Charbonneau, ND

McKenzie County
Vacant as of 6/10

Charbonneau, ND is in a very sparsely populated area of western North Dakota. As far back as 1960, Charbonneau had already been de-listed from the Census. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Charbonneau was founded in 1913 and a peak population of 125 was reported in 1920. Charbonneau’s name was derived from nearby Charbonneau Creek, which was in turn named for the interpreter on the Lewis & Clark expedition, Toussaint Charbonneau.

Our friend John Piepkorn contributed these photos with the following comments:

The attached pictures are from Charbonneau. It is a true ghost town west of Alexander and about a mile south of Highway 200 in McKenzie County. The post office closed in the 1960’s and is no longer there. The school in still standing, but the ceiling is starting to crumble. There is a small cemetery up on the hill as you enter the town from the North and a couple of grain elevators that appear to be in decent shape. There are also two houses that are still standing, one of which, I took a couple of interior shots, and also an interior shot of the school.



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19 Responses to “Charbonneau, ND”
  1. Jim Quickstad says:

    I rented a farm house in Charbonneau 1974-1976 when I started as Deputy Sheriff in McKenzie Co. My patrol area was Williston to Squaw Creek, the Montana border to Alexander. I became Sheriff of McKenzie Co in 1976 and moved into Watford City. Many memories of that area and people who lived there.

    Jim Quickstad

  2. John Piepkorn says:

    I didn’t even notice when I was taking the interior shot of the house with the wild wallpaper, but there are 3 barn swallows sitting in the nest at the top of the picture.

  3. Paul Kahle says:

    My Mom lived here as a young girl in the mid 1920’s. She has fond memeries of it. It’s fun for me to see the pictures.

  4. My mother was born in Charbonneau in the 20’s. Her madian name was alice Smith. Could anyone give me any information, we have no family history for this time frame. Thank you!

  5. John Moss says:

    My mother grew up in Charbonneau. Thats were I was born (I will not say the year lol). Her madin name was Johnson. Love the town was or still is great place to live.

  6. Fox says:

    I just stopped by to take some pictures of Charbonneau and I was there for 20 or so mins. In that time there was at least ten oil trucks that rolled though the intersection of town. Sadly I’m sure that is more traffic than that town saw at its peak.

    • Ruth Lang says:

      I spent many summers with my grandmother and uncle just down the road. I recognize all pictures. I have many wonderful memories of Charbonneau and all the great people who lived there. Ruth from Detroit LakesMN

  7. Tim Pederson says:

    My mother went to school in Charbonneau when she was a little girl – the 1940s? We go out once in awhile to see how the ol’ town is doing. Her family farmed north of Charbonneau in Elk Township.

  8. Shelley Ditsworth Ellis says:

    I believe my father was born there. Willis Newman Ditsworth was his name, and his father J. G. had the Ditsworth General Hardware Store there, I think. Does this sounds familiar to anyone?

  9. Tracy (Thorgramson) Lawrance says:

    My father, George Thorgramson ran the elevator there for many years along with the Cartwright elevator. My sister Dixie and I have many fond memories of Charbonneau. My sister has passed away and so has my Dad so I haven’t been over by the little ghost town in prob 4 years but we always loved to check it out to see what changed.What great memories from our early years. While my dad was running the elevator there was still a man that lived in one of the homes once he passed it was only Dad in town a couple times a week..

  10. Chris M. says:

    Can you explore the buildings legally or do you need permission from the current

  11. Chris M. says:

    I would like to explore the school

  12. Jon Gravning says:

    My father was born there in 1924. His mother and newborn sister died there in 1926 and are buried in the cemetery.

  13. Terry Freije says:

    My aunt had that wallpaper in her kitchen, even worse, my mother helped her put it up!

  14. Charmaine Campany says:

    I have an old postcard picture of my relatives- the post card is addressed to my great grandfather LeRoy Stanton, Lowville, NY. The names are listed as Carl Kelly and Clifford Millard (cousins to LeRoy). It reads, Dear Friends: I am well and hope you are the same. I am working on a ranch and helping break broncos. Start plowing with them tomorrow. From your friend Carl Kelly c/o Joseph Braddock North Dakota Charbonneau….it is postmarked 1917

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