Omemee, North Dakota

Omemee, ND

Bottineau County
Vacant as of 10/04

Photos contributed by Mark Johnson and Tom Tolman

Omemee, ND is in Bottineau County about 10 miles SE of Bottineau, ND, yet another railroad town which has vanished from the prairie.

The building pictured below is the only building left of any significance.  We’ve heard it referred to as the “Superintendent’s house.”  Check out the Now and Then animation here.

Omemee was a thriving town of 650 people in 1906, conveniently situated at the junction of the Great Northern and Soo Lines. It is now empty.

US Census Data for Omemee
Total Population by Place

1960 – 11
1970 – 5
1980 – 10
2000 – Did Not Appear

Tom Tolman of Fargo first contacted us to alert us to a situation in Omemee. It seems a land broker in another state has purchased most of the lots in the old Omemee townsite and is selling them on Ebay for $500 a pop.

Problem is, the lots aren’t worth more than $30. Furthermore, the ads selling these lots on Ebay give a misleading impression of what you’re buying. The ads portray a very vacation/resort kind of rugged North Dakota setting, but in reality, Omemee is just a lonely spot on the plains.

So if you’re shopping for land, beware.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Comments
51 Responses to “Omemee, ND”
  1. Mark Vollmer says:

    The brick house was known as the “superintendent’s house” – The high school was located to the southwest of the house. The rock foundation was part of a large barn that was near the school.

    Not much left of Omemee – my great-grandfather John Daniel Vollmer ran a livery barn there for many years.

    Omemee was a scottish settlement – - Omemee even had it’s own soda factory – Chris Rasmusson was the last owner – it closed in the early 70′s. No residents live there now.

    • Ardell Willard Grimm says:

      Chris Rasmusson was not only the last owner of the pop factory, he was the only owner. It was my understanding he learned his trade before coming to the US from Holland.
      The last house was originally (again, as I understood it) home to someone with something to do with the railroad. The high school that was located near by had been a hotel. It burned somewhere around 1952 but wasn’t being used for anything. I’m not sure why they kept the heat going. My dad was school janitor at the time.
      The other building was a gas station at one time. The store & post office were across the street. I guess it was also a bar for a short time after the gas station closed.
      I lived in Omemee until I married in 1957, which is the year I graduated. We were bussed to Bottineau for high school starting in 1951 (again I’m not sure of year). Since we lived in the country closer to Omemee than Gardena, where we attended the Methodist church, we went to elementary & junior high in Omemee which is where we moved to when I was a 2nd grader. The only church in town was the Presbyterian.

      • Jan says:

        greetings,
        I came across your comments of Omemee. My brother remembers the delicious pop, but can’t recall
        the name.
        Do you know the name?

        Take care, Jan Myhre

      • Candace Lowe says:

        Hello, Chris is my great grandfather, he came from Denmark ;)

    • joy kippen sanders says:

      It was great to see the familiar photos reminding me of Omemee as it was long ago! It was even better to read the responses of families touched by this close community.

      Hi Jacy–I remember babysitting with you and Gaye on several Saturdays and what cute kids you were! After Max Ebenhahn closed the store and moved, for several winters community dances were held in the store building. What fun it was dancing around the mirrored columns.

      During WW II, we high school kids were sure that Omemee would have blackouts as other major cities and factories did. We knew our Omemee Bottling Works ranked among other cities and was a prime target for the enemy. Nothing tasted as good as Chris Rasmussen’s orange pop!

      Richard Schultz, you must be Dickie, who was in my Bible School class in the early 40′s. I have a picture of you and Gaye Getzlaff. Many years later how delighted my kids were when they saw Grace at the Post Office and store and received popsicles, She was a special friend they looked forward to seeing when they returned to Omemee.

      Who in Bottineau County and the surrounding area, does not remember the Guttu family?
      Five of the boys were outstaning basketball players, Mavin, Lloyd, Howard, Vernin and
      La Verne. They made Omemee proud!! Lorraine, youngest of the ten Guttu children, was a cheerleader for her brothers and a terrific softball player.

      I lived one mile east of Omemee where my brother, Charles and Helen Kippen continue to farm.

