Forbes, North Dakota

Dickey County
Inhabited as of 5/11

Forbes is east of Venturia, and right on the South Dakota border.  On nearly every trip, we go out looking forward to seeing a certain town, but on the way home, we realize another town was better or more fun.  Forbes was that town on this trip.  The pleasant surprise.

The Schulstad Stone House Museum in Forbes is open May to September by appointment only.


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The view above is Forbes as seen from State Line Road, right on the border with South Dakota. The only road I’ve ever been on where you could pass somebody on the highway and when you’re side by side, you’d be in different states because the state line runs right down the middle of the highway.

There were so many good shots to be taken of this school, we couldn’t put them all here.  Watch for a special gallery on this school coming soon.

This was probably the nicest, best kept little Post Office we’ve seen.  Somebody takes pride in this place.

A little classic firepower out in front of Legion Post 277.

Two lives burned out — first as Forbes State Bank, then as the Long Branch Saloon.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

58 Responses to “Forbes, North Dakota”
  1. Lois Schneider says:

    Forbes is my home town. It is great to see pictures of my past! I do not get back there very often, but was just there over Memorial Day weekend. I’ve followed you guys for while now and sure wish I could have met up with you. I went to school in that building from 2nd grad through high school, graduating in 1973. Thank you for coming to Forbes!

  2. Terry Bobzien says:

    There are many fond memories in this gallery. My dad was President of the School Board when the ‘new’ school was built. I think it was ready in time for the 60-61 school year. The year before, I remember having class at the Legion Hall downtown, due to full rooms in the old school. That baseball field was the scene of hundreds of happy hours watching our high school and adult men’s teams play.

  3. Spencer Schneider says:

    to bad you didn’t get any pictures of the basketball court. both my aunt lois schneider , above person, and my dad as well.

  4. Linda Rehn Janke says:

    I taught in Forbes from the years of 1966-1968. I had the 3rd and 4th grades. I was Mrs. Rehn at the time. Our daughter was born in Ellendale in February of 1968. I am very sad to see how the school looks. It was a wonderful building.

  5. Donna Eszlinger says:

    Forbes was the home place of my grandparents, John and Elizabeth Maier,, They lived right across the street, from the school house. My grandmother would be a house mother to many kids coming in from the rural areas, to attend High school, before there was any rural bus service.. Also we played ball on the ball field many times while visiting our grandparents, and used the swing, slide, and teeter toter on the school ground, since it was easy to walk across the street. What fun times we had in this little town, Later my cousins lived here as well, so again we would visit and run the streets on Sat nights, when folks would come into town to do the weekly shopping, I so remember the Ice cream cones from the cafe on main street.. what pleasant memories. thanks for the photos, but so sad to see the windows broken in at the school house.. thanks again..

  6. Mark J says:

    Wow, the Bank and the Schulstad house are fantastic buildings! I hope someone is able to take care of them. That house could be a great community project.

    • Loren Behm says:

      I remember the 4th of July Rodeo in Forbes in 1981, we rode my motorcycle from Oakes when we lived there. The small Rodeo was great with some big names along with the locals competing. Forbes was very nice town at that time. That was home town Miss Rodeo North Dakota for that year I got to met her a family named Brokol.

      • Lois Schneider says:

        Loren… sounds like great memories. I was raised on a farm and went to Forbes school and still get home to my family farm for visits. They had a great 100 year celebration in 2005. Could the family name of the 1981 ND Miss Rodeo have been Brokaw… with a “w” by chance?

  7. Sue St John says:

    The Brokaw’s of Forbes are related to Tom Brokaw of NBC News.

  8. Jason Haugen says:

    Hi all:

    It’s sad to see the school in such rough shape. I lived in Forbes for the 1980-1981 school year where I attended 3rd grade. My father was the Principal of the school that year (Maurice Haugen). It was a great small town to live in as a kid!

