Alkabo, ND

Divide County
Inhabited as of 5/10

Alkabo is undoubtedly the most remote town we have ever visited. Roughly six miles from Montana and eight miles from Canada, it is the most northwestern settlement in North Dakota.

We drove north from Grenora to get to Alkabo. This stretch of road is minimally maintained gravel and traffic is very light. Cell service is nonexistent. We would not recommend travel in this area with anything less than a reliable vehicle.

Alkabo is home to perhaps a handful of residents, and is situated on the side of a hill with the school at the top.


Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

58 Responses to “Alkabo, ND”
  1. Jim Sand says:

    When I was about 8 years old, I rode with my grandfather to deliver a load of lumber to Alkabo. While it was small, it was not a “ghost town” then. While I moved from North Dakota 38 years ago, I still call it home when I talk about it. I don’t see northwestern ND as a lunarscape. The short grass prairie has a beauty I still appreciate whenever I get a chance to get “home”.

  2. Laura says:

    I love Alkabo and think it’s so cool what they’ve done with the school! They have a guestbook you can sign (or is it a chalkboard? I can’t remember). Not sure who to call anymore to go in for a tour.

    On a side note, Ambrose used to have a merry-go-round like the one pictured by the school. No modern-day, “safe” playground equipment can compare to that kind of fun!

    • Tracey Reistad says:

      ITs a chalkboard and well preserved!!

    • Merry Kittleson says:

      We also had the merry-go-round in Benedict ND, many bruised fingers…you learned to be careful. It was so much fun, can still here the steady squeek in my mind. It was fun!!

  3. Sandi says:

    Thanks for your pictures of Alkabo – what memories were brought back!

  4. bryan bloom says:

    Alkabo was actually my childhood home town. Some of the photos were of my relatives places. It really brings me back. Thank you.

    • Tracey Reistad says:

      Bryan…These pics bring back alot of memories for me also…saw alot of this while I was married. Alot of Reistad and DeJardine history in that town!

  5. Can one of you former residents confirm the pronunciation? Is it pronounced like the two words it comes from Alkali and Gumbo? So, ALK uh bo…..?

  6. Laurie Richard says:

    El-Kay-bow…not to far where i grew up in Grenora.

  7. singingjanitor says:

    School looks well preserved, looks like a great ghost to see.

  8. Denise DeLong says:

    My father spent a portion of his life growing up here as a child. I think it’s neat.

  9. Leslie Elm says:

    To the Delong , I remember the man who had the store with the gas pump that you pumped up and drained it into your tank. His son drove the gas truck for the elevator and became the manager . Elaine Rust , Gilford”s widow is a leader in keeping the school up with lots of other help , like the Reistads , I was there in July 2009, i shed tears when I saw my Mother’ s basketball pictures Enid Thon, plus all the other Thon’s who attended school there , the oldest ones graduated from Westby, I am a Westby kid , I will attend reunion at Westby , July 9 and 10

  10. Rob Garton says:

    I am doing a project on the railroads of Divide County. I was wondering if any of you Alkabo locals might know what happened to the RR depot that must’ve been there at one time. Any recollections? Thanks!

    • Leslie Elm says:

      I sent you an e-mail , I don’t know how this works , so at the risk of duplication , I do not know about depot ,contact Elaine Rust Leininger , current Alkabo resident and great historian , or an Reistad, rural residents .

      • Tracey Reistad says:

        The Reistads have alot of the history of this town! Don, Morris, Harold and Jim are your best bets!

    • mike bowman says:

      i remember the elevator and it’s manager well, my dad worked part time there coopering cars. unfortunatly i don’t know what happened to it. it was there when i entered the service in 1970 and gone when i returned in 91. elaine or rob rust would probably know.

  11. Gordon (Gordy) Bowman says:

    I have always thought of Alkabo as my home and I still do to this day.

    • Gordy, this is Lois DeLong-Bjerke (Douglas) from Alkabo..I was born and raised in Alkabo.

      One of the “Lots” in the pictures, ( The one with the Brick BBQ) was made by my father, Harvey DeLONG. They moved their house in the early 70’s to Crosby, ND. I sure miss the quiet, peaceful surroundings. We were last there in 89.

      Someone sure keeps the town well mowed!! Unusual for such a sparce population.