    • Cathy Zabel says:

      The ‘superintendent’s house’ was purchased (from ??) by Leon & June (Batie) Ebenhahn when they married in 1928. They sold the home for a couple of years as they moved to Nebraska when Leon was offered a job with JC Penney. June Batie Ebenhahn was born and grew up in Omemee as did Leon, son of Max Ebenhahn. She was the oldest fo 7 children born to the banker Adam Batie of the First Bank of Omemee. After graduating from Omemee HS, both Leon and June attended the University of ND but return to Omemee after graduation, marrying in 1928. Leon worked in his father store and June began teaching at Omemee HS (she was only 18). Before June’s death in 2010, I showed Aunt June photos I had taken (2006) of the brick house in Omemee. She quickly picked out the book shelves she had added to the livingroom (left side of the house) when they moved in. I have a request to anyone who might be able to help…..Are there any copies of the Omemee HS graduating class of 1936? My mother, Marian Batie, was in that class. Her twin brother, Morris Batie, graduated in 1937, I think. Anyone have photos that they would share?
      Thank You… Cathy Zabel

  2. Shirlee Lee says:

    My mom grew up in Omemee, North Dakota-one of 10 children-the last name was Guttu if you ever see any history on it. I grew up in Ambrose, North Dakota (thats what I use for email) and I miss the state so much-it is one of the most beautiful states just because of its serenity, among other
    things.

    • Richard Schultz says:

      I lived across the street from the Guttu’s in the late 30′s and early 40′s
      I would bet your mother is Stella

      • Shirlee Anderson Lee says:

        Yes, you are right-my mom is Stella. I think I remember her talking about the Schultz family.

      • Sue Guttu-Sawyer says:

        Hi Richard…I am Marvin Guttu’s daughter. I live in Tacoma, WA which is where my dad lived the rest of his life after leaving ND. He passed away 5 yrs ago….in 2002 we were able to make a trip back there, I never saw my Dad smile so much as he did those days there….

      • Jacelyn (Jacy) Simonski says:

        I have seen your name on Classmates, Dick. I had some communication with Odell Krohn last year about the possibility of a class of 1950 reunion, that being our 60th year. He hoped to have it in Fargo but there were not enough able to come there so the idea was abandoned.
        I live in Portland, Oregon now and haven’t been back since the early 1990′s. I wrote a little more to Chris Rasmussen’s grandson; see below.

    • Cathy Zabel says:

      My mother, Marian Batie, was born and raised in Omemee. As she told me about her childhood there, she frequently spoke of the Guttu family. I think they must have been neighbors with your Guttu Family and the children about the same age (b. 1908 – 1919). I am hoping to find someone with photos of Omemee and school class photos. My mother was in the HS class of 1936, her twin brother, Morris was in the class of 1937, I think. Any info is truly appreciated. Cathy

  3. Dave D says:

    When was Omemee finally abandoned? I had gone through the area once on a lark (I’m a former North Dakotan myself; family owned a cabin up at Lake Metigoshe for 50 years). My interest is photography of old / interesting power lines, and when I came around to Omemee, I saw the power company had pulled the transformer out of the substation (and one of the smallest subs I’ve seen on this company’s system) and off the one power line into town and left the rest to the elements… I did find in some research that the residents of Omemee were asking about having Otter Tail Power wire up the town for electricity back in 1927.

    • Stacy says:

      The town was finally totally abandoned in June 2003 when my father-, the last resident of the town, passed away.

  4. dustin squitieri says:

    chris rasmussen was my great grandfather. he was from denmark and did run the soda factory for many years. he lived beside the railroad tracks and his house remained vacant for about 8 years. it was burned down around 1992 or 1993. does anyone have any old pics from omemee?

    • Mark J says:

      Go to digitalhorizonsonline.org and search for Omemee, you can see a couple there.

    • Jacelyn (Jacy) Simonski says:

      My name is Jacelyn (Getzlaff) Simonski and I grew up on a farm 2 miles east of Omemee but moved away after I graduated from high school in Bottineau in 1950. My dad was Griff Getzlaff and farmed there until 1950 or so. I was last in Omemee sometime in the 1980′s, I believe, and in driving around looking at the house where my best friend, Janice Knopfle, lived which by then was being used as a barn with hay falling out of the upstairs window. I drove past Chris Rasmussen’s house and knocked on his door and believe it or not he answered. I told him how I remembered drinking the grape pop from his pop factory at lunch time as I stood getting warm over the big floor grate in the general store on the corner. The store had been torn down or possibly burned, but had been built by my grandfather, Max Ebenhahn, and operated by him from the early 1900′s until his death in 1936. After his death my uncle, also Max Ebenhahn ran the store for several years before moving to Sheyenne, ND to open another store.
      In talking to Chris I asked him if he had anything at all left from his pop factory and he showed me a battered blue wooden pop case with the lettering ” Omemee Bottling Works, Omemee, N.D.” on it. I asked him if I could please buy it from him but he would have nothing of that and said he wanted me to have it. I still have it as one of my fond memories of growing up in a place where you know everyone you meet on the street, where people really know one another and help each other, or just stop by unannounced for a cup of coffee or a visit.
      I live in Portland, Oregon now but have lived in various places throughout the US after leaving ND. I have a lot of history of Omemee and began to write about my life there several years ago. Maybe now is the time to finish that.

