Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, ND

Wells County
Inhabited as of 6/08

Bremen is a small, unincorporated town near Fessenden in Wells County.  This central part of the state is very sparsely populated and dotted with abandoned places like the Remains of Munster School and Hamberg.  We intend to get some update photos next time we’re in Bremen.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

This is the former Bremen bank.

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Order Book Two

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

Bremen, North Dakota

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

43 Responses to “Bremen, ND”
  1. minnemom says:

    Have you considered a pocket GPS to track your travels and pinpoint your photo locations? I recently purchased a little QStarz Travel Recorder and once I got the time synced with my computer and camera, it was very accurate in placing my photos on a map. I use it especially when I photograph historic markers, because it’s hard to remember exactly where I found them.

  2. My Grandfather clerked in that little bank and was there when it was robbed. He lived there and my dad was raised there. They also ran a grocery store and had a creamery there. My dad and uncle eventually ran the bar selling it to another uncle and aunt who ran it until recently. Lots of fun memories of Bremen.

    • Arno says:

      Hi Janie,
      I love your memories of Bremen. I live in Germany and I’m doing research about places called Bremen in the US, would you contact me at zweitmail3 [at], so that I could ask you a few more questions? That would be nice!

    • Eric Bollingberg says:


      My great grandfather, grandfather and a great aunt were associated with the State Bank of Bremen in the years preceeding its closing. I grew up on the farm homesteaded by John Bollingberg just southwest of town. I’ve heard sketchy stories about the bank robbery and would love to hear your story. So are you related to the Johnsons who had the Johnson Bros. store? Yes there is very little left of Bremen but quite a town in its heyday.

      • janie johnson says:

        Eric, my dad was Duane Knudsen. I think he was a classmate of John Bollingberg, I remember Dad talking about John, did he go to college at St. John’s U. in MN? My aunt is Donna Mae O’Connor and my grandma was Irene (Lies) Knudsen. So Romeo Lies was also my great uncle, JM and Carrie Becvar second cousins. etc etc etc! Ha! (And that’s just my Dad’s side.)
        As far as the bank robbery I don’t know very much except the police let my Grandpa Rudy Knudsen keep the pistol used to rob the bank I think. Not sure where that ended up, but that’s what my dad said. I think my Grandpa died in 1949 so the bank robbery was before that.

        • Lynn Mickelson says:

          Hi Janie,
          Yes, I remember your dad talking about Bremen many times during the years that I worked with him. Just discovered this web site fairly recently, and just absolutely love it. There are so many interesting comments about certain places and people that I know or remember.

          Lynn Mickelson

    • Jo Berg says:

      My hometown is Bremen and you used to come to the farm to visit Mom and Dad – Donald and Barbara Lies. They were good friends of Donna Mae and Ray. Bremen was a great place to grow up, every kid should have the opportunity to experience that kind of lifestyle. Would be fun to go back for awhile, wouldn’t it!

  3. Jordan Olson says:

    hey you guys should make a trip to NW ND up to Fortuna, ambrose, alkabo, greonora, stady, and zahl area and get some pictures this spring or summer time. Thanks Jordan

    • Kristi says:

      Jordan, if you look at the column to the right on this page you will see a list of the towns they have documented, including several towns from the NW corner of the state–some that you suggest. Alkabo, especially, has some lovely summer photos posted, some of my favorites. I, too, love these pics of the Bremen bank. Very unique. Love this site! Thanks, GND, for sharing your travels with us.

  4. Faylin Myhre says:

    I love, love, love that bank!

  5. sara says:

    That is a cool bank. How long has it been closed? In another life, I may have robbed that bank, hauling my tail out of town on the running boards with Ma Barker at the wheel!

  6. Diane Jaeger says:

    I was raised on a farm 5 miles straight East of Bremen, and my Grandfather, Christ Frosaker, a stone mason, built that bank. Have lots of good memories of Bremen, including gopher days, roller skating, card playing etc.

  7. Jeri Holth says:

    I also grew up on the farm straight east of Bremen and I remember my mom (Diane Jaeger) taking me for a pop at the bar when I was a little girl and visiting with Donna Mae and Ray. What a great place with wonderful people!!

  8. JoDee Anderson says:

    I lived in Bremen from 1999-2002! Loved it! While I was there, the post office/grocery store were open as well as the bar. We went back to the bar last summer. Looks like it has changed a bit. It was a nice quiet little town. I had great memories there!

