Return to Merricourt

Dickey County
Inhabited as of 5/11

Merricourt is located in south central North Dakota, twenty minutes from the South Dakota border.  The photos are from a return visit, six years after our last.

At least one person or family (with a couple dogs) still lives in Merricourt.  We saw someone mowing the lawns when we were there.  We were disappointed to see much falling into disrepair in Merricourt… the bank has had all its windows smashed out and the door kicked in.  The community center looked like it might still occasionally be used when we were there in 2005, but it is clearly not anymore.  The steps are crumbling and the basement is filled with water.

I was able to post a status update and a blog post from my phone in Merricourt.  Who knew?

Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

20 Responses to “Return to Merricourt”
  1. Dash says:

    What a shame – it’s one thing for time and elements to take their toll, but there is no excuse for stupidity of vandalism

  2. Optik says:

    That’s very sad. I did a photo tour of ND in 2009 and the doors and windows in the bank were intact at that time. That vandalism is pretty recent. That’s a beautiful part of the state. So quiet. One weird thing we noticed was that one of the abandoned structures had hundreds and hundreds of plastic cell phone parts resting in the doorway. Strange.

  3. It’s interesting to see how much this place has changed. I photographed there extensively in 2004-2005. For more then & now comparisons, you can see the project on my website:

  4. Corey says:

    I still think the town has a lot to tell! It is still one of my favorite places to be! My parents grew up in the area and its fun to put a visual to some of their stories! I was fortunate enough to have observed some of Merricourt while the town was still functioning. But yes sara you are right the town has really been reconsumed by Mother nature.

  5. nina says:

    Thank you for sharing the pictures. My mom was born there in 1943 and I have great appreciation for Merricourt hearing stories of her childhood on the farm. I visited the town with her in the early 90’s and the restaurant still had place settings at the tables, everything covered in cobwebs and dirt. Her house was still barely standing, as was the elevator my grandfather worked at. She removed some glass doorknobs from her old house before mother nature (or vandals) devoured it. I read some time ago that a wind power company has purchased the town and plans to redeem it. I would like to see any building still standing to be renovated. What a neat place, thank you again!!

  6. nina says:

    I found this article that is from June 2011 about the wind project. It has a lot of details. VERY INTERESTING’s-Permit-Merricourt-Wind-Project-Approved

    The company is called enXco and it is called the Merricourt Wind Project. The article states all permits have been successful and the project is a-go….

  7. Mayble Horton says:

    I had money in that bank at one time. Would love to go back. I would hang out at the old

  8. Marcy says:

    The house in disrepair above was the home of my husbands grandmother. She moved there from her farm “down the tracks” when she got older. We were back just this summer and were shown around town by it’s single resident, John, who told us stories about both her and the town in their heyday.

  9. Zeke says:

    I was there Sept 8, 2012. No water in the basement of the community center but obvious it hasn’t been used in a long time. Some no trespassing/private property signs that were shiny new. No one around that I saw.

  10. I believe the brick elevator is the ONLY brick elevator I’ve seen in N.D. It is quite a picture when the sun shines just right.

  11. elizabeth keith says:

    i remember the diner… is it still standing?or is that little building the bank?
    i remember after the elevator was closed down,us local kids would shoot squab for dinner… they had a lot of grain fed fat on ‘em. lol.
    i also remember there being real outrage on Halloween that some vandals knockedover gravestones..

  12. hazel davidson says:

    Our family was born and grew up in the merricourt area. My dad had a wheat farm as a lot of his family did too. i loved these photos, the bank was a liquor store as i remember and we used to haul grain to those elevators. we used to go to dances in the dance hall.

  13. Mike Reinke says:

    I still own the elevators. My dad bought them from PV company when the wood elevator to the west caught fire. Reinhold Stark was manger then. The house he lived in is the gray one in the pictures of town. After the elevator burnt he became a bartender at the old bank. The café (Do-drop-in ) across the street to the west was owned and operated by Edith M. She made the best burgers in the country.

    • Liz Miller says:

      Aunt Edith did make the absolute best burgers in the country. Ate many, many of her burgers and fries! I remember going to the old grocery store with my mom many times.

  14. elizabeth keith says:

    we went to school together mike, right/=?
    cool. glad to see those were preseved. i remember darrel bartell
    going sqab shooting there.

  15. Shirly says:

    My parents farmed several miles northeast of Merricourt. In the 60’s we attended school (grades 1-6), church, dances and visited grandparents friends and relatives in this sweet town. At that time there was a grocery store, post office, bar, the hall, cafe, elevator, a city park, 2 churches, depot for the soo line RR, and Standard oil gas. I worked in the grocery store and remember giving Mrs Harter a ride home many time after she walked to town from the hills about 8-10 miles away. She was 80 plus years old. She did this in the winter and summer. Everyday. I still put flowers on her grave every year as kind of an apology for those days I didn’t do it.
    Yes Mike she had the best burgers EVER.
    Wonderful memories of Merricourt.

  16. Jacob says:

    The last inhabitants of the town are actually from my family Last name is Pahl, I believe my family were one of the many families in that area if i can recall, Wilbert Pahl, Henry Pahl, and Lillian Pahl are some i can list off Lillian and Henry are my grandparents. I’ve gone through the town a couple times and got some shots of the opera house and elevators, it doesn’t seem the elevators age but the rest has seen better days, sadly the opera house and elevators are the ones in the best of shape.

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