      • Hi Jacy..Iris Senechal Wolvert here..I think the name of the Pop Jan was inquiring about was Cream Soda…don,t know if my message was picked up on here but I did write a short version of the time I lived in Omemee..that was in 43 and I was eight..during the war years and your Dad took Gaye and I in the Air plane .I think that was later..Can,t remember if that was after we moved to the farm by Willow..I,m on FB..Love Iris

      • Candace Lowe says:

        Hello, my name is Candace, I am Chris Rasmussen’s great-grand daughter, I have been working on some family history after my Grandmother passed away, Isabel Lowe (Rasmussen). Would you mind emailing me a photo of the case that my grandfather had given to you. We had gone out to Omemee a few summers when I was younger. It was fun staying in the house that he owned and my grandmother would show us all of the spots where buildings used to be, etc. my email is c_lowe@live.com, I would be more than greatful ;)

    • Stacy says:

      Dustin,
      I knew your great grandfather Chris when I was a kid. He was a very nice man. I lived 2 houses in front of him. I was maybe 7 years old when he passed away. I used to put flowers on his grave all summer long until I moved when I was 15. I am sorry I don’t really have any pictures to share with you.

    • Candace Lowe says:

      Hi Dustin, I do believe we are related, Cris is my Great Grandfather as well! Please email me! We have lots to talk about! c_lowe@live.com

  5. Della McFarlane Moore says:

    Hi. It sure is good to hear memories of Omemee. My father was “Scotty” Clarence McFarlane and I remember visiting my Aunt Janet Dutcher there when I was very young. I think she must have lived really close to the POP factory as I remember walked across an alley or street to get the pop. There is nothing left of Omemee but I still remember little things. Like just before Memorial Day all the families would get together and clean the cemetary and we would have dinner together. I think at the school. I am going to go by there when I come back this summer with my granddaughter. I now live in Ne but sure do get homesick for ND sometimes.

  6. Arlyss Tagestad says:

    I wish I would have found this site before Mom, Dorothy Elliott Gagner, passed away. She would have had many memories to share. I recognize lots of name that she spoke of when thinking back to Omemee days!

  7. Tim Brannan says:

    Hi. My grandmother was born to George and Hope Mangold in Omemee. My great-grandfather George was a blacksmith in town. I believe my grandmother was born in 1919 and had a brother a few years older. They ended up in Phoenix AZ but not sure if they went straight from ND to AZ.

  8. Tim Brannan says:

    i know my grandmother had photos of her days in Omemee, so i will go through her old boxes and post any that i find.

  9. John Kippen says:

    What fond memories of the town we all have. Chris Rasmussen was quite a man. As kids we would show up at his house with our nickels and buy a bottle of the world famous Omemee Pop. The hardest choice was what flavor. The Pop Factory was immaculate and sparkling clean with the blue cases stacked along the wall. For a dollar you could buy a case of pop and mix and match your favorite flavors what a thrill. I was one of the last students to go to school in Omemee. The school closed in the spring of 65 and we went to Botno after that. I think in the end we had about 16 students left in the 8 grades, with two teachers for the 8 grades. Mrs Egge and Mrs Wall were the teachers. The store burned in the early 60′s and after that the Post Office was in Grace and Eric Shcultz’s house until

  10. Oh how I have loved seeing the pictures and hearing all the replies!!!! Jacy, as you know, Gaye and I were close friends (I still have the last letter she wrote from Calif.) I’m on both Facebook and AOL. – would love to hear from you. Iris, I also remembering playing in that airplane but had forgotten about it until you mentioned it. I also was a close friend of Mitzi Rasmussen. We both lived in Washington state, I in Tacoma and she in a nearby town. Her husband notified me a couple years ago of her death. In 1999, a group of we Omemee friends had an “Omemee” breakfast in Renton. Present were the Christensen girls, Ruthie Fraser, Mitzi R. and seems a couple more. Most are now gone but was sure fun. Our home in Omemee was sold and moved to the Dunseith area and my Mother told me, it burned. Strange, I thought the Rasmussens were Danish. I don’t know how many times, as I traveled, and when I’d mentioned growing up in the Omemee area, that people from other towns would tell me how they remember pop (as we called it-some now refer to it as sodas) from the Omemee Bottleing Works. I also remember Mrs. Dutcher as our cook for the last hot lunch program we had at the Omemee schools. She lived accross the street (I guess we called it a street) from the Rasmussen house. Dick S., your Mother was the last post mistress of Omemee and a good friend to my Mother, especially after they both had moved to Bottineau. Your Dad took me to the Minot airport after my Fathers’ death. So my best greetings to all you Omemeeites!!! Yvonne (Willard) Begeman