  9. Cathy Morris says:

    Forbes is my most favorite place on this Earth. My Mom was raised there along with her three siblings. The family farm is in your collection of photos. I miss spending the summers there as I did when I was a child. Spending time with my Grandparents and Uncle were the most fun of my life.

  10. Cathy Morris says:

    My Grandparents are Lester and Molly Holmes and my Uncle John Holmes

    • Terry Bobzien says:

      Cathy, John Holmes would be 60 or 61 years old now? I remember him well, and would love to get re-connected with him. Would he or you email me terrybob (at) gmail (dot) com. I went to Forbes schools through the 8th grade. Will look forward to catching up with John (as kids, he was always ‘Johnnie’).

      • Cathy Morris says:


        My Uncle John passed way January 2001 in Forbes. I’m sure he would have enjoyed talking with you again.

    • Lois Schneider says:

      Cathy… Roy Holmes was my classmate, graduating in 1973.

    • Jason Haugen says:

      Hi Cathy!

      I think I remember your Grandfather Lester Holmes. Did he work at the school? If so, he was a very nice man and was very nice to my father and our family. My dad was the principal at the school from 1980-1981.

      • Cathy Morris says:

        Yeah, my Grandfather was great! I miss all of them dearly. I use to come and stay with them for a month in the summer and help out at the school. Always had something fun and exciting to do there.

    • tim kolasch says:

      i’m tim kolasch, graduated in forbes in 85. molly and john holms worked for the school. they were the best people. was an honor to know them.

    • brinda says:

      I remember Lester and Molly. My parents and grandparents were friends of theirs and it was always fun to visit with them.

  11. Terry Bobzien says:

    Thanks for the information, Cathy. Sorry to hear about John’s passing. Lois, I remember Roy, too. The Holmes home on the east side of town was one that my Mother (Rosella Hoffman Bobzien) lived in for a time in her younger years.

  12. Lois Schneider says:

    Lester (Mr. Holmes :-)) picked me up and took me home everyday on the school bus. He kept his kids in order!

    • Kathleen Bennett (BERTSCH) says:

      Yes, I agree MR. Holmes was a VERY GOOD bus driver. Our family lived about 5 miles North of Forbes.
      No buildings left on our family farm any more. If no one knew where it was you’d never find it again.
      We at Forbes also had very good cooks at our school.

  13. Kathy Pratschner says:

    I came across this website while preparing for an upcoming trip to North Dakota and recognized the school and several names in the comments. My dad, Bernard Pratschner taught at Forbes in the the late fifties and early sixties. Our family moved to California in 1963 and have many memories of the area. Mom I intend to visit Forbes in September and check out the old stomping ground.

  14. Arnold Kauk says:

    My Sister and I attended school in Forbes from k thru 12. I graduated in 1970 and my sister in 1967. I enjoyed school and participating in music, sports and plays. My sisters name is Gloria Larson and lives in Independence, MO. My wife and I live in Siverdale, WA. I plan on visiting Forbes summer of 2012. Our parents Robert and Erma Kauk owned Bobs Bar accross from the Long Branch Saloon. The Long Branch Saloon used to be a grocery store. I’m sure that I will see people I know when I visit.

    • Eldora Gulke Braaten says:

      My dad, Ted Gulke, was a county commissioner for twenty-six years in Dickey County. My folks use to play lots of whist together with Molly and Lester. In fact, Molly and Lester were the two people who helped to surprise mom and day on their 40tjh wedding anniversary, Molly called up mom to come in for supper and while eating, Molly & Lesters daugh ter slipped out and made a phone call saying that there was a whist party in the basement o/ f the gym and it was a fundraiser

    • Terry Bobzien says:

      Arnold, I hope you had a good visit last summer. We were in Ellendale and Aberdeen for a few days at the end of June. Woud have liked to catch up to you. We were neighbors on the farm from what–a mile and a half down the road? Where’s Vernon? He was in my class.

    • Arnold, I graduated in 1964. I remember you an Gloria well, we are related. Our mothers where cousins. I live in Coon Rapids, MN.e-mail would love to hear from you, or anyone else from Forbes, sure do miss the dances an basketball games.

