Gardena, ND

Gardena, ND

Thank you to James Johnson for contributing these photos of Gardena. James’ comments: Founded in 1905, Gardena is 10 miles south of Bottineau, and the population was 38 at the 2000 census including 13 households and 7 families. It was once big enough to contest Bottineau for the county seat, but lost the bid. The business community steadily declined until the last business, Ackley’s Corner Store, closed in 1994.

With 30 to 35 individuals still living in the town, Gardena has quite some abandoned houses and buildings. The most interesting abandoned building is the Gardena Town Hall which was used for town meetings, dances, card games, parties, school plays, basketball practices, and, even, basketball games. Uncle Mike Hahn remembered playing basketball games in the building when he of school age in 1950s. Fans would sit on the sides, stage and in lofts. The building closed when the Gardena school closed in 1980. My cousin, Krystal (Hahn) Anderson recalled borrowing key from Mayor Dale Ackley to shoot basketball and for scrimmages. The building closed for good when the floor became unstable.

The Corner Store started as Hahns Store which sold groceries and variety stuff. It closed in the 1950s. Ackley’s Corner Store was the last business serving the community by selling gas and snacks. It had Post Office. It was a coffee hang out. The Ackley’s closed in June 1994. Currently, it apparently is used by the owner that service small engines.

Lutheran Church closed in July 2006 in conjunction with the city’s 100-year celebration.

Photos by James Johnson. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

25 thoughts on “Gardena, ND

  1. This is interesting to see online. I went to church there for many years. I used to the 4-wheeler into town from my parents’ farm to visit one of my friend’s whos 2nd house you have a picture posted of on here as well.

    1. My dad, Morris Johnson, grew up in Gardena. We always came to visit my grand parents Clarence and Lilly (Boettcher) Johnson. Loved that town.

      1. I loved going to Gardena to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa Johnson too! We would swing on their tire swing hanging from a tree and surrounded by lilac bushes, play with their dog, Scotty, and go uptown to the store to buy candy with Great Grandpa once in awhile.

  2. I grew up in Gardena from 1940 when I was born until I left for High School in 1955. My dad (Frank) and I farmed the land a mile north of town, and my mom, Marion, ran the Red and White store there. It was closed and the building moved to a farm South of town in the sixties. We lived in the house (Fairfield, the town banker, built it in 1917 or so) that was on the same block of land as the softball field across from the school. I’ve been back just about every summer for the past 10 years, and it’s sad to see how few houses are still standing. My Grandmother, Anna McBain, and her sister Sina Rogers, lived across the street from us. That house was torn down sometime in the ’70s. It was fun, but a little sad, seeing the pictures on this site.


  3. I currently live a mile north of Gardena, and have seen all these sights hundreds of times while riding around of the 4-wheeler or snowmobile. The Brusletten house that you have a picture of was my great-grandpa’s, and our farm is right across the highway, and the first picture of the small house was one my grandma lived in when she was very young. I have alot of the same picutures as you do too, and enjoyed alot of the others. My family has a lot of history in this little town, and I’m glad to see it getting a little attention.

    1. Heather, I take it you’re the daughter of Glen Milbrath and Marilyn Brusletten. My sisters and I knew Marilyn well as we grew up with her. My older sisters, Marilyn and Marcia Hunter, (10 and 11 years older than I) knew Glen Milbrath well. I was friends with Aldon when we were kids. It sounds like you’re living on our old farm, which was on the West side of the highway and the farmstead one mile north of town. My dad sold the farm to Paul Heidbrieder in the 70s. I’ll probably be back to ND and Gardena this coming summer, and I’ll stop by to say hi and see the old farmstead, although I know it doesn’t look anything like it did when I was a kid.