  9. Melanie (Hitz) Darville says:

    Gopher Tail Day – Elevator Picnic Day – Free pop and icecream!! Kids and neighbors everywhere!!! …. Getting the mail – and cream, eggs, and bread – the emergency staples – from Mr. Bower’s Store …… Stopping for a pop at the Bremen Bar in the middle of a long hot summer horseback ride through the gravel pit just west of town…… Riding my horse into the elevator and onto the scale to “get weighed” ….. Summer ball games and meeting friends there…….. Listening to “adventurous” Bremen School (a TWO Room!!) stories from my siblings (before my time! I attended Bremen #1 – a one room – 3 miles south of Bremen – when even the barn was still there!!) …………. Then watching it all slowly disappear every time I returned home ………. Except for the infamous Bremen Bar still standing strong on “Main Street’!! …… I know Bremen, as it used to be, lives on vividly in the minds of those who grew up there and in the surrounding community during a wonderful and truly rich era – before time sped up thrust us into the “modern” ??? age!!!

  10. Leslie Roemmich Unger says:

    Also grew up there and attended school and church there.Remember gopher tail days, elevator picnics. Remember Bowers Store and Ray and Donna May at the bar. Even after being gone for a few years, come back and got married in the Church there. Still enjoy stopping in for a visit when I, get back to ND.

    • Claudia Buechler Deckelmann says:

      Leslie and Melanie I have the same great memories and remember you both. Eric, I used to play with Karen at Olaf and Idella’s place. (your grandparents i think?) We used to use a jump rope and pretend to do Edward R. Murrows TV show Person to Person! Such great memories of that home. Seemed like a mansion in my eyes! Really trying to figure out whose houses these were when I went to Bremen School #3 in town on the hill.

  11. Cindy Helenske Ystaas says:

    I lived 4 miles south of Bremen. We made many many trips there for a few groceries , drinking free pop at Bremen elevator days, softball games. I attended first grade at the school 3 miles south. I think there used to be roller skating at the hall. We use to visit with the Halvorsons, Bowers, Schaefers.

  12. In 1979 I became editor of the weekly Wells County Free Press in Fessenden, N.D. The first story I covered was the annual elevator association meeting in Bremen. I lived in Wells County for almost three years, a beautiful part of North Dakota with lots of great people.

  13. Blain says:

    Now there is a structure that will last another 300 years!

  14. Selena Simpson says:

    I lived a few miles North of Bremen, grew up in the Bremen Church. I remember the elevator and drinking orange soda at the bar (I was 5 then), small town bars are kid friendly when your parents are farmers! I hope you guys can make that trip back there and get some shots of the rest of Bremen! This website and the photos are fantastic. Sad but fantastic!

    Thanks for doing what you do!


  15. Audrey Becvar-Mehlhouse says:

    Melanie and all:

    I am so excited to have just found this website! Yes, yes, and YES to all of your comments! How I love to think about those good-ole days too! I was sort of a tomboy that lived life to the fullest. I remember running fast at those ball games at the baseball diamond in Bremen for fowl balls where they started paying 25 cents a ball to return them. Eventually it did drop to 10 cents a ball. That really didn’t matter tho as we would go up to the Bremen store afterwards where I could buy a cold bottle of soda, sunflowers seeds and penny candy with “my very own money”, and still have change left over!

    I have lived about half of my life in ND and half in WI, but my roots still run deep to call ND “HOME”.

    I look forward to hearing from others that have ties to Bremen! Thanks to Troy and Terry for this great website!

  16. Terry Larson says:

    My goodness! What a ‘site’ sight! I lived in Bremen from 1951 to 1960. I went to Bremen school #3. My Mom and Dad, Roger and Lorraine Larson owned Bremen grocery which was next door to Lou Bower’s implement and parts store plus the post office. I often went with Ermie Simms walk down to the railroad tracks to get the mail as it was kicked off the “37”. (By the way, the mail-car of the “37” now resides in Sacramento Ca. I played with the Alfsted boys, Billy and Dennis in the gravel pits, went ice skating in the slough between Andersons and Roemmick’s. Played ‘Pony-League baseball under Robert Bower’s coaching, and Dad’s coaching. Took piano lessons from Irma Omoth, though my Mom wasted a lot of money on that deal. I was confirmed in the Lutheran churchi n Bremen. Visited Bremen last in ’05, picnic-ed at the school. That slide was really tall. (Now, my cousin tells me, the school building is gone. A corner of the basement had caved in.) I used to collect gopher tails and sold at ‘Gopher-Tail days’. I made 50 cents cleaning up the street after Elevator Days. I bought my first pair of roller skates at Roller Skating night and I still have the skates! Thanks for the memories and I’m sure I will recall more in the next days.