  15. Gwendolyn ( Maier) Wolf says:

    I went to school from 5th-12th. I graduated in 1974. I drove bus from 1981-1986 till the school closed. I have been driving for Leola,SD ever since. I have 31 yrs in already. I lived in Forbes a good share of my life in different houses. I believe the house east of the school was the home Pratchener’s also lived in. It is no longer there. I remember so many good times there. I still have lots of family there. Come and see us all!

  16. Lee Vern brotherton says:

    What a treasure I stumbled upon when I saw this collection of photos from Forbes. The comments are much enjoyed as well. Thanks to all of you!

    I grew up on a farm three miles NW of Forbes and graduated from high school there in 1946. In ’49 I taught grades 4, 5 & 6 and in ’50 grades 3, 4, & 5. Mr Newman was my high school teacher and my boss when I returned to teach.

    Terry, your mother was one of my classmates in eighth grade and high school. I always thought she was the most beautiful girl ever.

    Roy Holmes was the school custodian. I was shocked when I heard that he had died in the gym.

    • Terry Bobzien says:

      Great to hear from you, Lee Vern. I have many fond memories of your whole family. I didn’t remember you teaching in Forbes. You had already moved on when I started school in ’53. Where are you living now? We’re in southern Michigan, since ’78.

    • Sharon Stafford Koecher says:

      Lee Vern, I had a good friend in the 3rd and 4th grade, Her name was Linda Brotherton, Is she related, I remember how we started band and she got me to play the clarinet. I think she moved to Ellendale.

      I remember Mr. Newman and he also was my moms High School teacher.

      • Terry Bobzien says:

        Sharon, I hope Lee Vern will pick up on this. Yes, Linda Brotherton Wedell is on Facebook and still living near Ellendale.

        I remember Dean Duell traveling from Aberdeen a couple of times a week to have band practice.

        Virgil Newman was a good friend of the family, one of my Dad’s best friends, my Mom’s teacher and basketball coach, and my Godfather.

      • Lee Brotherton says:

        Linda was my sister (19 years younger than I). I’ll mention you to her. Your mother was our neighbor when we were kids in the hills west of Forbes. Your Uncle Jack used to repair my bicycle.

  17. Alana Engel says:

    So many memories visiting my grandparents west of Forbes. I remember Easter egg hunts at the school and not understanding how on Earth they ever survived in that town …. looking back now, and living in a big city, i get the allure of a quieter, simpler life …

  18. Sherrie Casey says:

    Wow… So nice to see all the wonderful coments and memories about such a wonderful little town. I did not know Forbes in it’s Hay-Day, as I have only been a part of the Casey family for 10 years. My husband is Joshua “Shane” Casey the son of Murray Casey and Grandson of John and Eilene Casey. We spend every Christmas Eve in the Legion Building with the rest of the Casey’s and have enjoyed many of the 4th of July Parties that Forbes has put on. My children stil play in the old school playground that is across the street from Grandma Casey’s house and love to play on the tank at the Legion. Happy Holidays to you all!!!

    • Tricia says:

      Hi Sherrie,

      I just saw this thread posted from Chad Gross. My mom is Jean Casey and and the daughter of Elaine and John Casey. I just went back last year after 17 years. It has not changed a bit and still has that warm home town feel that I remember. such a difference from the Seattle landscape that I live in now.

      Trish Smith (Gunderson)

  19. Joan (Van Kempen) Woessner says:

    My dad, Ralph Van Kempen, was the depot agent at Forbes from 1958 to 1966, when the depot was closed. My sisters and brothers (Sharon, Greg, Ruth, Suzie, Dan) and I still feel like Forbes is our home town. We lived directly across from the school (the picture of the house with the red trim) and across the street from John and Elizabeth Maier. They were like our third set of grandparents. Forbes was THE best place in the world in which a kid could grow up. We had such fun living there. When the weekends would come, we kids would be out the door and scattered to all four corners of the town. Mom and dad never worried about where we were. We’d come home eventually. It’s so sad to see the state of the school. It was so new when we were attending! One of our favorite memories was when we had that huge snow storm in ’65-’66 that created a drift from the top of the school all the way to our back door. We had a ball sledding up and down that hill until the plow forced its way through. Mom and dad are hoping to make a trip there one more time. Maybe this year!!!

