venturia20

Venturia, ND

Mcintosh County
Inhabited as of 5/11

Venturia is located in a very sparsely populated region of the state, near the South Dakota border and just east of the Missouri river, near Ashley.

When we arrived in Venturia, we were excited by the photo opportunities but we needed a break from the rain.  It took us a few minutes of sitting in the car before we realized the neon sign on the bar behind us was lit — OPEN.

Inside, we met Don, the owner of the “Duck Inn,” a bar that could also double as his living room.  We had a beer and he showed us his 104-year-old pool table.  He was born and raised in Venturia, then left to see the world before returning to become the town barkeep.  Although we were the only people in the place, he said he was expecting a good crowd of people from surrounding towns since it was Memorial weekend.  Rat bought a t-shirt that said “Duck Inn and Waddle Out.”  According to Don, there are 21 people in Venturia.

There was no shortage of photo opportunities in Venturia — we got shots of an abandoned lumber yard, an armory, and the train depot which appears to be undergoing restoration.

That’s the Duck Inn, center in the photo above.

The now abandoned Venturia Lumber Company.

Yes, I’d like a one-way ticket to anywhere, please.

Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Comments
39 Responses to “Venturia, ND”
  1. Linda Stevens says:

    That was so cool! I enjoyed reading about this town. Loved the Duck Inn slogan. What I wanna know – was the beer cold and did Don know of any “ghosts” in town? LOL

  2. Jen says:

    My great great grandfather used to run, maybe own the lumberyard in Venturia. I love McIntosh county. Both of my parents are from that area and I have spent A LOT of time there as well. This area means so much to me and it is truely a very unique and special plac
    e.

    • Oliver says:

      I know this area well. My great-grandparents settled in McIntosh Co. My father grew up in Ashley. A place to get away from it all.

  3. Andrea Hicks says:

    One Christmas I snowmobiled across the snowy fields to stop for a warm drink at the Duck Inn. My family is from Ashley, ND so Venturia was a perfect snow ride away.
    Keep up the wonderful story telling of North Dakota. A wonderful place and great people.

  4. Dave D says:

    How many concrete municipal buildings are there like that in ND? There’s one in Hensel too.

  5. Sharon Klemm says:

    The inside of the train station is just beautiful.

  6. Jon says:

    Back in the late 1980s and early 90′s the “armory” or city hall was purchased for $600 by an Ashley resident named Bob Delzer (who still lives in Ashley). Bob is a rock music encyclopedia (especially if you want to know anything about KISS) and was also an amateur promoter and used to book some kick-ass bands to play the hall. These events always drew a large crowd from across the region (to the point that you could hardly move because the place was so packed) and on several occasions were visited by the local State’s Attorney and the county sheriff’s department, who tried to shut the place down for what they called “violation of the fire code.” The real reason was because a local minister didn’t like the music or the fact that the area young people were being “adversely influenced” by the place. The Duck Inn always did well on those nights too!

  7. Spencer Schneider says:

    This town is a awesome town. a good chunk of immediate family lives here and Forbes as well. really surprised you guys wrote about these places.

  8. Mark J says:

    The rail station in Venturia has got to be an identical twin to the one in Egeland, ND which is on the complete opposite side of the state! Color scheme and everything. I was in Egeland last October. They must have had a few standard floor plans, but I don’t know off the top of my head if these cities were on the same rail lines (IE NP, GN). Interesting….anyone have any insight?

    • John A. Stangeland says:

      Both Venturia and Egeland were on the Soo Line. Yes, the railroads had set plans for their buildings. For depots, they would have like 3 or 4 plans depending on the size of the city/town. They would be Class 1, Class 2, etc. The building plans tended to be identical within a Class. However, that said, I think with the larger depots (Class I ?) there tended to be much more leeway in the design, at least on the outside appearance. I think on the NP, and probably other railroads, they also had a ‘Passenger Station’ classification. And these larger depots were probably all somewhat different. But I’m guessing that with the Class 2 and 3 depots they pretty much looked the same.

