Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo is in Mountrail County, and quite populous compared to most towns you’ll see on this website, but there were a good number of abandoned structures that made for some great photo opportunities.

US Census Data for Palermo
Total Population by Place

1960 – 188
1970 – 146
1980 – 97
2000 – 77
2010 — 74

Palermo was founded in 1901 as a Great Northern Railroad town made up of primarily Norwegian settlers. It’s name was a tribute to the Italians who worked on the area railroads.


Palermo, ND

The school pictured here was built under the Works Progress (later ‘Projects’) Administration program and a site visitor reports it was used until the ’89-’90 school year.

Palermo, ND

The school is an impressive brick and stone building with art deco touches.

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

The small white building pictured here is the former Palermo Firehouse and Jail. There’s a story going around that Palermo welcomed transients and allowed them to use this structure as a place to bed down, but the town later changed their minds and ran off all the vagrants due to fear of vandalism.

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

One of Palermo’s notable former residents would be Miss North Dakota 2001, Michelle Guthmiller.

Palermo, ND

Order Ghosts of North Dakota Books

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

Palermo, ND

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

adjective: abandoned

1. having been deserted or cast off.

verb: abandon

1. cease to support or look after; desert.

2. leave (a place or vehicle) empty or uninhabited, without intending to return.

3. condemn someone or something to (a specified fate) by ceasing to take an interest in or look after them.

25 Responses to “Palermo, ND”
  1. T. R. says:

    Just wanted to leave a correction for you — the Palermo school pictured above was in use until the 1989-90 school year.

  2. Steve says:

    Them are some great pictures of my old home town.I wish I was still there.

  3. Andrea says:

    The old Hotel is now gone…. My mom says they tore it down. Glad you got it before it was gone!

  4. joshua cables says:

    Hey I got the opportunity to go inside of the school there… I just have no way to post up the pictures i had taken of it but it turned out to be a really interesting trip for us… if someone can email me on how to post pictures on the site I would be glad to share.

  5. Curtis Sloan says:

    Palermo High School 1958_1959 would have been in class of1961
    My best to the class of 1961 reuion comming up in 2001

  6. Burton McLean says:

    My dad’s cousin ranched a short period somewhere southwest of Palermo. The only time I was there, we stopped at the school and picked up my three cousins to save them the long bus ride home. This was in the mid-60’s, so half of us kids were still pretty small. But it was still 9 people in a ’59 Ford sedan! Pre-seatbelts… and I’m pretty sure we didn’t have written consent to pick up my cousins!
    As some sort of revenge I suppose, they sent us home with a scrawny cat we named Palermo. No one who holds Palermo the town dear to their heart should be offended though, we kids thought we were bestowing a great honor!

  7. Ed says:

    Palermo is the cats meowww

  8. john polack says:

    It is awesome I’m here now for a couple more weeks then back to California

  9. Kathy C. now P. says:

    I went to school there grades 1-11, then moved to Oregon. The brick school has been vandalized beyond repair. My grandfather put the windows in that school, I believe.

  10. CHRIS C says:

    what year the fire dept close ?

  11. Lisa Stenslie-Budd says:

    They used to have some great street dances in Palermo. I grew up in Stanley and the Palermo were the highlight of our summer.

  12. david w nystuen says:

    My grandfather broke wild horses and sold them to the Indians in the area. My mother was born here in 1912.

  13. dave linnertz says:

    Went to school in Surrey. Played basketball at Palermo. Some times the heating ducts got in the way of your shot. Definitely a home court advantage.

  14. Leslie Stave Sandgren says:

    I LOVE this building and I spent some of the best days of my life in it with people that I loved dearly then and still do today! We had THE BEST carnivals in the area and the street dances and alumni banquets were always highpoints of the year as well. We were all devastated when our school closed, but we will forever be “BOBCATS” in our hearts!!

  15. DuWayne Grinolds says:

    Thanks for the tribute. Palermo was not only my elementary school, it also was my home. The school built an apartment in the upper level for me an my family. I had the fortune of growing up with a library and a full gym in my house. I remember every inch of the building.

  16. ramona says:

    My grandma Ostdahl owned the little restaurant in Palermo. My dad is Clarence. It was great going up there when we were kids. Loved it and sure do miss them times.

  17. Brad Pettit says:

    many a summer spent with the Grand parents…”Bing & Mamie….fond childhood memories 1st kiss …Susie Johnson….best summer ever

  18. My Dad {LeRoy} was the Janitor at both schools for a few years until we moved in 1966 too MN. I sure miss living there. It was a family town.

  19. Audrey Bruhn says:

    My husband was born & raised in Palermo

  20. dave linnertz says:

    I played basketball against Palermo in the mid 60s. Sometimes the HVAC pipes would get in the way of your shot! It was about a 90 mile bus ride from Surrey where I was a student. A long ride on a winters night.

  21. Merle Lee says:

    Grew up in Plaza played many Basketball games against the Palermo BB team–1953 to 1957 at the school there.

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