Pelto, North Dakota is a town that no longer exists, except in the memory of those who grew up here. Located in Nelson County, between Grand Forks and Devils Lake, Pelto is an example of a settlement that has vanished with the railroad transportation culture that birthed it.
In the era of the steam locomotive, there was a town every eight miles along the track, where engines could stop and refill their water tanks. Today, the tracks still pass just north of the site of Pelto, and there’s a nearby farm that looks abandoned, but nearly everything else has vanished.
Nathan Mastrud contributed these photos of Pelto with the following comments:
Pelto is about 42 miles east of Devils lake. The only thing that really remains of the town is a Pelto tombstone. The fields that surround Pelto are slowing filling with water, abandoned farmsites & pelicans. The road to Pelto is Closed and has water up to the shoulder for most of the trip.
The information on the memorial reads:
Pelto Merc Store-Closed 1957
Enterprise Consolidated School-Consolidated 1915-Closed 1969
Finnish Lutheran Church Established 1899
A single metal milk container remains standing.
There are only a few skeletons of the foundations buried in deep prairie grass with a couple automobile parts dumped in the swamp.
Photos by Nathan Mastrud and Punchgut Studio
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy