Sanger, North Dakota is located in Oliver County, on the west bank of the Missouri River. It was a true ghost town when we visited in September of 2004, but that would change by 2013.
Sanger was also known as Bentley, ND when it was founded in 1879, named after the town doctor W. Bentley, who was also a member of the territorial legislature. Bentley was considered the county seat until 1884, when the county seat was moved to Center, ND and the town was re-named Sanger, for Henry Sanger, the owner of the townsite.
We received an email from Bob & Caryl Rutten of Bismarck which told of two people who may have been Sanger’s final residents. It read in part:
Sanger was in fact occupied in the late 1970’s (I believe) through the early ’80’s by Linda Whitney and David Christie, two ND visual artists who trained at UND and moved out to Sanger to set up studios. We used to read about them in the Bismarck paper now and then back in the day.
In addition to all the houses in Sanger, there are several empty lots which clearly had homes or buildings at one point. Sanger’s layout is still recognizable with the vacant homes lining what used to be the main streets. Visiting Sanger in person, it’s easy to imagine riding up to the town in a horse & carriage. Unlike many ghost town sites in the state, there seems to be very little tampering and vandalizing of the town site.
See more of our Sanger stuff here.
For years we’d been told this was the former Post Office in Sanger, but the residents we met in 2013 told us it was The County House, a boarding house for travelers in a time when a trip from Minot to Bismarck took several days.
We’ve been looking for old photos or postcards that show Sanger back in the day. If you have any to share, we’ll gladly post them here for everyone to see. Just contact us.
Check out the sweet old appliances.
We’re told this house was moved from somewhere else and placed on this lot in Sanger, but nothing ever came of it. Years later, it was still here.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy