Denhoff, ND

Denhoff, ND

Denhoff is a near-ghost town in central North Dakota. It is just a few miles down a lightly-traveled highway from a great true-ghost town, Lincoln Valley. Denhoff was decimated by two fires in 1910, and reportedly reached a peak population of 323 in 1920. It is now listed in the US Census as a CDP (Census Designated Place) with a population of 20 as of 2010. The following photos of Denhoff were contributed by Sandy, a resident.

Sandy says this is a doomsday shelter that a 1990’s resident built in the town.

Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

34 thoughts on “Denhoff, ND

    1. I lived there from 1961-1963 when my Dad was the manager of the Farmers Union.I lived next to the Nazerine Church that was pictured and the town sure is nothing left.Sure brings back memories of how life sure changes

  1. you could almost say Denhoff is growing, just about 2 years ago one of the residents built a brand new house on the north edge of town

  2. An interesting anecdote about Denhoff turned up in my research on the power companies in ND – Otter Tail Power built a powerline west from Carrington to Washburn in 1926, connecting several towns along the line to the system in the process. They forgot Denhoff apparently as the residents later sent a petition to the utility commission asking to have Otter Tail add the town to the system. Otter Tail replied that Denhoff was supposed to be added when the line was built through the area, admitted to being mystified about the oversight, and said they would have crews there as soon as the ground thawed out in the spring.

  3. I had to retrieve a coworker whose vehicle had issues and he limped it into Denhoff. I’m thinking we were the most excitement they had had in a while as we had an audience as we loaded the truck up on the trailer!

  4. As a teen, I (we) lived in Goodrich for about 4 years. Just 7 miles from Denhoff. My brother and sister went to school in Denhoff.
    It’s cool to see those old buildings again. I recognize all of them but the doomsday shelter.
    I remember one cold winter night, I and two others, with nothing else to do, were in Denhoff just long enough to turn some hard fast ‘cookies’ in the main street intersection, laugh, and then as soon as we got enough traction and turned in the right direction, headed out of town!! Just some teens having fun! LOL
    Whoever has done up this sight, should get over to Goodrich. Though they’re not completely a ghost town yet I don’t think, most all the buildings on main street are in decent enough shape yet for pictures, though most are somewhat dilapidated. There should be some good shots to be had of dilapidated homes as well.
    I lived in the Moldenhauer home for a couple of years, near the school It was occupied when I was back a number of years ago. But the other house, (unoccupied and for sale) I lived in there, was behind the Mobil gas station. Long since gone due to a fire many years ago. Now that house is no longer hidden by the gas station and is now the first house on the block.
    There is a house south of that one, where my friend Frank W. lived. His Dad was the principle of the school when I was there.
    My mother worked at Ginger’s Jack and Jill store. Long since gone too.
    I was the one that used to blow the fire whistle and noon when the cop, Harley G. was busy or out of town.
    Lots more memories from my time in Goodrich.

    1. In my opinion, Goodrich is far from a ghost town. They still have a functioning K-12 school, and several businesses in town. Goodrich still has 98 residents as of the 2010 census, so, in my opinion, far from a ghost town.

      Maybe you are unaware, but unfortunately 3 of the east side main street buildings had to be torn down in the last few years. The former hardware store, cafe, and grocery store all had to come down. Now there are 3 vacant lots sitting where those more historic buildings were. Those buildings were all in tough shape to begin with with, and then a storm came through and caused more damage several summers ago. I have some photos I took the summer before last as the buildings were partially down.

      1. I worked in the cafe in Goodrich in 1999 I think…The cafe was in the old hardware store/hair shop…That building was in rough shape then…I was very sad to hear (& see picures) that it had been torn/fell down…I always wanted to go back & check it out more after the cafe/restuarant closed…I am happy that I do have a picture of it while it was up & running…The lady that submitted (?) the Denhoff pictures has pictures sicne it has been down…Growing up in McClusky I have been to Lincoln Valley & remebered some of the houses/buildings in your pictures…& you guys are right very dangerous out there…Awesome job guys on this site…I love looking at all the pictures…

  5. I lived 5 miles west and 1/2 mile north on what we called the Ecklund farm. I was born in 1945 and lived there until 1952, when we moved a farm by Brantford and than Grace City. My brothers, sisters and I went to Lamont District #16 school and walked the mile and ?? to school in nice weather. In cold weather, my dad or older brothers took us in a covered sled, complete with a stove. I remember of being so terrified of going up and down the cut banks at the railroad tracks. I just knew we were going to tip over, catch on fire and than freeze to death. We went to Denhoff to get supplies and Dad would give us a nickle. I would carry it around till almost time to leave and than i would decide between a bottle of pop, ice cream cone or candy. Terri Wagner Gressett

  6. My moms family is from Denhoff, John & Anna Strobel. I can remember a long ways back of roaming the town with all my cousins. Heck, we could walk the whole town in about 15 minutes. I have very fond memories that I hope I never forget. Our families still come back to what is left of this Awesome, down to Earth little town every other year for our family reunions.

    1. My childhood friend was Linda Strobel .Are you her daughter? We would have so many adventures in Denhoff.We would find things to do all day long.I can still taste the yummy popcorn her mother,Anna was a little like the kettle corn they sell today.We would watch Hopalong Cassidy or Gene Autry then go outside and reenact using sticks for horses. Please greet her from me.

