Northgate, North Dakota

By / May 19, 2010 / Northgate, ND

Burke County
Inhabited as of 5/10

Northgate is a fascinating near-ghost town right on the Canadian border, about 70 miles northwest of Minot. It was originally founded one mile to the north, but moved one mile south to it’s present site. While the original townsite retained the name North Gate (with a space) this town was renamed North Gate South, and then re-dubbed Northgate when the post office was established in 1914.

The road to the east of Northgate is the highway which formerly functioned as the port of entry, but it is now closed and well-posted by US Customs and Immigration. The new border crossing is about a half mile west.

Not wanting to attract the attention of US Customs and Immigration by driving toward the border on a farm road, we took a long walk down the road to get pictures of the former Port of Entry building. We got within twenty feet of the Canadian border.

CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE

Northgate, North Dakota

The former Northgate Port of Entry building.

Northgate, North Dakota

As mentioned by a site visitor in the comments section below, the building in the background of the photo above is the former Canadian Port of Entry building, on the Canadian side of the international border.

Northgate, North Dakota

If you look closely at the photo above, you can see a gate with a red stop sign to the right of the building.  This road was gated when the former border crossing was closed.

Northgate, North Dakota

This is the view from inside the Port of Entry building.  The town outside is the original North Gate.

Northgate, North Dakota

The town in the background of the above photo is North Gate, on the site of the original town platted in 1910.  It is now in Canada.  It’s unclear whether anyone lives there, although we did not see any activity.

Northgate, North Dakota

To get quite specific, in the photo above, the asphalt road in the foreground is US territory.   The grassy ditch just beyond the road (where the railroad crossbuck is planted, just on the other side of a barely visible barb-wire fence) is the US-Canadian border.  The dirt road and homes at the rear are in Canada.

Northgate, North Dakota

A couple years later, we visited another impressive abandoned border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.

Northgate, North Dakota

Rat ventured onto the road to take this photo, but we escaped without any customs and immigration entanglements.

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These elevators are along the now closed highway which originally crossed the border.

Northgate, North Dakota Northgate, North Dakota Order Ghosts of North Dakota Books Northgate, North Dakota

We met a not-so-tactful Northgate resident who first asked if we were lost, and then informed us they didn’t like strangers poking around in their town. All in all, an eventful visit.

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All photos by Troy Larson and Terry ‘Rat’ Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

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55 Comments

Tom Pence

Our family went through this port about a million (it seems) times on the way to Lake Kenosee in Saskatchewan. The red brick port was always a welcome sight. Sorry to see it’s in such a sad state but if it were not, you wouldn’t have these pictures. Thanks.

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Jim Pence

I recall a gas station “in town” where we’d get gas a inside a cold bottle of pop. I think it was a red brick building back in the 60’s and seemed up and going at that time. I don’t see any picture like this. Anyone else know what I am talking about?

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Tom Tveit

There is a picture of that station above. It is below the private road pics (2 buildings together one is covered in brick paper and was the repair bay, the other was used as the store front. I remember that the owner coached the baseball team when I was in grade school (about 1960). We played against a team from North Northgate.

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Janet

Oh the best cafe in town…a little white building out along the hightway…Rawn’s had a gas pump at one time and they could serve up the best food ever. It was a real hub for everyone on the north side of the border and in the US. Hank and Leona were the owners and in the later years even supplied the Potash haulers with sandwiches and goodies while they unloaded the potash. We called it the truckstop and we loved going there.
They had a house like building converted to cafe and a portion of the old wood framed custom building as their storage.

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myrna

Beautiful pictures, thanks for posting. Good reply for resident is, “I’m not a stranger, I’m a fellow North Dakotan.”

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jimmyboi2

I like that ! Had a great time there– everyone was so friendly. I loved walking to Mass in downtown Bismarck from the hotel on the south edge of town.

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minneapolis

Thanks for the pictures. I grew up a couple miles west of Northgate, and my parents still farm there. There is still 1 family that lives on the Canadian side of Northgate. And in the pic where you say “the house in the background is in Canada,” that building is actually the old Canadian Port of Entry building. The nice paved road that runs through the deserted townsite was built by a company that was importing Potash from a mine in Saskatchewan. They trucked it down to Northgate where it was loaded onto the railroad and shipped off to be processed into fertilizer. They stopped doing that several years ago. Love your web site, and thanks for all your hard work on this.