      The famous Schoolhouse still looks extremely well kept!! I remember all the Lutefisk Suppers that the men in the community would put on every year!! And the Farmers Elevator Picnics–All the games on main street ( the cracker eating contests, Ladies “Nail” hammering contests and bike races) And to top it off– the old “Ma and Pa Kettle”, black and white movies in the school in the evening!! How things have changed!! Does anyone remember the Roller Skating Parties and Pizza Parties in the “Hall” on Saturday Nites. Everyone in the surrounding area used to come in to town for those great times!!

      Would love to hear from you. It’s been so long…..Do you know where Carol is??
      Love seeing these pics. Hope to hear from you!!

      • Jodie says:

        Lois, this is Gordy’s daughter I am sorry to say but my dad passed away April of 2011. I helped him type his comment on here, and I was just checking the comments. I have heard many stories about Alkabo and the families that lived there, I do recall your family name is some of those stories. I have also heard all the stories about Carol and I think I have a few picture’s of her and my dad, the last my dad told me is he thought that she was in Fargo, ND.

  12. David says:

    That old merry-go-round must have been at a lot of old schools. Ours was slightly higher off the ground and we would stand on the bench and get it spinning really fast and then start it swinging, when everyone worked together you could bang the merry-go-round by causing the frame that held the bench to hit the center pole. It would sound like a ringing bell and the clang-clang- clang could last most of a recess, Back then teachers talked about being careful and not safety…………………..

  13. Amy says:

    The Alkabo School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 7, 2010. The National Register of Historic Places is the federal government’s list of properties it considers worthy of preservation and recognition.

    Federal Relief Construction in North Dakota, 1931-1943 is a statewide historic context developed to assist with the nomination of properties built during the Depression Era as part of the relief effort. This document provides the background of each program and establishes criteria to help evaluate and list historic federal relief properties.

    • A good example of a relief project is the Alkabo School in Alkabo, designed by Edwin W. Molander and built in 1934 by the William Nordman Company of Noonan. This school in Divide County combines the Italian Renaissance Style with American Colonial Revival architecture to create the most prominent building in the community.

    Contrary to some misconceptions about the National Register program, listing in it does not prevent owners from altering their property, restricting the use or sale of the property, or establish times requiring that the property must be open to the public. Entry into the National Register of Historic Places does give a property prestige, provides protection from federally-assisted projects, and provides eligibility for certain preservation financial incentives.

  14. Beth Bakke Stenehjem says:

    Elaine and her family sure do a great job with keeping up the whole town. My parents still live across on the old Stromstad farm. It’s always good to come home and see the old schoolhouse.

  15. Ron Stromstad says:

    Alkabo is also my hometown. I went to the first four grades of school there and then the school was closed. We had the biggest class in the school – there were two of us. There are two streets and five avenues in Alkabo. Main and Stromstad street – named after my grandfather and great uncle. I own a lot in town, just for fun – it’s in one of the pictures where you can see a pretty large chokecherry bush on the right side of the picture. That’s on my lot, where the old livery stable used to be.

  16. Lynn (Tangedal) McGhan says:

    There are more “settlements” north and west of Alkabo–Fortuna and Westby (back in the day!) I grew up in Elkhorn Township–the MOST northwestern township in Divide County ND Our neighbors were CANadians. Love the site!!

  17. Dale Watson says:

    “The Reistads have alot of the history of this town! Don, Morris, Harold and Jim are your best bets!”

    I’ll bet! I visited only a couple times as a child back in the late ’60’s, but I remember a few of them. My grandmother was Olga Harder (Raaum). She and Cora Reistad were sisters. Hi Uncle Don!

  18. Optik says:

    I want my next tour of ND to be biased to the western side. Alkabo looks like a must-see town. I’d like to find a place where I can set up a chair and a cooler and sit through the wind whistling hauntingly through the wild prairie grasses. No cars, no people, maybe just a lone train horn in the distance.

  19. David Krueger says:

    I lived in Alkabo for about 5 months an finished the 6th grade in 1956 – my dad taught there. I have occasionally thought about going back, but it is so remote that I could not justify the trip. Thanks for the photos!

    I remember living in a small house very close to the school, perhaps even on the school grounds. I also remember rafting on a pond at the bottom of the hill. I also remember visiting a friend (but I cannot remember his name) and playing board games. It was a pleasant time in my life.

    • Jane Bloom Young says:

      David, I remember you–I was in 5th grade–you in 6th. Jane Bloom–my mom played the piano for all the school events. where do you live now?

