Joliette, ND

Pembina County
Inhabited as of 7/06

Joliette, ND is in Pembina County, about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. It was founded on a different site to the south-east in 1879, and moved to its present location sometime in the 1880′s.

It was named after Joliette, Quebec, the hometown of one of the areas first settlers. Joliette presently has a handful of residents.

Joliette reportedly had a peak population of 319 citizens in the 1930s, but that quickly declined to less than 40 by the 1960s.

Signs of Joliette’s prosperity are everywhere, including the sidewalks which are overgrown and cracked, but still present as a reminder of days gone by.

Joliette’s residents were very friendly and gladly allowed us to photograph their town.


Photos by Troy and Rat, Copyright

22 Responses to “Joliette, ND”
  1. My aunt grew up there. Her name is Lena Paul. Thank you for sharing this about her hometown!

  2. Carla from ND says:

    Lots of Switzers’ old house.

    • Irene Bernath Olson says:

      My Grandparents, John and Rose Fritz lived across the tracks. Later my Grandpa lived across from the Catholic church with my Uncle Ade and Aunt THelma. My sister and I loved to go Joliette when we were kids, especially to Herb Kukuk’a grocery store.

  3. Jerry says:

    The white building in the second photo from the top is interesting – the roof and gable of the building looks like it was maybe a church, and the bottom looks like a barn, the windows are not from a church. Does anyone know the history of this building?

    • Irene Bernath Olson says:

      Three of the pictures are of the Switzer/Storms house, one is of the barn, and the little house are all on the same property.
      One of the pictures is of the Town Hall. One is of sidewalks that was around the town at one time.
      One is of the Catholic Church that my Uncle Ade Fritz bought after they no longer had Mass in Joliette. They had to go to Pembina to church. My Uncle sold the windows, pews that was left in the church. He used the building for storage and had replaced the original doors.

  4. saiger, blayne says:

    town hall now a horse barn, and the old church not so much as mowed any more. a-lot of things changing in jolliette. being moved out, and soon to be tore down, its a bummer.

    • Irene Bernath Olson says:

      What is being moved and what will be toren down? Your name sounds familiar but how do/did you know the Fritz family? My Mom was a Fritz.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Hi everyone, My grandmother was born there and this summer I travelled there to go see the cemetary to look for relatives (I know that sounds strange, but I am working on my family history). Apparently there are 2 cemetaries there, does anyone know where they are? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Natasha says:

      I think one of them is down the highway, if you are heading towards Grand Forks its on the right hand side of the highway a few miles away from exit 203, Its tiny.

    • Irene Bernath Olson says:

      The only cemetary we are aware of is straight West of Joliette. to get there go 1 mile S, 1 mile West, 1 mile North and then East about 3/4 mile . My Uncle is buried there and we go there 2x a year to visit his grave site

      • Jan says:

        There is another cemetery west of Bowesmont and East of Interstate 29. A lot of people from the Joliette area are buried there since the cemetery west of Joliette is/was a Catholic cemetery.

        I grew up 7 miles south of Joliette and went to school in Joliette from 2nd to 5th grade. I remember when Joliette had a grocery store, two bars, two churches and quite a few residents. I remember performing Christmas plays in the town hall. My first wedding shower was held in that same city hall. It is sad to see the familiar buildings in such sad condition, however, Joliette has fared better than Bowesmont..there is only the Methodist church left there.

        • Marie Janecek says:

          I am doing a family history of the Charles J. Butler family, especially Verna Butler. Would you have any information on this family? Thanks. Marie

    • Irene Bernath Olson says:

      Who is your Grandmother?

  6. bill says:

    Joliette, ND was A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE AND WORK “sorry for the caps I miss it” I rememeber the gray house and having parties there. We were ok to have 2 brews and only 2 brews. No one got out of hand and left at a decent time. Girls from then then were real ladies and acted like a lady not now the way girls act now which I will not say. The men acted like gentelmen no one asked for another beer after there two were gone I did give my brews away so some one got 3 brews instead of 2.

  7. Natasha says:

    I got some wonderful pictures of Joliette today, I would love for you to use them on the site here.
    Contact me at
    Belles & Beaus Photography

  8. Susan Pariseau Frech says:

    My parents and grandparents were from there. My Grandparents and relatives are buried there. My parents were married in the Catholic church that was there. My parents were Brodeur and Pariseau.

  9. Cris says:

    I am a WWII Army Air Force history buff…what might have been, if you will. I was surfing RAF Debden, an American fighter airfield during the war, and was reviewing the biographies of the pilots. On the list was a Captain Donald R. Emerson of the 4th Fighter Group (FG) and the 336th Fighter Squadron (FS). He was a fighter pilot and flew P-51′s. His bio states he was born in “Joliet, ND,” which appears to be an incorrect spelling, on 17 May 1923, and gives his hometown as Pembina, ND, presumably from where he entered the service. Perhaps he has kinfolk in one of the cemeteries discussed earlier on the page. I have not looked up Pembina yet. Unfortunately, Captain Emerson’s fighter was struck by flak on his way back to his base and he crashed in Elsloo, Holland, killed in action (KIA) on 25 December 1944. He is buried in the American cemetery in Margraten, Holland. Sadly, he did not return to Joliette or Pembina. I wonder if there are any alive who would know of the family? His 4th FG bio can be viewed at:

  10. Sean Janecek says:


    My name is Sean Janecek and I am looking for any information of on the Butler family. They lived in Joliette ND. Specifically Charles and Edith Butler’s family they had 14 kids one of them Verna is my mom’s birth mother and she and I are looking for any information we can find.

    Thank You

  11. Jim Benjaminson says:

    The Catholic cemetery at Joliette is very well maintained (I was there yesterday) but the trail to it is little more than that — just a trail. Easiest directions to it are one mile west of the Highway Patrol weigh station at exit 203, then north for another mile (or better), then east into the cemetery. There is a huge monument at the south end of the cemetery with a brass placque reading “In Memory of Lucie Verschaete – Romanie Wallegham”.

    Some years ago a tribute P51 Mustang airplane was flown to the Pembina Airport. It bears the markings of Lt. Donald Emerson’s.plane I visited with Tom Nord at the Pembina Airport earlier this spring about the plane and he stated that its now in a museum in England.

    The Bowesmont cemetery is visible from I29 but you have to get off at the exit about a mile north of it, then go a mile east, then south into what was Bowesmont and back to the west to reach the cemetery. The Methodist Church just had its annual Bowesmont Picnic and there were signs posted along the “street” with the names of businesses that used to be in the town. I believe the Christianson family is the last people residing in what would have been considered Bowesmont. There was a photo of Bowesmont’s main street on eBay sometime ago — it brought over $80 so someone must have some fond memories of the place.

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