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Koni Ritch

My dad worked as the Immigration officer at this port for 4 years (’68 – ’72). We lived in a house to the left of the port of entry and the custom officer’s house was to the left of that. Great times growing up there – wonderful memories.

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Kara

I also lived in the government house to the left of the port. We lived there while my dad was stationed at Northgate Border Station from 78-80. Even though it was an out of the way place to live, there was always something to do. I had friends that lived two miles west, and also east of Northgate, and I rode my bike up to visit friends on the Canadian side too. Our dog would always get out and run up the road into Canada, and the Port of Entry guy on the Canadian side would always laugh and wave us through so we could retrieve our dog. It was a good two years we spent there. Just about the only downside is having to ride the bus to school in Bowbells.

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diana dixon zepp

I was out walking that morning and wondering what those vehicles were doing. I wished I would have come and talked to you . I live in the trailer there. I have lived in Northgate off and on all my life. Who is KOni Ritch cuz I do not recognize the name and I lived there then. There are four families on the north side and three on the south side. The bar is still in operation. Really enjoyed this site. thanks

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frick betty

Hi I enjoyed the pics as I graduated from high school in Northgate it was a thriving toun then our class was 2 boys and 2 girls and the whole class are still alive and well pretty good for graduating in43

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Ken Leslie

I was born in Northgate in1927, and lived there until 1945 when I joined the Navy. It was a wonderful place to grow up as a boy. The pictures brought back many memories. Hard to believe that a town that vibrant in the past is now a ghost town.

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Kristie Spooner

I remember Grimm’ s. Unfortunately lost track of Lori over the years as we were in the same class.

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Karen

Hi I am doing my family tree and I was wondering if anyone may have known about Patrick Walsh or James Walsh. Residing in the 1930s and 40s. Patrick was the father and James was his son who was in his 40’s according to the 1940 census. Patrick was 75 approx. Is there a cemetery there? Where are the town’s records now located?

Karen

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Hastings

I was the best man at a wedding at the church in Northgate not that many years ago. I also remember my sister and brother-in-law crossing that border after it was closed and dragging a cone several miles under their Datsun. I too have gotten drunk at the bar in Northgate several times along with my father , uncles and cousins. .Lots of good times in the town of Northgate.

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Eugene Brumfield

My grandparents, Jim and Maude Burke, lived in town during the 40’s and early 50’s, and had a farm southwest of town a few miles, where it eventually became their sons farm, Dwight and Evelyn Burke. I used to work on the farm. But most memorable as a kid when I’d visit grandma and grandpa Burke, I would go down to the store and buy a pack of Wings cigarettes, hahah. I did once anyhow. The store was right along the old entrance to Canada. I remember it well.. Good memories. I was back there in June, 08, and drove along the border east, looking at land I have mineral rights to for oil wells, but none then, wonder if any today.

Eugene Brumfield
Kennewick, WA

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Brent Honcharenko, Rosemount, MN

Jim & Maude Burke were my great-grandparents and Dwight (Dan) & Evelyn Burke were my grandparents. My mother’s name is Carol. I remember spending summer days in Northgate & Flaxton with my grandparents. My great-aunt & uncle, Leora & Hank Rawn, owned & operated the cafe & gas station in Northgate. My great-grandmother, Gertrude Jensen, lived nearby in Flaxton. I loved spending summer days at the Northgate cafe & gas station; some of my favorite childhood memeries!

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Brent Honcharenko, Rosemount, MN

Jim & Maude Burke are my great-grandparents. Dwight (Dan) & Evelyn Burke are my grandparents. My mother is Carol. I spent many childhood summer days with my grandparents in Northgate & Flaxton. My great-aunt & uncle, Leora & Hank Rawn, ran the cafe & gas station in Northgate and my great-grandmother, Gertrude Jensen, lived in Flaxton. So many great memories! I remember having hamburgers for lunch at the cafe and then if we helped do the dishes Aunt Leora would let us pick candy from behind the counter. What a treat! My older brother, Brian, still has one of the swivel stools from the cafe.