  20. Ria Cabral says:

    just some updated information for you on Alkabo. I received a postcard back from a lady who was the last postmaster, served for 30 yrs until the post office closed down in 1989. fortuna is the nearest town about 10 mi east of Alkabo. the town itself was founded in 1913 when the 500 RR extended the railroad westward in its early years the population was approx 100, now it is 8 with a few additional people living there during the summer. farming/ranching has been the major occupation. now oil activity.

  21. Howard says:

    I’m loving all these Ghost Town pictures. One question keeps nagging me: Don’t the really dilapidated structures ever draw unwanted animals, like racoons, possums, etc., to den?

  22. Tom Sams says:

    We are coming to visit Alkabo the weekend of July 29th. From the pictures and comments it really looks interesting…and we are anxious to look around and get a feel of the history.

  23. Tom Gallagher says:

    The photos brought back memories of Alkabo from as early as 1951 when I was five years old. At that time there was a board walk down both sides of main street. My uncle and aunt, Sam and Thora Bloom, ran the local store which was housed in the old bank. For us kids the vault was a special place. We’ve returned to Alkabo, from Oregon, many times over the years to visit relatives in the area. In the summer of 1974 we worked on my uncle and aunts, Kenneth and Palma Heckman’s farm, about 2 miles east of Alkabo. A big issue at that time was keeping the post office open, so we signed up for a PO box. In 1996 I visited the old school, which was open, saw all the old materials in the classroom, went to the basement gym, found a good basketball lying there, and shot some hoops. The gym is quite small and the walls are the out of bounds on three sides. It was a hot day outside but cool in the gym.

    The area is going through some change now that oil is being developed in the area. I understand a gravel mine south of Alkabo is hauling many loads north each day.

    An excellent set of professional photos of the old school and area can be found at:

  24. Merle DeLong says:

    Very nice to review the comments and photos. I grew up in Alkabo. Family include seven children, my dad, Ralph operated the grain elevator and delivered gasoline to farms. My grandfather, George DeLong operated the general store..where the gasoline pumping was referenced above. My home memories are many. I left Alkabo for the military back in 1962. Loved the school photo, I have some from the early 80’s. Thanks must go to my sister Pat who works hard to keep a log of memories too, Thanks dear Sister.

    • Hi Cousin, this is Lois DeLong-Bjerke So good to hear your comments on Alkabo. It’s sure been along time since we have seen each other..Roland came to visit us a few times, on his way to Albu. Are you Living in the States now?? Would be nice to hear from you!!

  25. Phil Heide says:

    I grew up on a farm 7 miles south of Alkabo, our home town. Mail was delivered by the steam powered Soo Line Railroad arriving at the depot in the evening. I remember townspeople gathering at the post office waiting for their mail. We hauled our wheat to the Alkabo elevator and purchased groceries at the Bloom store. I was a student at the Alkabo school my 2nd and 9th grade. I played basketball in the small gymnasium and attended many community events in the school. I also played baseball and softball on the Alkabo “Field of Dreams”. I remember when main street was filled with cars on Saturday night. Large number of folks came to buy groceries, have a drink, and visit with friends. It is difficult to imagine an active social life while looking at the pictures today.
    I have many wonderful memories of activities in the Alkabo community and cherish the friendships I developed there. Thanks to all who have worked hard to keep the school building alive allowing us to return and remember.

  26. Tom says:

    I grew up in nearby Fortuna where my dad was the Soo Line RR agent in the 50s. We moved when I was about 1/3 of thru 4th grade in 1957 to Flaxton, ND. I currently live in Parshall ND. The pictures are great. I remember going to Alkabo, Ambrose, and Colgan(where my dad was a SL agent before Fortuna), and of course, Crosby. All travel by gravel road. I was last back to Fortuna about 15 years ago.

    I’m sorry to hear about the oil activity in many ways. Around Parshall it has ruined the landscape and diminished the quiet, liveable, quality of life that western ND was known for. Very sad, IMO.

  27. Toni Stromstad says:

    My grandparents were Mable and Tenny Stromstad who homesteaded in Alkabo. My Dad, Milton Stromstad, was born in Alkabo in 1916. I have photos of my grandparents standing in front of their sod house and grandpa standing in front of the Stromstad grain elevator. White-out snow storms forced grandpa to tie a rope between the house and the barn so he could hang on to it and follow it out to feed the animals. My Dad remembers how cold it was and he could still hear the sound of the wind. Dad passed away in 2000. I wish he were here to share more stories. Thank you for preserving the town and sharing memories here!