  7. We are up to nearly 25 people, with a house recently rented out, our family moving next to the church last year, and the birth of a baby in the neighborhood. A nice peaceful place to live.

  8. When I lived in Denhoff in the late 1950s it was a rather peaceful town, even if there was only one store in town and rather boring for a teenager. Yet those three years provided experiences that have provided a life-time of stories to tell friends in the decades since then, as there were many “salt of the earth” people who I got to know and love. No longer do I have any contact with any of the individuals I knew then. In the early 2000s I briefly visited Denhoff–a nostalgia visit–and attempted to get in and out of town without speaking to anyone. When I stepped out of the automobile to take a photograph of the house in which we had lived in those Denhoff years, a woman confronted me wanting to know what I was doing. When I told her why I was taking the photograph she insisted that I come into her house–the house in which we had lived–and though I protested not wanting to do so, I did finally follow her into the house. Unfortunately Denhoff is much akin to other small towns in which I lived in North Dakota or visited–they are rapidly disappearing. How soon will they become nothing more than farmland, as have so many of the farmsteads I knew in the 1950s that are now gone and are now nothing more than another wheat field.

  9. Great photos

    My parents owned the grocery store from 1948 until the early 70’s.

    Reviewing the photos brought back a lot of memories. Sat. night was a busy night in Denhoff.

    Farmers brought in cream and eggs and shopped. My sister Karen was at the front counter and I was
    in the back area candling eggs. What a Sat. night.

    We buried some of Mom’s ashes where the store once stood…right about where the front conter once stood.

    I live in the San Diego area near my sister Karen. Linda lives in Laguna Niguel, CA, Lois lives in Lincoln, ND
    and Ted resides in Minneapolis.

    1. I remember your family store so fondly.I was a friend of you sister Linda.You had this great tv with a screen in front that gave it color.I think the store must have had one of the few telephones in Denhoff ,as my grandparents would go there to make calls.Your sister and Linda Strobel were my first childhood friends.Greet your sister.I have lived in South Carolina for 33yrs.Norma Bergstrazer Hessary ..tell her I am on facebook.

  10. My wife and I own a small parcel of land in Denhoff on Stonebrecker Street. Getting close to heading up there to see what we need to do with it. Would love to live there. Maybe soon. If anyone lives near Stonebrecker, take some pics and send them to me or post them. Thanks.. Stay blessed!

  11. mike I believe its called steinbrecker place lol I only know that because my folks moved out here about 6 yrs ago and live on that street all the way on the top of the hill my dads name is mike too and he also owns what used to be farmers union gas station here in town and has worked very hard to bring it back to life along with the original gas pumps that sat there in 59 when it was built I have been very intrigued with denhoff myself since they moved here very interesting but sad to see that once a flourishing community is now almost just a desolate piece of land is down to a population of 8 people very peacefull and quiet place to live with no rush hr traffic love the pictures and the site it would be awesome to see some pics of what she looked like in the 10s and 20s I have seen a few but not a lot it seems as though it was a huge town back then

    1. Thanks Shawn… I do appreciate the info. Maybe I’ll run into you sometime when my wife and I get a chance to get up there. I’d like to have more property in that area but haven’t seen any. I too would love to see the old buildings restored and used. Real pleased to hear that your dad is taking care of the old gas station! Can’t wait to see it. Thanks again. Mike

  12. Greetings from Georgia! Does anyone know the origins of the name Denhoff? My family came from Germany to eastern Canada and Michigan-no record of ND in the family tree to speak of. I would love to visit some day!

  13. It was my understanding that the name Denhoff came from the noble family of Prussia with the name Denhoff or von Denhoff. However in the book by Vernell and Louise Johnson, North Dakota : Ever Town on the Map and More (2002), they record that the town was “named by the first postmaster and pioneer merchant, John Steinbrecker, for his former home in South Russia.” However it is feasible that both comments are correct, as the name Denhoff does appear in various forms (von Denhoff, von den Hoff, Donhof), and over the centuries there were prominent Germans with the family name Denhoff. Given the number of Germans who settled in the “Great Russias”–and yes, there is a town in Russia by the name Donhoff or Neu-Donhoff)–the family name and naming of Denhoff, North Dakota might well be related. A significant portion of the population in Denhoff, ND when I lived there in the 1959s were German’s from the Greater Russias. See the North Dakota State University website on the topic.

  14. My great grandfather setttled east of saginaw Michigan . Came from Brandberg Germany. Several family members came as well. Some decendents still reside there. According to my dad’s aunt their name was originally Dahahoff – changed by her father to Danhoff and by my grandfather to Denhoff. That’s what we know about the origins or the name in our family.

  15. No one has said anything about the bar. My aunt & uncle owned the bar not too far from the post office? Any idea what happened to the bar?

  16. Magan..what years? Like most of the buidlings almost are all torn down along with our store. Has been seven years since I visited Denhoff..not sure what is still there.

    What are their names?

  17. I drove from Northern Minnesota to Denhoff back in the mid 70’s with our little boys to show them the family homestead region, Denhoff. It was beautiful farmland.The Heisters once lived there, my late grandmother Agatha’s family home. I was told she and her brother Lawrence would catch and tame wild horses as pets. That would have been the earlier part of the 19th century. Uncle Lawrence said as a youngster his teacher spoke English but the students only spoke Russian and German. It had to be quite an adventure on the prairie.

Leave a Reply