      Sam Hunter

  4. I, too, have driven through Gardena at various times when in Bottineau on vacation. Many good dances were held in that town. In order to attend those dances, my friend and I had to go with her brother and then usually had to find our own way home and then wait in the car in the garage until he decided to come home so it would look like we all came home together!! Wonder if her Mom ever caught on??? It’s a sorry sight to see these towns. On another vacation we took a classmate and wife and toured the area to see just how much was left in all the smaller towns – sad to say, not much. I graduated from Bottineau High School in 1954.

  5. Hi, I’m Sandy Marks, nee Sandra Block. I went to school in Gardena and graduated from High School There. It is sad to see all these building empty and deteriorating. Brings back lots of memories.


  6. My Parents were Wilbur and Eva Miller. My dad had a farm a few miles from Gardena which my brother (Harold) took over. I attended Gardena HS until it closed. My sister and I often rode horseback to Gardena to visit our friends. I remember going to wedding dances and basket ball games in the town hall. I’m living and working in Bristol, England now but will be returning to the US soon. I hope I get a chance to drive through Gardena when I get back. Thanks so much for sshowing theses pics.

  7. I went to school there in 1960s. I was horrifled to hear when they tore down the school instead of converting it to apartments or anything! Then it was 60 kids grades 1-8 and two grandmothers, Mrs. Lentz and Mrs. White did the cooking. We had fresh homemade buns every Friday!!
    The auditorium is where we held our Christmas programs every year and the Sunday after school was out for the summer was a pot luck dinner in the basement. The men would play base/softball across the street.
    We got our milk and popsicles at the Red and White Store. Across the street was the Corner Cafe. Two general stores were still in business then and it was a treat to go into them.
    No one forgets that wonderful town who had anything to do with it!!

  8. The store that was onced named the Hahn store, was it was owned by the Hahn’s earlier realtives that still live in that area? Like Mildred Hahn and Roger Hahn? Just curious because that was my great grandma and my grandpa

    1. Hi Lauren,

      Roger’s grandparents Carl and Lena Hahn ran a store in Gardena, I don’t know who took it over. Carl and Lena are my great-great-grandparents, too.

  9. Hi, I remember most of you, who have posted stories. I lived in Gardena in the early 50s…I was in the class of 57 …(graduated from Carrington) My dad was the manager of the O and M elevator there. We lived in the house next to Hunters store. I think Harold Brusletten bought it and then Howard Lentz I was surprised to see how nice it looked when were there about 5 years ago. My mother,Ida Machart played the accordian with The Dakota Ramblers. Mom and dad and my sister, Faye are gone now, but the twins live in Bis/Man , also my brother, Greg. I wish someone would post names of the places in the photos, because it is hard to remember .I talked to Nina Zorn in Minot shortly before she died..and visited with Marlene Zimmerman a few times…I think I saw Myron Hahn in (Lake Havasu City, Arizona a couple years ago, but not sure. Anyway, it was a nice trip down memory lane…Elsie

  10. I am pretty sure that the Hahn’s store was run by my relatives. Carl and Lena Hahn, but that was back in the early 1900s. My great-grandma, Emma White, ran the Gardena lunch program and my dad and his sisters went to school here for a time growing up.

  11. I am Marcia Hunter Fridland who was born in 1929 when my parents, Frank and Marion Hunter, lived on the Lovina Hunter farm about one mile north of Gardena. In 1937 my parents bought the George Stewart general merchandise store and renamed it “Hunter’s Red and White Store.” We lived in the little four-room apartment adjoining the store on the south side until my parents bought the Fairfield house on the east side of town and just south of Gardena Public School.
    I graduated in 1947 from that High School which was on the second floor of the building. I loved that school and hated to see that it was gone when I returned for a brief visit many years later
    My classmates were Glen Milbrath, Byron Bollinger, Ila Bollinger, Glenn Klebe, Romona White, and my sister Marilyn. Every important occasion related to extra-curricular activities took place in the town hall, and I was really disappointed to see that building gone in October, 2011, when my four daughters and I drove through main street.

