An Old West Hotel in Manfred, North Dakota

An Old West Hotel in Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota is in Wells County, about 30 miles south of Rugby, near the geographical center of North America. Manfred reportedly had 439 citizens in 1920, but that declined to 70 by 1960, and about a dozen when we took these photos in 2006. We actually hadn’t planned on stopping in Manfred, but we drove right by it on the way to Silva and Fillmore, and when we saw the hotel from the highway, we immediately decided to go to Manfred on the return trip. It was worth it.

Manfred also has a very impressive old schoolhouse, however someone had butted a trailer home up against the building and virtually swallowed up the entire structure as a living space. Some of the windows were plywood and others had bed sheets hanging in the windows. We were unsure at the time if someone was living there, so we chose not to photograph it on this visit.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred’s Hotel Johnson looked like something out of the Old West when we visited in 2006. By the time we returned in 2012, things had changed dramatically.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota




Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

We returned to Manfred six years later, and found much had changed.

Manfred, North Dakota

The building pictured below appeared to have gone through a recent makeover. Due to a photo contribution from Mark Johnson, we were able to do a “before and after animation” on the structure.

Manfred, North Dakota

The Post Office pictured below also appears to be in very nice condition, and there were several very well-tended modern homes in Manfred. We returned to Manfred six years later, and got some photos of the school, which was by that time owned by someone dedicated to restoring it.

Manfred, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2017 Sonic Tremor Media

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

9 thoughts on “An Old West Hotel in Manfred, North Dakota

  1. Two of my bff’s Diane and Ruth lived in Manfred. We ate popcorn on ice cream cones.Alot of fond memories.A great time in my life love them dearly and their family

    1. There is a group dedicated to the restoration of Manfred, through the museum. Slowly but surely the work goes on.

  2. You should see manfred today Lots of restoratuin has been done and a Museum is It’s worth the stop if you are in the area

  3. This town is a great example of what can be preserved for future generations if we work together and have a positive attitude. North Dakota has a valuable past. It’s value goes beyond dusty memories and needs to be restored to the greatness that it once held. There are those who wish for these towns to turn to dust and return the prairie to its pre-Pioneer state. Let us not spit on the legacy of our ancestors. All of us who have ties to Dakota must pitch in for this cause. North Dakota may be endangered, but it is NOT extinct!

  4. Beautiful photos, and in looking at those old buildings, so reminds me of my Old Home town, where the buildings looked very much the same, had the same features, and possibly the same time frame as this.

Leave a Reply to Donna Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

one × four =