  9. I remember being a new teacher out here in 1988 when the city hall was host to some great concerts. It is very sparce with people out here, so it was quite a shock to see so many kids come out from the woodwork.

  10. Desiree says:

    My mother grew up in Venturia in the early 1930′s. It was a booming town back then with 2 grocery stores, the lumber yard, the depot, 2 elevators, 2 bars, city hall, numerous churches, an elementary school, and at least two gas stations. There were always activities going on at city hall.
    My uncle, Art Tesky and his wife Pauline, had a butcher shop and also owned the Chevy garage which has since fallen down. It is the building that has fallen next to city hall.
    I spent many days there during my childhood.
    A number of my uncles played for the town’s softball team.
    The Jacob Tesky family held their family reunions at city hall for many years.
    As kids, in the 60′s, we used to love to go through the old abandoned houses to see what treasures we could find.
    My father grew up in Greenway, SD, just south of Venturia. On Friday nights the Bertsch boys would head to Venturia and light up the town.
    Lots of great memories from Venturia.

    • John A. Stangeland says:

      Amost all small towns (as well as large and larger towns) had amateur baseball teams up until around 1960, when softball, especially slow-pitch softball started taking over.

  11. barb wojtysiak says:

    so cool my mom’s family farmed there many yrs ago

  12. Indeskies says:

    I was in one of those bands that played at the Dog House MANY times… it was so much fun – I will never forget it… the best had to be the fact that after the show, the party went to the basement of the Dog House and that was when the fun began … the party never stopped….. Once the sun came out, everyone went back to Bob’ house in Ashley and crashed in his basement – oh the good times!!! Bobs the Greatest, Venturia is the Greatest, and I remember Don ALWAYS had the best Jag…. lol

  13. John Miller says:

    Do you remember my name John Miller from Ashley. How about 3 day weekends we would do the same things on Sunday night as well

  14. Leah (Arnold) O'Leary says:

    I grew up in this wonderful little town where my Dad managed the elevators that you see in the photos above. I have the best childhood memories of being raised here…Desiree (above) mentioned her uncle, Art Tesky, and his service station. I can’t even count the number of Pepsi’s with peanuts I drank on the little bench in front of that station with friends as we took our breaks from tearing up the town on our bikes. Many years ago, the little general store owned by Mike & Maggie Ritter was right across the street from the station. That store had everything! My brother and I attended school there with 13 other kids in grades 1 – 8. Some grade levels didn’t have any students, a few had only 1 or 2, but my class was one of the largest with 3…and one of them was my cousin! We spent hours and hours exploring that little town. I knew many of the old buildings shown in the photos like the back of my hand. My brother is great friends with Donny from the Duck Inn. I knew the bar mostly from earlier days. If those walls could talk, what stories they’d tell!! Thank you for this great little trip down memory lane!

  15. Bender says:

    Why no pictures of the beautiful church that is still meeting there?

  16. Dan says:

    Was there in August 2011 traveling in the area for work. Stopped by to look around and much to my surprise the open sign was on. We stopped in and had a few beers and then he asked where we were from. I told him small town in eastern Iowa, he says him bartender helper is from a small town in eastern Iowa too! I said DeWitt by chance??? he looked up and said YES thats it!!! What a small world. We also bought a tee shirt. I’m in the area again this year an will be driving up there tomorrow I hope it’s still open!

  17. Shelley Ritter Geesey says:

    My grandparents, Mike and Maggie Ritter owned the grocery store. My father was August Ritter who married Patty Breitling from Venturia. I have many memories in Venturia, helping grandma cook at the schoolhouse which had two Huge classrooms only. We roller skated in the memorial building for parties. Great place. Great memories.

  18. Sue (Haas) Kleinsasser says:

    my dad grew up on a farm west of Venturia and my great-grandparents had home there. My uncle owns the lumber yard that looks abandoned, he stored his combining equipment in there for many years. We were down there about a year ago and he let us go through it and I found several things, some old windows and the coolest door with window pains in it .I’m hoping someday when we build a house to use in it as a reminder of the place where my dad grew up. I love the old depot and always have to look in the windows and imagine too “if walls could talk”.