    • Gary McFarlane says:

      All, this is a little scary! So many people coming together over all these years about a little town that doesn’t even exist anymore. I’m sitting here with my sister, Della McFarlane Moore, reminiscing about all our old memories. We spent many summers helping clean the cemetery, having such wonderufl lunches at the school while we worked, visiting our Aunt Janet (Dutcher), and driniking Omemee’s “FAMOUS” POP!!! We lived in Rolette during those years and Mrs. Dutcher was our Dad’s sister. We have some photos of her from the nursing home she lived at in Bottineau during her later years. We found the cemetery, the Kippen farm and the “city” on Google maps. Does anyone know which of the remaining identifiable buildings are which? We can see three inside the “loop” of streets where the three grain bins are, one (a pretty well defined square builiding) to the east of the railroad tracks and two blocks north of :89th ST NE) and another . Where was the school? We remember the HUGE front steps and the marvelous buns we had for lunch.

      • Mark J says:

        Gary – the building on the east side of the tracks is the “Superintendent’s House” as it’s been referred to here. Inside the loop as you called it – are where the stone buildings were. The one with the roof I think is the furthest north, and the stone wall is closer to the street at the south. The smaller shack type building I think is on the east side of the tracks north of 89th, and below what appears to be a rock pile. Last time I was there was in Fall of 2010.

  11. Tim Brannan says:

    Hi – anyone know how I can post some of my family photos of old omemee here (or somewhere) for you all to see? Thx. Tim

  12. DL says:

    Just stopped in to say my mother was born in Omemme. Years and years ago before she passed, she told me the only thing left there was a/the root seller to the house she once lived in. I took it to mean that was all that was left of the town. I guess there is more left than she knew.

    My aunt Alice, my mother’s sister, owned and operated a jewelry store in Bottineau for many many years. O. S. Lien’s Jewelry. Not to mention the fact her brother Louie ran a butcher shop in Kenmare.

    FYI: To those wanting to post your pics, if you read closer, the site is put up by someone that only posts what THEY have taken for pics. No one else can post pics. BUMMER!

    DL

    • Matthew J says:

      Alice was the second wife of Ole (Ollie) Lien, I’m related to his first wife Julia. He had a jewelry store in Omemee fom 1903 until sometime in the mid 1920s when he moved to the business to Bottineau, I would assume that was about the time he married your aunt?

  13. Mary Meyer Lavachek says:

    Hi, I grew up in Omemee and spend many fun days and nights with the Rasmussens. Karen was my classmate and I have lost track of her. I used to love their house as they had a pot belly stove and a pump in kitchen sink to get water. Funny what things you recall. They were wonderful people. We went through 8th grade there and were cheerleaders for the OMEMEE CHIEFTANS oh what fun in our little gym with our red and white outfits. We lived just east of the tracks in a brick house and then moved to the country. My parents were Bob and Randy (EGGE) Meyer, grandparents Andrew and Hilda Egge. I have many many good memories. Dad passed away many years ago and my mom at 94 yrs old in 2009. She would have loved reading all these notes. And yes the orange pop was the best. Anyone knows where Karen lives let me know. Would love to visit with her.

  14. Ron Bergman says:

    Mary Meyer, the house where you lived is where our Mother, Elizabeth Fraser Bergman, was born. I picked some of the bricks from that falling down house and built a short sidewalk for her in her later years.
    The famous Rasmussen Pop Factory had a secret ingredient, the water. According to Charles Kippen, that water came from the Krohn farm north of the Omemee cemetery. Our Grandmother, Christine Krohn Bergman came from Germany when she was 16 and lived on that farm for a couple years.

    A year ago a friend brought me a piece of pottery that had “Ebenhaun” store name in it. I gave it to my Great Aunt “Sookie Fraser”

    Ron Bergman

  15. Karen Welin Charnholm says:

    A couple years ago, I compiled a book on the Omemee Cemetery. Beside the picture of every headstone is a short bio on the person buried there. If you have a relative buried there and see any corrections I need to make in the book, please let me know. You can click on the following to see the complete book. The books can also be purchased at the Spectrum store on Main Street in Bottineau. /Users/jamescharnholm/Desktop/Complete Book .pdf

  16. Ellen (WElin) Morton says:

    I am Ellen (Welin) Morton and grew up on a farm 2 miles north of Omemee. I attended the grade school (by the depot) for 8 years before high school in Bottineau. I don’t recognize any of the buildings except one that might have been the gas station across from the McDougal store- later owned by Eric and Grace Schultz.