  17. I grew up at Bremen and have many fond memories. It has changed a bit since then though. The school house on the hill is gone, the grocery store is gone, some of the old abandoned houses are gone, the gas station is gone, the Catholic Church a few miles south of Bremen is gone and I am sure more too. Even in the 20+ years since I grew up there things have changed alot. I remember elevator days, and walking to get things at the grocery store. I had an amazing childhood growing up there and wouldn’t change a thing!!

  18. Jayson Helenske says:

    The family farm was 4.5 miles south of Bremen. My dad’s family, especially my grandparents always told wonderful stories of Bremen. I remember the Elevator Day’s at the old school on top of the hill. Free pop, cookout’s, playing with neighbors, and it seemed I wanted to stay throughout the entire day. We used to call Rae O’Connor, Raymond from Braymen. He owned the grocery store, post office and bar after the Bower’s. I used to love driving my Rambler on the diagonal road past the church right up to the grocery store; that road was so neat with the view of the country side and Bremen itself. Sad to say the beautiful St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is now gone. Some hard feelings over that decision within our family. It was a beautiful site. Many memories of weddings, church bazaar’s, services sad and happy. I look forward to finding out what is in the time capsule recovered from the cement pillar of the church.

  19. Staci Roe says:

    Jayson, was the time capsule from the Lutheran church or the Catholic church? That would be neat to find out the contents of it. I remember going to the Lutheran church with my grandparents Jake and Alvina Roemmich back in the 80’s.

  20. Terry Larson says:

    Hi, Karen. I haven’t been to the Train Museum in Sacraments for at least 2 years +/- , but IT WAS THERE and my folks, Roger & Lorraine Larson were through it a couple of years before that. Therefore, I am reasonably sure it is still there. There were even original labels for the towns the train went through. . . including Bremen. I actually was able to tell the ‘museum guide’ how the mail-bag was snagged from the pole (pick-up) and the in-coming mail-bag was kicked out the door, as it passed through town at 75 miles per hour.

  21. Mike Towarnicky says:

    You worked with Charlie Eldridge then!

  22. Dave Arendt says:

    I was born in 1948 in New Rockford ,but our family lived in Bremen until 1951. My dad Norbert ran the grocery for a couple years too, sounds like the grocery business was a revolving door in more ways than one. My father’s oldest brother Francis (Jake) owned the farm just north of town and raised his 3 children there with his wonderful wife Adeline. They were my Godparents . I spent many days happily visiting and working with my uncle Jake and cousin Larry on their farm/ranch. I now live in Sacramento, Ca and have since 1970. I am so glad to have found this site and actually going out to Brementown , hopefully with Larry the day after tomorrow. I am hoping to take photos and will post what I can. I was surprised to hear St Josephs is gone, cemetery still there? Guess I will find out?

    • Terry Larson says:

      Hi, Dave. Have you been to the train museum in Sacramento? I live in Glen Ellen, near Santa Rosa. I do recall the Arendt family and farm. In fact I ‘played’ with Larry many times out at his farm. I recall climbing up into the upper reaches of the barn and jumping into the hay or hanging on this large rope and dropping into the hay. I recall Emily, she was in the next grade, I recall Francis and Adeline, though I don’t recall little sister’s name. My cousin’s place is just across the road from the Arendts. If you seem him wave “Hi” from me. It was sad to hear that the school up on the hill had been burned just a couple of years ago. I was there in 2005 with my grand kids, picnic-ed behind the school – played on the swings and slide. I was taken by how tall that slide was. It was a great visit, reminiscing with (to) my California family. Don’t think I’ll ever get back. Hope you and Larry have fun in Bremen.

      • Dave Arendt says:

        Terry, I remember the LARSON family and probably played back then with you too. Jean is the baby on the Francis Arendt line. Emily is a Nun and lives in Fargo. Larry lives in town Now. Jean is living in Valley City. I have been to the RR museum and now will have relook at trains to find old #37 train. Nice to know that Bremen remains a place with so many good feelings and memories. Larry and I went to Sykeston and had a great time renewing Arendt family history. It was very nice to look and visit the site and locale of St Joseph s Catholic church , the cemetery was well kept. We think the last two photos above are the house my folks and two older brothers lived in while we were in Bremen. Dave

        • Beverly Peter says:

          Recently my Daughter asked me to write my autobiography so imagine my excitement when I found this web site. My parents, John and Leone (Priester) Doubek moved to Bremen from Anamoose circa 1947. He ran the blacksmith shop. We lived in a small home straight back from the saloon. We were very poor. I am pretty sure the Bollingberg’s were God parents to one of my siblings born there. I also remember fondly the Elevator Days and Gopher tali contests. We worked very hard to fill that match box with Gopher tails! l We played with the Alfstad children, also Simpson ,Berndt and Anderson kids. Who lived across the tracks and I think around a pond on a farm there? I think Anderson s .I remember playing the Fox and the Goose on very cold winter days. I travel through Bremen every time I return to Minot and Anamoose as I have may relatives still there. I was saddened to see the School house down. It’s amazing how we learned with all 8 grades in just two rooms. I have enjoyed reading all your comments and thanks for the pictures, our old home is in one of them!

          • Lonnie Berndt says:

            I was not in school when we lived in Bremen,but my brother Gary was. My mother and dad owned the Breman bar for a couple years and we lived obove it. I remember Bower’s John Deere Implement dealership,and the town hall accross the street from the bar. I would look from the upstairs window on dance nights,Bremen was a busy little town. I remember the baseball games. We have 8mm film of some of those games.My uncle Austin Bower was the third baseman on those teams. Guess who supplied the Beer after the games. After dad sold the bar we lived straight back from the bar to in the Shaffer house. Donna Mae baby sat me when I was small.I have been back a couple times in the last few years. Bremen has a special place in my heart.and always will. Gary Berndt lives in Enumclaw, washington,and I live in Auburn ;Washington.

  23. Beverly Peter says:

    Hi Lonnie, I was happy you responded to my post. When you lived above the bar my Sister Linda, Gary and I ( you may have been there) dropped a cat from the top of the stairs just to see if it would land on it’s feet. Mean kids! When you moved to the Shaffer house you were our neighbors, I also remember the town hall. Our school plays and Christmas parties were there. My Dad was Santa one year. I think there was something like a box lunch social too. I recall one winter day when a very bad storm came up and the teachers wouldn’t let us leave it was so bad but lo and behold a figure came up the hill to lead us to town. It was my father we had to all hold hands with one teacher in the middle and one at the rear to make sure we all stayed together. My sister and I were happy it was our dad who rescued us! I recall also that your mother didn’t cut you or your brothers hair, you both had long curly locks, You probably don’t remember that or don’t want to LOL! Your fathers bar was my fathers second home, unfortunately. I left Minot in 1960 to move to IL where I now reside. I will swing through Bremen again on my way to Minot this June for our Doubek Family reunion. I also have a special place in my heart for Bremen as well as Anamoose where I was born.

    • Lonnie Berndt says:

      Hi Beverly, Just talked to Gary,he said he did not remember the attempted murder of the cat. He did say he thought there were five kids in your’e family. Johnny Piotz bought the bar from dad,and they had two boys with the long curly hair. We still have 8mm film of them. I will be back in N.Dak in June also not sure on the date yet. We will be staying in New Rockford with my cousin,her mother was a Bower. It would be nice to meet up.

  24. Beverly Peter says:

    Hi Lonnie, I had forgotten all about the Piotz kids until you mentioned them. Maybe it was them who conspired to drop the cat! When we moved to Bremen there were 4 children then 3 more born while we lived there. By the time it was over I was the oldest of 11. My poor Mother. Do you or any of your family have any pictures or postcards from when Bremen was “booming”? I sure would like to get some copies if you do. Our Family reunion is June 27th. I will be driving up. If there is a chance you would be in New Rockford prior to that say around the 24, I would love to see you & reminisce our youth! Had breakfast with my Sister, Joanne this AM and she remembered when you lived next to us that you or Gary got a new train set for Christmas and let us come over and play with it. We probably did not get much of anything, Would Gary be traveling with you in June? What did your parents do after they sold the bar and how long were they in Bremen. Did they move to Washington?

