auditorium

Marmarth, ND

Slope County
Inhabited as of 5-07

Marmarth, ND is a Badlands town in Slope County in the extreme southwest corner of the state.

Marmarth is one of the more populous towns we’ve photographed with 130 people according to the 2010 Census, but minimum conveniences. Marmarth has lost 190 residents since 1960.

There’s an exhilarating old west ambience in this part of the state… Montana is only five miles west and it’s just a three hour drive to Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.  The landscape is a harder, chalkier badland than the more pastoral lands to the east and radio signals battle to elude the car radio as the highway winds past the occasional butte.  There’s a gas station, a bar/steakhouse (with excellent food), and a railroad bunkhouse where you can rent a room with a double bed for $15 per night.  At the time we visited, we were told they had dial-up internet in Marmarth, and satellite was the only way to get TV programming.

The most prominent abandoned structure in Marmarth is Barber Auditorium. It’s actually two buildings, Barber Auditorium and First National Bank of Marmarth.

The train depot has been cut in two pieces and relocated to a stretch of grass along the highway as you enter from the east.

CLICK PHOTOS TO ENLARGE

Marmarth, North Dakota

The 1st National Bank and Barber Auditorium in downtown Marmarth, built in 1918.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Order the Book

Marmarth, North Dakota

In the basement of Barber auditorium.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The red velvet theater seats still wait in the murky black.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

The staircase on the main floor of the auditorium.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

A former storefront, now only storage.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

The former Mystic Theatre

Marmarth, North Dakota

These were the first two jail cells ever installed in Marmarth.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The Pastime Bar has cold drinks, and the food in the steakhouse at the rear is excellent.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

One former filling station.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Another former filling station.

Marmarth, North Dakota

The depot has been moved.

Marmarth, North Dakota

It now rests on blocks alongside the road in downtown Marmarth.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

A boarded-up school.

Marmarth, North Dakota

Marmarth, North Dakota

We rented rooms at this former railroad bunkhouse for $15 bucks a night.

Marmarth, North Dakota

See more photos of Marmarth here.

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

Comments
15 Responses to “Marmarth, ND”
  1. Engineer Bruce says:

    Was Marmarth a railroad “crew change” point at one time? Just curious as the bunkhouse is of pretty good size. Who operates this yet? How did the town get it’s name? Does any railroad still operate through town yet? I thought for many years as I see all the long abandoned buildings, if “they could talk”, what stories could the buildings tell us. Of their beginnings, memorable events such as storms they survived, families that owned them, laughter/happiness and the sadness they feel being alone now.
    Thank you for this wonderful site!

    • JamieF says:

      My dad grew up in that area of the world. He said the town got its name from someones two daughters: Mary and Martha.

    • Tired Iron says:

      From “North Dakota Every Town on the Map and More” by Vernell & Louise Johnson, Marmouth was named for Margaret Martha Fitch, the grand-daughter of the president of the railraod ( the Milwaukee Road most probably) in 1907. From Google Earth you can see the foundations of what looks to be a 12 stall enginehouse and a wye for turning around. Since ther weren’t any branchlines here I would assume it was a crew/power change stop. The last info I have says that BNSF owns the line, but I don’t know how active it is.

    • T Eagon says:

      Amber Lecoe Battest runs the Bunk House Motel/Apts… Population is small, but hopes with the Oil Activity the town may make a small comeback. I believe most of the old buildings are in sound condition if anyone should decide to come and restore them. A very good 4th of July Celebration every yr, and biker rally, and Santa Claus Day…
      The town just got the go ahead for a 1million dollar renovation of the School in town for upgrades. They have an awesome volunteer fire department as well and a first responders unit and an Ambulance.

    • Cindy says:

      yes, Marmarth was a crew change point, and the railroad does still run through there

  2. brenda bowman says:

    looks like it hasn’t been such along time since people lived there. it’s to bad!

  3. Mary Rowley says:

    In the years 1948-50, we played basket ball on the second floor of the auditorium. That was when Marmath had a high school and we were the visitijng team from Bucyrus

    • Tom Masa says:

      I grew up in Marmarth as my dad ran the standard station where the post office is now located. It is not as bad as it looks from these pictures. I believe the current population is about 120. It has a great bar/cafe(the Pastime). It also has gas station and another cafe/beauty shop. Also a town center building for meetings etc. The catholic church is open. It has a car museum. The old railroad bunk house is open for renting rooms. During the summer the population swells as “bonediggers” come to dig for dinosauer bones.

  4. Tanner Thompson says:

    The school in Marmarth got 1 million dollars to add on to the building.

  5. Ron G says:

    I attended ND Law Enforcement Academy with the police chief of Marmarth in the 80′s. Lost contact with him a few years later.

  6. Ron G says:

    In the 80′s,I attended ND Law Enforcement Academy with the Marmarth Police Chief. Lost contact with him over the years. Maybe he visits this site.

  7. bmartink says:

    My father, Bob Martin, was an engineer for the Milwaukee RR and layed over at the bunkhouse many years. My sister and I stayed there one time. I am facinated with the RR history.

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  1. [...] CLICK HERE to see photos from our first visit to Marmarth [...]

  2. […] radio signals battle to elude the car radio as the highway winds past the occasional butte. See our original Marmarth gallery here, or check out the whole […]



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