grassybutte2

Grassy Butte, ND

McKenzie County
Inhabited as of 6/10

Grassy Butte, ND is in a very sparsely populated area of western North Dakota. It does not appear in any of the census records back as far as 1960, but it reportedly harbored 100 citizens at one time.

Monica Hardy contributed these fantastic photos with the following comments: The building that looks like a church in the background of the post office/museum pictures are of a private home. Someone renovated the home. There were other bldgs in the town that had been renovated into private homes. This town is very close to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park..no hotels located in this town at present.

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Comments
22 Responses to “Grassy Butte, ND”
  1. Robyn says:

    Cute little museum, stopped in there in 08, ran by a retired lady..cannot remember her name off the top of my head.

  2. Robert Morlock says:

    Great Pics, thanks Monica.

  3. Char says:

    Are these buildings there now, or are these old pictures? Thanks

    • pojo says:

      The buildings are still there and in use. By the looks of it, these pictures are recent, since the gas station had a face-lift within the past few years. There is also a fire hall, community hall, a Lutheran church, county shop, a construction company, and a bar. Still a thriving community.

  4. Dawn says:

    I have been here before. But for the life of me I can’t remember when or why. The picture with the museum and the church sparked that memory. Very cool picture.

  5. L W Wilson says:

    I am virtually certain that Grassy Butte has the claim to fame of being the last and only operational sod post office in the US, until the ’60s

    • larry says:

      A Bismarck artist named Gary Miller did a print of the sod post office. He did a series of dilapidated farms & outbuildings, including an old stone barn S of Mandan. I have a few — they are some of my favorites. Miller used to have a shop in Bismarck, on ? corner of 3rd & Broadway, and another in ?Scottsdale AZ.

  6. gail says:

    The Post office museum is made of logs with a sod roof – built in 1912as a store, used as a post office from 1914 until 1962. Contains a collection of items used back in the ‘good old days’.

  7. Shelley Westerlund Phillippe says:

    My Aunt Maybelle Westerlund Zumwinkle was a teacher in Grassy Butte back in the late early 1930′s. I have old photos of her students and the area. She was born outside Keene, ND Mackensie county ND along with my Aunt Ethel and my Dad Chester E. Westerlund. Would love to take a road trip there someday!

  8. Kay Opgrande says:

    The sod museum was the post office and was photographed in a Life magazine issue during the 50′s . New post office came into being about 1962. Dances were regular Saturday events in the town Hall in the 50′s and 60′s (when I was a teenager growing up on a ranch 14 miles south). The white Church is Catholic and hosted “annual hunter’s supper” in the 70′s and perhaps 80′s and held summer mass. The Methodist Church was active into the 60′s (maybe longer). There was an elementary school taught for several years by Mrs Lucille Knudtson (who is still living).
    The little grocery was handy and 10 miles closer than a trip to ‘town’. The oil boom has probably increased the population today.

  9. Mysterious One says:

    I am from Grassy Butte…although, I won’t admit it–I claim the Badlands as my home!! Yes, the Catholic church renovated a few years back and is now a private residence. They had some great Hunter’s Suppers there and men came from all over to hunt and attend this event every year!! Also, the elementary school was closed about 10 years ago and renovated in to a private residence. There was another gas station that had a pool table and arcade game run by Lamphear’s and I think that closed maybe 8 years ago–I think it may have burned down. And yes…the dances were great–people came from Belfield, Dickinson, Killdeer, Watford City, Williston, and Fairview/Sidney. They were alot of fun and had some great bands that came to play!! I remember dances in the late 70′s to mid-80′s, then I moved away, so don’t know exactly when they stopped completely. I think the old hall burned down when that other gas station burned down. The worse part about living there was an hour and a half school bus ride…one way!!

    • Shelley Westerlund Phillippe says:

      My Aunt Maybelle Westerlund Zumwinkle taught school in Grassy Butte back in about the mid 1920′s. I have photographs from her teaching years. She was born in a sod house in Keene, ND as was another Aunt and my Dad. Shelley

    • Janeen says:

      Why wont you say you were from Grassy Butte? I think I was related to the whole town and loved visiting my grandparents, aunts and uncles, even though we only went back in the summers, over the 4th of July.