    • Lonnie Berndt says:

      Hi Beverly, Wow 11 kids. I don’t know if we have any pictures from those days. My parents put most every thing on 8mm film, Gary just copied all of them to dvd. I will talk to him about pictures. I think I will be able to meet you in Bremen on the 24th of June. I am not sure if Gary will be coming,he says he would like to talk to you. You asked about the train,Gary still has it and it is set up in his basement. After my parents sold the bar we moved to a farm East of Bremen,we lived there for a couple years, we were neighbors to the Fingerson family. I started school in a one room school about a mile from the farm. My parents then bought another bar in Niagara, N. Dak.We moved ther in the fall of 1953,I was in the 3rd grade. They came out to Washington shortly after I did,Gary was already here. I called back and the bar in Bremen is still operating, but I think the best time to meet would be in the afternoon, I don’t think they open to early. Would like to connect, our phone numbers are listed.

      • Beverly Peter says:

        You and your family moved around lot! Where did you end up going to high school? I will look up your phone number as soon as I know my travel plans in June. I may be traveling with a sister or two. Is there a motel in New Rockford? It is a long haul from IL to ND. Last time I was through Bremen the Tavern was not open, Probably about mid afternoon. Hopefully it is still operating. How did Gary end up going to Washington? Don’t know what kind of weather you have, but we had a full blown blizzard here. Drifts all over. Will talk again.

        • Lonnie Berndt says:

          Hi Beverly, I graduated in 1963 from Unity high school a combination of 3 schools. Gary was the last one to graduate from Niagara in 1960,he had 7 in his class. I had 24 in mine. there is one motel in New Rockford called The Bison Lodge cheaper but clean. We have stayed in Carrington at the Cobblestone Inn,more money but continental breakfast. I called the Bremen Bar 1-701-947-5594 they said they open about 4:30 pm. We have had a mild winter not a lot of snow in the mountains.probably have a water shortage this summer. Gary joined the Navy out of high school and was stationed in Bremerton Wash,and stayed here. I came out in1974,and my parents came shortly after.Tell me more about your family? You left Minot in 1960. What year did you leave Bremen? Why move to IL,for work? I miss a great big snow storm that lasts for 3 days or so.

          • Beverly Peter says:

            Hi Lonnie,I figure we left Bremen around 1949 or 1950. I left Minot as a result of marrying a Airman from the Minot Air Force Base, his home was Rockford, IL. We eventually divorced and he moved to Las Vegas & I chose to stay in IL. I now live in Rockton, north of Rockford just below the WI border. Gary & I were in first grade together but I graduated in 1959. I had lunch with my Sister, Joanne yesterday and she wondered if you remember the Beeckler girl she played with. She thought her name was Barbie. They lived in the country west of town, I think! Just for fun, I googled your and Gary’s home towns and thought you must live in beautiful country. Lots of forest preserves and parks. It is very wooded where I live too.Joanne wondered if you remember Oluva Klutz? She was a strange old lady that lived in the house between our’s and the back of your tavern. It is very cold and windy here today BRRRR. I recall one day many years ago at work, that I wished we could have a big blizzard. My co-workers told me to go back to ND & wish for it LOL

  25. Lonnie Berndt says:

    Hi Beverly, I am sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. Gary does remember the Beeckler girl,but only that she lived out of town. I only remember the Beeckler name. Yes we do have a lot of green and forest here but we get a lot of rain in the winter. We were in Bremen a couple years ago and the Klutz house was still there it had a bunch of junk inside. I can still picture her walking to the store,she was old then. I have been watching the weather news it looks like you have had a bad winter, we have had a nice winter with the temps being in the high 50’s and the low 60’s,and not much snow in the mountains. I read above in the comments that the Catholic Church was demolished, when we were back there we walked thru the church how sad it was a beautiful building. They still have services in the little Lutheran Church, we walked thru there too. I hope everything is well with you. Lonnie

    • Beverly Peter says:

      Hi Lonnie, I am sorry also that I am late responding. I have been busy with travels. First to Las Vegas where my Niece and Nephew (Brother and Sister) got married in a double wedding. It was a huge family affair with over 70 of us there. My Sister and I stayed on for 10 days to take in the Nascar race then flew to Mesa, AZ where I have friends and went to the Nascar race there. I was pretty weary by the time I got back to IL. Although It was 90 degrees in AZ so a lot of time was spent in the pool. I am digging out pictures to show you when we meet in Bremen. I have a great one of Oluva Klutz house with the back of the tavern in view.

      later, Bev

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