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sue gannaway

The cafe in Northgate was one of my favorite destinations to bike to in the summer. It was only a little over a mile in from my place. Your aunt and uncle always welcomed us kids coming into buy some penny candy or a pop! I remember the first time I drove past where the cafe stood and just saw the empty lot. It was so sad!

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Eldre Leslie Larsen

It was so interesting to see the pictures and try to identify them. I was born and raised in Northgate, graduating in 1942. After 1 year of college I came back to Northgate to teach for 2 years, then my parents and I moved away. My father, George Leslie, owned the General Store. My uncle, Sidney Bennett and family, lived on the Canadian side in Northgate, Sask. Does anyone have current pictures of the old main street of Northgate? Thanks for all the comments.

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frick betty

This is Lois (Mellom) Miller And I still live on my farm north of Northgate in Sask. And was glad to see Eldre wrote on this . I come doun to Minot every so often to visit my high school friends Betty and Richard Frick; Her and I still work at the Hostfest. Thanks for putting the pics. of Northgate we do enjoy them .

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sue gannaway

Just discovered this site and the pictures of Northgate took me home! I grew up just west of Northgate. The old custom house was “new” when I was in high school. The land that it sits on was bought from my father Oliver Tveit. I actually made a quick trip to the farm and Northgate back in September of this year. You will find pictures posted at my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dakotaimpressions/sets/72157625599675290/

Nice to recognize some of the names posted in the comments section.

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Tom Tveit

The building in the pictures is the one that was replaced by the “new” one you talk about. During the time that we were in high school and college, this building was used as a home and office by the agent for IMC – the company that ran the potash loading faciliy.

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Kristie Spooner

Hey Sue, so nice to see your response. So long since I have been in touch. Recently heard from Nancy. Nice to get in touch with people you grew up with.

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Francis LaRoche

I lived in NorthGate on the Canadian side in the late 50’s and early 60’s, went to school there, Mrs O. Black was our teacher ,she taught grades 1-7. My dad worked for the CNR railway and for a time we lived in the CNR bunkhouse which was near the steam engine water tower and the remains of the old NWMP detachment outpost.

Francis LaRoche

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Bruce Needham

I remember the fruit trucks that always came to the gas station in Northgate ND. Mom would always get peaches or apricots and make jam. I thank God everyday for the childhood I had and the experiences that helped make me who I am. Anyone remember Mouse River Park? And the rollerskating rink/barn?

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Francis LaRoche

Yes there was a gas station on the Canadian side in the 50’s and 60’s, the proprietor was
Delbert Fredrick if I remember correct, this gas station sold a little bit of everthing from groceries to gasoline, I think we even got haircuts there for a while. I still have good memories of growing up in Northgate Sask, even though our family was pretty much dirt poor at the time.

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Tom Tveit

My favorite memory of that store is the GREAT English toffee they sold. A package cost a dime, so whenever we saved up that much, we would make the long trip there (1 mile) to buy one. I took my wife and young kids there in the early 80’s and bought some for them. I understand that the store closed shortly after that.

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Pat Hill

I remember your family. My dad was the CNR station agent for many years. Mrs Black was my teacher too.

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John Moss

I lived in Northgate my father was an agent there on the U.S. side. We lived in the house with the truck parked in front. I miss the town I will go back and take some pics to show my kids were I grew up.

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Jill Maser

I can not belive that the cafe is not there anymore. When we passed through my parents would stop and get a pop, and penny candy . Then we would get gas.