    1. I was so pleased to see the responses of individuals who lived in and around Gardena in days gone by. I was especially pleased to read the ones from Elise Machart and from Sam and Marcia Hunter. Would love to get in contact with Elsie as we were confirmed together and in the same class in high school. Althought we live in Grand Forks, we still have a farm and land near Gardena, we are in the area often. Joyce (Gienger) Medalen and Rodney Medalen

      1. Hi Joyce,
        I was good friends with Rodney while we were growing up. I went off to Bottineau High School and I think he went to Willow City, didn’t he? If you and Rodney want to email me, my email address is Hope to hear from you.

        Sam Hunter

  12. It is so neat to hear the history of Gardena! We live in the Hunter’s old home by the ball diamond. We have had the pleasure of meeting a few of the family members shortly after moving into the house. They witnessed the chaos of all our moving in!! My husbands family bought the house from the Hunters in 1977 and we bought it from them in 2010. We have found some of the old stores ledgers and it has been so neat to see how things have changed!! If you guys would like us to mail them to you we’d sure be happy too. Thanks for the neat stories about the house when you stopped by!
    LaMoyne and Keturah Herrmann

    1. Hi, Keturah and LaMoyne, I am so surprised and pleased to know you found some of the ledgers from the old store. I had no idea they existed and would sure like to take a look at them. My address is: Marcia Hunter Fridland, 4001 Heritage Hills Dr, Unit 107, Bloomington, Minnesota 55437. My sister Gay and I visited with you during the summer of 2010 when we drove through Gardena. That day has been a delightful memory for us all. I remember especially your adorable children. Your daughter gave me a flower she had planted and
      nurtured herself. I thought, “This is a family that will love this house as much as I always did.” I doubt that you could possibly know how much we enjoyed your generous hospitality. Thank you. Marcia

  13. Hi again…..saw your post, Joyce Geinger….I remember you too…I live in Carrington now and go to Lake Havasu City in the winter…..My E Mail address is; are leaving for arizona soon, but will take my lap top for e mail and facebook….would love to hear from any of you…Love Elsie Machart Wagner

  14. My brother Allan Tohm and I visited Gardena yesterday…. It so sad to see everything gone. So many memories from that little town. My sisters Dorothy and Sherry Graduated from Gardena. The high school closed and Sue and Allan finished highs cool in Bottineau, at that time the Gardena school went to the 8th grade. Rick, Peggy, Bonnie and I finished 8th grades in Gardena also and than onto Bottineau!

  15. What a joy to read all of these posts! My family moved there when I was little, late 70’s to early eighties, but I remember those times well! We lived next to the Beuchlers and the Torgesons. I believe I know who LaMoyne is as we used to play together as children. We were there when the big grain elevators where burned down. I still remember the smell of the General Store…and I remeber the Hahns and the Milbraths too…good times.

    One winter night, while my parents were in Minot shopping, my brother left the stove door open and caused a chimney fire that burned a good part of our old Victorian two story house down. Neighbors from all around made a line to carry out what furniture they could save…I wish I knew where to get a copy of that newspaper clipping. You can just see my sister and I standing out in the snow as chaos ensued. Ahh the memories….

  16. I happened to stumble upon this website by accident but love it. Our family had many reunions and get togethers in Gardena (Bullinger’s, Zahn’s, Zorn’s, Hasenwinkle’s, etc) and this site brought back so many memories. Sometimes being nostalgic can be a bit depressing. I thought we used to roller skate in the gym that is pictured but maybe I am recalling Kramer. My memory fails me on that item. I recall singing at a few weddings and maybe funerals in the church as well.

    Thank you for the memories, what a great and care free time!

  17. The Gardena Guards and the Omemee Chiefs competed yearly, most of the time the Guards won
    I grew up in Omemee, but knew many people from Gardena
    Hahns, Herb, Olga, Gordon, Stanford, Beverly, Myron, Biermans, Bollingers, Paulsons,Reinke Housenwinkle,
    I graduated from Bottineau in 1952 with Duane Neering
    The people from Gardena were great

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