    After reading everyone else’s comments- I am amazed how many remember the pop factory. I wonder if Chris Rasmussen ever realized what a wide influence he has had in the whole community. I still go back to Bottineau for class reunions and still hear people there talk about the Omemee pop factory- it was the only pop sold at most baskerball games.

    To the Rasmussen descendants, I do remember Isabel and, Mitzi, slightly, but more so Doris who was my Sunday school teacher at the Presbyterian church, and of course Karen who was a grade below me in school. My sister Karen and I used to visit her often. Once we even walked the railroad tracks from our farm down to her house to visit, and of course get some pop….

    To the Willard girls: I slightly remember you because you were friends with my cousins Donna and Peggy Davidson. I remember better your father Roy who was the janitor at the grade school for as long as I can remember. Two things I remember in particular about him was how kind he was to me when I broke a window in the gym trying to throw a ball over it during a game, and the other was about how he caught snakes in the basement of the school and stored them in large containers to show all who wanted to see them. Once was enough for me.

    My parents Victor and Norma Welin visited Janet Dutcher, and we also got drinking water from the Guttu place as our farm water was undrinkable. I remember the Ebenhahn store, but mostly the MacIntoshes who ran it as a ?meat packing plant? Grace and Eric Shultz were good friends of my folks even after they moved into Bottineau. I spent many a nickel at their store and post office before it burned down. I remember the McDougal’s who owned the store first and how there was always a bagpipe displayed in the front window- probably belonging to Bruce’s dad.

    The railroad tracks and depot were a treat to our family as all our aunts who lived out west traveled by train to visit us. I always think it was such a shame that the Soo line was the cause of the fall of Omemee when it brought such joy to our family.

  17. Scott Schultz says:

    Hello! My name is Scott Schultz and my Grandparents were Grace and Erik Schultz. I loved coming to Omemee and hleping Grandma with the Post Office and riding Grandpa’s hourses. My brother Kirby, learned to drive in Omemee. Going around my granparents home over and over again. I think I can speak for all of my cousins that Omemee was a magical place for all of us to visit!!

  18. Karen says:

    If these lots are being sold on eBay, it may be the best deal around… if it includes the mineral rights

  19. Tim Brannan says:

    Just posted some old Omemee photos on Ghosts of North Dakota Facebook page. Thx, Tim

  20. i went to school in omemee 1953 we went by bus to bottinea bus driver was bill schultz all thro grade school jim clayton ardell and me

  21. norma wellin says:

    Jacy,
    This is Norma (Wright) Welin and when I lived in Willow City, my second grade teacher was your Mom …Marcie Ebenhaun. She married Griff Gezlaff and when she had you, my best friend Esther Boen and I went up to see you at your grandma’s house. I also knew your Dad and his 3 sisters. When I am next in Portland visiting my daughter- Rae Waterman- I will try to contact you and we can have coffee. Let me know how we can get in touch.
    I married Victor Welin and moved to Omemee in 1943. I remember you and your sister going to school in Omemee also.

  22. Cathy Zabel says:

    Hello, Friends of Omemee,
    My mother and all her siblings were born and grew up in Omemee. They were the Adam & Jessie Batie Family born between 1908 (June Batie married Leon Ebenhahn), Jacob Batie, Robson Batie, Harriet Batie (married Paul Wood of Bottineau), Victory Batie & Morris & Marian Batie (twins born 1919). All graduated from Omemee HS. Does anyone have any photos of the graduating classes…especially 1936 or 1937?? I would love to have a copy of my mother’s class (Marian Batie – 1936). My Grandfather Adam Batie (d.1934) is buried n the Omemee Cemetery. He ran the First Omemee Bank from about 1904 until 1930ish.

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  1. [...] Click here to see the main Omemee gallery. [...]

  2. […] and Tom Tolman, who contributed photos of Omemee as it looked around the turn of the millennium.  Those images were all we had ever seen of Omemee until quite recently.  Despite all the time we spend rummaging […]

  3. […] photos were sent in by Cathy Zabel, a collection of things on Omemee, North Dakota, a true ghost town in Bottineau county.  Cathy’s comments are included in italics […]



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