  10. Tom says:

    Beautiful little town…. I live in florida… Ill trade place for a week… summer only tho… Im near disney Ill get you resident discount to the park…. lol…. I can only wish….

  11. Billy says:

    I was raised near Sentinel Butte nd live in Mandan I miss western No.Dak. I love my westren NDak
    heritage I think Sentinel Butte is a neat city went to school in the 1950s and 60s
    miss the good old days go back to wisit often

  12. fred schumacher says:

    There are two high resolution photos of Grassy Butte taken by Arthur Rothstein in 1936 available at Shorpy’s old photo website. http://www.shorpy.com/search/node/grassy+butte Click on the pictures for enlargements.

  13. Dewain Barber says:

    My mother, Mariam Hanson lived just outside of town on the Hanson homestead in the1920′s and early 1930′s. She frequently went back to visit and stopped by the post office where the family homestead is shown. The homestead is currently located within the Roosevelt park.

  14. Celeste says:

    I’m from Watford City and I worked road construction on 85 right by Grassy Butte the summer of 2000. I remember loading up on sunflower seeds and granola bars from the gas station before my shift every day. We had our company picnic at the city park. I recall hearing someone telling me that the post office was shut down just recently…

  15. Nancy Lopez says:

    My grandfather, Axel Shjeflo homesteaded 160 acres about a mile west of Lake Ilo, a few miles south of Dunn Center in 1909. He married Judith Rudd fron Yankton, SD, and they started their family in that little sod house. In 1916, they decided to take up ranching and moved to the edge of the Little Missouri Badlands, about 9 miles north of Grassy Butte. During the next 25 years, they lived in 14 different places in and near Grassy Butte, Kildeer, Halliday, Medora, and Dickinson – with five children in tow. They ceased farming and ranching during the “dirty thirties” and Axel began working on construction of roads, bridges, and dams for Dunn County, Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Parl, North Dakota State Highway Dept., and Garrison Dam.

  16. Bev Lazorenko Deem says:

    My Dad’s brother homesteaded 7 miles east of Grassy Butte. Eventually, my Dad acquired that piece of property in addition to 700+ acres. He and Mom raised six children on the farm/ranch. Dad died in 1959 and Mom lived on the property with my oldest brother. Mom left the farm in 1993. She lived to be almost 101 years old. I have very fond memories of Grassy Butte and the surrounding community. I went to Scoria Butte school a mile from our farm. I remember my parents taking cream and eggs to Zubke’s store in exchange for groceries. Mrs. Evans owned the other grocery store. There were two bars–one owned by Dolacheck and the other owned by Denver Marucheck. There were two gas stations owned by Lawrence Westrum and Bill Petrazak. (I apologize for any name misspellings). Georgia Murray would fry hamburgers in her home to feed those who desired a meal. You could always run into neighbors at the Post Office which during my time was operated by Grace Warren. There was a baseball field where the Methodist Church stands where neighbor boys could get together and play a good game. When my parents took cream and eggs to Grassy Butte on a designated day, this was also a time to visit with all the neighbors and catch up on the latest “news.” The dances were the best!! That was a time to meet people of the same age from far and wide and if someone couldn’t do the waltz, 2-step or polka, the band would play the Hokey Pokey so everyone danced at least once. Grassy Butte women who supported the Community Club would serve sandwiches during intermission–a good money raiser for the Community Club. These were the greatest of times!!

  17. Beverly M. says:

    Beverly you spoke about the Hokey pokey, have you forgotten about the butterfly and the good old square dances. Of course you are somewhat younger than I am so maybe our memories differ. I can’t understand the lady that said she would not admit that she grew up at Grassy Butte, I am very proud of having grown up there. Had a wonderful childhood and feel blessed for being allowed to live in that community and with the many wonderful neighbors both near and far. I wish every child could have happy memories of heir childhood such as I have.

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