945 for $7,500, and lived there until 1975.

The house has six bedrooms and three floors. Halgrimson remembered the dining room table being large enough to sit 22 people comfortably.

With a fireplace and mahogany paneling, the dining room in particular is "stunning and beautiful," Halgrimson said.

"It was a wonderful, wonderful house to grow up in," she added.

Her parents were heavily involved in the Fargo community, and Halgrimson recalled how the house was frequently visited by important people like John F. Kennedy, who had dinner at the house in 1960 when he was in town for a Quentin Burdick political rally.

The process of being on the show, and being able to share her house-hunting experience, was a great opportunity, Aaland said.

To be featured on "House Hunters," home buyers must fill out an application on the website of Pie Town Productions, the show's production company.

Aaland said she's excited to see the episode when it airs.

"Being on national TV under these circumstances, it's going to be fun to see how it all comes out," she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535