  19. Doug Dockter says:

    My hometown! Fond memories. 2 room schoolhouse; same 4 classmates for all 8 grades; same teacher grades 1 – 4 (Mrs. Rhome), grades 5 – 8 (Mrs. Schlenker); school cook was Aunt Maggie; great meals (even homemade ice cream sometimes); probably why I weighed more in grade school than I do now! buying candy cigarettes (yes you could do that) at Uncle Mike Ritter’s grocery store and also watching him candle eggs in the back room; drinking Grape Nehi and eating dreamcicles at Diede’s cafe/creamery; rollerskating at the Legion Hall; school plays at the City Hall; Dad was the postmaster for many years and when he retired Mom took over.

  20. Shelley Ritter Geesey says:

    My husband and I retired to Elgin ND. Lived in California Bay Area for 25 years. Are you still in the area? I’m on Facebook if you like to reminisce. I would enjoy that.

  21. August Dockter says:

    What great memories these photos bring back. I remember we actually took a grade school class trip on a train out of that Depot to Ashley!

  22. Marlyn Kauk says:

    I have been there. My late husband’s niece lives on a farm near there. This is what a lot of towns are beginning look like in ND. Lehr is very similar. I was born in Wishek.

    • Carla Strunk says:

      My Great Grandparents immigrated to McIntosh County from the Ukraine in the late 1890′s. The Railroad was advertising land out there. They were called Russian Germans because the groups had left Germany in the 1700.s lived a few hundred years on the Black Sea area before coming to N Dakota. I believe my Grandmother was born near or in Wishek. Does Wishek still exist? I would love to see pictures of it or know of any news. I someday would like to travel there however I don’t know where they lived but am pretty sure they farmed and lived in mud or prairie houses with the grass roofs.

  23. Marlene Eichelberg says:

    My grandmother was born in Greenway, lived in Streeter, she and my mother would take the train to Venturia, must have been back in the 20′s or earlier. My neice and her family live nearby on a farm Albert and Coreen Schumacher and their children..

  24. matt hirsch says:

    Doug Dockter my name is Matt my wife and I bought your parents house from them in 2002 after they moved to Ashley! Your mother was a very nice lady that took us out to the house to show us around and even though your dad had trouble speaking we had a nice talk. Just wanted to let you know we love going out there for hunting and fishing we have made a lot of memories with family and friends and we are keeping the house maintained, we live in Park Rapids mn.

  25. I moved to Venturia with my parents, Andrew and Mona Jarske, and brother Paul Jarske, in 1938 when
    I was ten years old. My father was the Soo Line Railroad depot agent and we lived upstairs in the depot
    pictured. We lived there for five years. My friends and I learned to dance and roller skate in the waiting
    room of the depot. My father played on a baseball team when we lived in Venturia.

  26. Jason Haas says:

    Thanks to those responsible for posting these wonderful pictures! My grandparents, Asoph and Ernestine Haas, lived in the southwest corner of Venturia from 1959 until the 1990′s. The collapsing single car garage pictured belonged to my grandparents. Before moving to town, they lived on a farm about two miles to the southwest. My other grandmother lived in Ashley, which is a big town compared to Venturia, but my brothers and I always had more fun in Venturia! During the 60′s, my grandfather worked at the elevator and I would hang around there, watching them work the scales and dump the grain from the trucks. Grandpa would even buy me a bottle of pop from the pop machine. I also remember him taking my brothers and me to the cafe for an ice cream cone. And we always had to make a trip to the grocery store to buy candy. The city park still has some playground equipment, but one of the pieces of equipment that was the most fun has been removed. It would whip you around, lift you off the ground and briefly give you the sensation of flying. Ashley didn’t have anything like that! Which was probably one of the reasons it was removed — too dangerous!!! Thank you everyone for sharing your memories of Venturia. They brought back a lot of memories of my own.

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  1. […] We captured these photos of Venturia, North Dakota in May of 2011.  According to Don, the town’s barkeep at the Duck Inn, Venturia has 21 residents. These are some additional shots that didn’t make it into the main Venturia gallery. […]



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