    • Dennis Seyfert says:

      I remember playing in the depot in Fortuna. Also a blacksmith in Alkabo that fixed wheels for our buggy for the 50th Anniv.

  28. Mike says:

    I went to school in Alkabo for 2 years or a little less when my Pop job changed. I miss Alkabo I want ti visit again I have some old pics from 90s

  29. bill says:

    you said it mike great town

  30. Mayble Horton says:

    My old boyfriend was from Alkabo he would drive a hole hour on the weekends to see me. Sometimes in the winter he would stay sat and sun even go to chruch with us. Mike Delong if you are there email or put a post on here.

  31. Laura Lee Imhoff (Stromstad) says:

    My maiden name is Stromstad. We visited Alkabo and stayed with Ben and Esther Stromstad, my great Aunt and Uncle, on the Stromstad Farm when I was nine, 1955. I remember the two story white house with a cellar and the gigantic barn with all the hay in the loft. We enjoyed butter churned from the cream and homemade berry jam. Toni Stromstad identified above is a cousin.

  32. Linda says:

    Many,many great memories ! Love the pictures. Great place,wonderful people.

  33. R.J. Crisafulli says:

    Does anyone remember the old Air Force radar site just outside of Fortuna? I was stationed there for three years about 45 years ago, and remember a lot about the smal towns around the site. I nearly married a girl from Crosby.

    • Linda says:

      Sure do lived down the road from it for many yrs

      • R.J. Crisafulli says:

        I loved the area, and wanted to extend my stay (I was born in northern Vermont), but the Air Force had other plans for me. My girlfriend didn’t want to leave Divide County, and I was headed for Vietnam. Plus, I was a city boy from Boston. We went our own ways, amicably. I’ve always wanted to return, but never have. I understand Divide County received money to tear down the radar site.

  34. Jane Bloom Young says:

    My family farmed 6 miles south of Alkabo, next door to the Heide’s. My three brothers & I all went to school in that wonderful schoolhouse. I still love going there and reliving all the memories. My oldest brother, Lavern, lives in Alkabo about 6 months of the year. I love going back to visit the area and love visiting all my relatives and past classmates. My class was the largest – 5 of us.. Morris Reistad, Gary Rust, Sharon Norby, Steven DeLong and myself. For a small town, we sure did have a busy life. Basketball, Lutifisk dinners, March of Dimes Programs, Christmas Plays, Summer baseball, rollerskating, the list goes on. I love that I grew up there. Great times to have lived and remember.

  35. Laura says:

    My husband’s family was from the Alkabo area – Norby. I loved visiting the school house! What a great job of preserving the past.

    • Tim Gordon says:

      My wife was a Norby and they lived just South of Alkabo. Is your Dad a brother to Trygve Norby, Marcella’s Father.

  36. Dave Storhaug says:

    My earliest fond memories of Alkabo, were the times I accompanied my grandparents (John & Inga Storhaug -farmers in Writing Rock Township) when they went to Alkabo to get groceries and/or the mail. For me, the trip almost always resulted with being treated to a cool bottle of Nesbitts organge pop and/or ice cream cone from the General Store.

    Years later, more fond memories of playing grade school basketball tournaments at the Alkabo school gym (as a player for Hanks grade school which was closer to my father’s farm located 20 – 25 miles south of Alkabo).

    Dave Storhaug

  37. Tim Gordon says:

    My wife Marcella Norby Gordon also went to that school along with her older brothers and sisters. She always spoke highly of it and was very proud of it. Whenever we came to see her parents at the farm, we always went and stay the school house. She never called it the school, but always the school house.

  38. Ray Martinson says:

    I’m looking for information about a family or families of Jensens buried at Alkabo. In particular, one Wilmar Lyman Jensen, died 1927. Anyone?

  39. SLIMJIM says:

    This is pretty neat to see…makes me want to visit ND, since I’m a West Coast city boy…

  40. Loren Dunham says:

    Does anyone remember Martin Sabo? He left Alkabo and entered Augsburg College in the late 50s. He went on to the Minnesota legislature, then to the US House of Representatives, where he became head of the House Ways and Means committee and one of the most powerful people in Washington. I met him at Augsburg, and being from Flaxton myself, we talked a lot about small-town North Dakota.

  41. Cats love the abandoned structures!

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