arena-feature

Arena, ND

Burleigh County
Vacant as of 5/04

Arena was founded with a rural post office January 23rd, 1906. It is said to have had a peak population of 150 around 1920, but had withered to 35 residents by 1930.

It is now abandoned.

arena-schoolThe photo shown left is the former Arena School, photo contributed by Stephen Berg. As of our visit in 2004, the school was gone. This was the only photo we’d been able to locate of the school for quite some time, but in summer of 2011, Dale Fisher contributed a few shots of Arena in 1992.

Although there aren’t any residents in the immediate vicinity of the town, there is a yellow house on the townsite which had blankets hanging in the windows, suggesting someone used it for something relatively recently.

Marlon Leno commented at the bottom of our Arena in 1992 entry, and filled-in quite a few of the details.  Marlon said his grandparents lived in the yellow house as late as 1981, and that his cousin, George Pehl, demolished the school when it became a hazard.  Mr. Leno also informed us of the name of the church – St. Johns Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod.

The road leading south out of Arena is a short, scenic drive, bordered tightly on both shoulders by a couple of small lakes.

**Source Material – North Dakota Place Names – Douglas Wick

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Comments
19 Responses to “Arena, ND”
  1. Marc says:

    Great site! Back around 1979, my aunt, uncle and my 3 cousins moved to Arena, I forget why, but they were only there a short time. They were the only familyin town, and if I recall correctly, they lived in the yellow house. We went to visit them once and I had a ball- a ghost town is a great place for a 10-year-old to explore. We went into the old school, it was full of papers and books from the 1950′s, also we played in that railroad car. There was also a general store sort of building with a vintage glass-topped gas pump, but it eventually burned down.

    • Mike says:

      Did it burn back in 95? I remember going through here from time to time. Wasn’t there a post office in the general store too?

      • Kelsey says:

        Was there some kind of fire in Arena in 95? I know the smaller house near the road has some fire damage, but I assumed it was a small indoor fire because the outside seemed minimally damaged.

      • K says:

        My grandmother owned the Arena Store and was the postmaster there. It did not eventually burn down, it was broken into, burglarized and torched by the people that broke in.

  2. Stacey says:

    I am surprised to not see Langedahl, ND on here. We used to go there as kids not much left now, I would guess.

    • Mark J says:

      Stacey–need more info–where was Langedahl? What year(s) when you went there as kids?

      • Rick Novy says:

        Not sure if this is useful, but there is a cemetery referred to by my Father In Law as the Langedahl Cemetery but also listed as Skudesness Lutheran Cemetery. It is east of the Arena town sight.
        This cemetery is just east of the county line between Burleigh and Kidder Counties. It is in Kidder County. To find this cemetery, travel two miles west of Tuttle on Highway 36. Turn left (south) on 22nd Avenue (a gravel road). Travel south for six miles, turn left (east) on 25th Street, SE. Travel one mile, turn right (south). Travel south about ½ mile, cemetery is on the left. At the time of our visit, there were power lines running east and west just north of the cemetery and there is a white frame building near the road. Cemetery is barely visible behind the building.
        Some of the names in the cemetery are Landedahl.

      • Richard prince says:

        I believe that the Langedahl townsite is located at the following coordinates. 47° 2’37.95″N, 100° 0’28.30″W.

        I found an old map online that shows the location of the post office.

        Hope this helps.

        All the best, Rik

  3. jimmyboi2 says:

    My buddy’s family named Arena– apparently the story is that some sons of the family used to brawl there all the time … so they named it Arena, as in a boxing / wrestling Arena.

    He had family in Bluegrass.

  4. Matt Rothchild says:

    Marc,

    I visited Arena in December 2008 and explored several buildings, including the yellow house. I found pages from the Bismarck Tribune from 1979 on the steps leading into the basement. Lots of furniture left behind in the house too.

  5. Kathy F says:

    I just would like to know why some many town turn to ghost towns. Is it that there no work?

  6. Matt Rothchild says:

    It is economics, yes. Many of these small farming towns that were economically sustainable at one time were rendered economically impractical because of many policy decisions made in Washington, D.C. For example, when the Interstate Highway System was built, it made travel by four rubber tires artificially cheap. So did all the subsidies to the airlines. All of this undercut the railroads, which were the reason these towns existed in the first place. It no longer made economic sense for the trains to come to towns like Arena, and so those towns eventually withered and died.

  7. Bosch says:

    Hi, I am A Senior in North Dakota doing a project on ghost towns and I picked Arena because it looks interesting, and was wondering if anyone knows anyone people that would have information or even pictures of the town when it was booming

  8. Wischnak says:

    Hello nice people, I am A Senior in North Dakota doing a project on ghost towns and I picked wheelock because it is interesting, and was wondering if anyone knows anyone people that would have information or even pictures of the town when it was booming! please help

  9. I really like the before and after views!
    We took a trip up there today – great little ghost town!

  10. Jaysen says:

    If anyone knows who owns the property in Arena, I would appreciate them passing it on. Thanks!

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  1. […] the photo above, we can see a small home which was not standing when we visited in 2004. The church still stands, as does the yellow house behind the two pine trees. But there was no […]



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