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Suzanne Alotta

We lived in Northgate from 1975-1978. My husband was the Immigration Agent there during that time. We loved our time there and the wonderful friends we made. Our youngest son was born in Kenmare and we figured that he made the 51st resident of Northgate! We ate at Hank and Leora’s cafe and bought our gas there. Our kids went to school in Bowbells. We haven’t been back in many years, but ocassionally still hear from dear friends. Sad to see the Port of Entry looking so abondoned. Suzanne Alotta

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Troublemaker

The Canadian townsite has literally been taken over “lock, stock and barrell” by Corus Land Holding Corp. You won’t have heard a word about it in the public media; and beyond pure speculation; all that is known is that “a non Canadian entity has purchased more than 10 acres of Canadian farm land (actually “all” of section 6 Tsp1 Rge2 W2nd and the option to acquire up to another section) and the same entity has paid $30,000 to $50,000 for numerous individual lots within Northgate, SK”. The RM had literally a few hundred lots but they were disposed of Apr. 4/2012 to the same buyer without any public advertisement. My guess is that you better get your pictures; because the streets and lanes are all slated for closure; and Nothgate will soon only remain in your memories. There are facilities promised; but no one local will be a part of any of that development.
The townsite was seen as an ongoing “liability of negative value”. It was however one of three north-south rail connections in Western Canada; and I have wagered was indeed really prime real estate which will be developed into potash, oil and grain transloading; inland terminals; possible refinery; oilseed crushing and processing facilities and maybe even a steel mill . I mean what can be done on two sections of land and 60 acres of property divided into individual lots on the 49th parallell. The BNSF rail goes right to the front door; and the CNR still owns the rail bed to the heart of the richest potash bed in the world only a hundred miles to the north west.
Anyway, the fix was in; and the deal has been done. History will be updated further, later.

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Tom Tveit

I remember that this was not a Lutheran church, but either Methodist or Prespriterian. It was restored in the late 70’s or early 80’s by the local historic preservation society. It’s sad that there aren’t enough people left there to carry on the upkeep.

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Christine McMullan

Does anyone remember a family by the name of LARSON with 9 children on the Canadian side? Said “children” have long ago moved away to other provinces. They played baseball against their American counterparts. I worked for one of the 9 “children” who ran a sailing magazine in Toronto, GAM on Yachint, for 50 years, and is now retired after selling the magazine.

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Allen Sunde

Thanks for the pictures. My dad, Trygve Sunde, was a vacation relief U.S.Customs Officer between 1933 and 1936. One of the stations he served was Northgate. The red-brick Customs/Immigration House was great to see.

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Steven Blondo

I’m trying to put together a history of Northgate – does anyone have anything to add? Please let me know.
Thanks.

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U.S.B.P. Portal, ND

Watch out for the international boundary! You will be contacted by phone in the morning. I trust you will be recieving an additional email or two as well. Feel free to call the U.S. Border Patrol Station in Portal or the R.C.M.P. IBET with any questions.

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Kristie Spooner

My great aunt used to be the postmistress there for several years. The post office was attached to the house.

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No Entry: Noyes, Minnesota : GhostsOfMN.com

[…] We don’t really have an explanation for it, but we left with a jittery kind of uneasy feeling after visiting Noyes.  There is something very post-apocalypse about visiting abandoned government facilities like this.  It also reminded us of another border crossing we once visited — Northgate, North Dakota. […]

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Ethan

We still service the General Mills elevator in Northgate. They are building a huge oil loop on the Canadian side.

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Kristie Spooner

I grew up south of Northgate about 5 miles. Was wonderful to take a tour back. Loved going to the café of Rawns. My husband managed the elevator there for a period of time, and would eat at the café every day for lunch. Lenora would always have something he liked made up for him. Remember when the fruit truck would stop?

Reply
No Entry: Noyes, Minnesota | Ghosts of North America

[…] We don’t really have an explanation for it, but we left with a jittery kind of uneasy feeling after visiting Noyes.  It’s not hard to imagine you’re living post-apocalypse when visiting abandoned government facilities like this. It also reminded us of another closed border crossing we once visited — Northgate, North Dakota. […]

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Michael Kummer

I Michael Kummer and my late brother Jeff, lived in the old customs border house shown from 1973-1975. My step father Jack Edwards was the chief of the IMC operations at the time loading potash that was driven down from Canada and loaded onto BN rail cars at Northgate. It was the big operation in such a little town. Jack married my mother Darlene (Kummer) Edwards in 1973 and we join my mother that year and moved to Northgate from Minot. Spencer Edwards was born in 1974 and lived there until Jack’s death in 1986. Beverly Sosala, then ran the operation until the mid-90’s when it was then cheaper to transport the potash another way. It was my understanding that the old customs house is railroad property.

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