  20. Clint says:

    I’m heading to Forbes in 3 weeks…looking forward to seeing some family (Martins, Zahns, Brokaws).

  21. Chuck Zimmerman says:

    My mother and father were raised near Napoleon ND 80+ years ago. Julius Zimmerman and Christine Becker. Mom use to make a meal called Kniffla. Fast forward to today. My Mother-in-law collects old cookbooks and found one at a sale from the Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Forbes ND dated 1965. It had that exact recipe in it. I was looking for a map of the area to see how close it was to Napoleon when I found your website. The recipe was submitted by a Mrs Chris Rall. I scanned the recipe and the front of the cookbook for my siblings to see. If it’s something you would want to add to this page let me know.

  22. Sharon Stafford Koecher says:

    I too attended and graduated from Forbes 1966. I wish there were pictures of the old brick Forbes school. I started in the 3rd grade with Phillis George as my teacher. I was in the old building until I believe the 5th grade then I was in an old school room behind the gym for the 6th and 7th grade, I also had to walk down town to go to classes in the Legion hall. Many Many Memories of Forbes School days and my class mates. I graduated in 1966 with 8 other classmates. The house my Dad, (Gene Stafford) built is in this photo album. It is the little Stone Kote Finished house with the Blue outlined shutter effects. My Dad Also did the stone Kote work. He later traded it for a down payment on a farm 5 mile south of Forbes in South Dakota. That was the Jacob Wolff Farm. I was one of those out of state kids.

    • Terry Bobzien says:

      Sharon, I just found a scanned photo of the Forbes gym and school on Ken Schmierer’s photo site. Check here-!i=2313222456&k=Pj9sgXJ

  23. I graduated from Forbes High School in 1967 and have found the picutres and coments on this site so fun and interesting. They have bring back so many good memories. I get back to Forbes quite often because my parents, Christ and Leona Wolff still live in Forbes. It is sad to see the school is such shambles but this site sheds a new light on the situation. The names of former teachers and students make me remember those years fondly!

  24. David Engraf says:

    I graduated from Forbes High School in 1987, that was the last class to graduate before they closed the school. I enjoyed reading about all the stories and names that had slipped my mind. Lester, Molly and John Holmes were great people. Molly always cooking for us and Lester always cleaning and taking care of things.

  25. Joyce (Bobbe) Knapp says:

    I was born and raised in Forbes and moved away with my family Lorne & Darlene Bobbe in 1985 when I was 19. All of these pictures bring back so many memories and kind of make me sad. Forbes was a great place to grow up. I remember the small town atmosphere and the community all together at basketball games in the gym. Molly and Lester were staples at the school and I remember Principal Haugen ( I was a sophomore). My parents now live in Ellendale and I don’t get back as often as I like but when I do I usually like to take a drive over to Forbes just to drive around and see what has changed and who I can find that I still know. What a great link, thanks for sharing.

  26. Lonnie Newman Wagner says:

    I just stumbled upon this site this morning! My family was just been talking about Forbes last week as we laid my mom, Chickie Newman, to rest on Wed. She died on Feb. 1st at 98 1/2 yrs. My dad, Virgil Newman, died on Sept. 10, 1999. I miss him every day. Our families were sharing memories of growing up in Forbes. My brother, Connie, and i came to Forbes as babies in ’41 and ’42. We left to go to college in ’59 and ’60. It was an idyllic childhood for us: riding bikes all over town, playing ball on a real ball diamond across the street from our home, fishing trips to the Elm, ice cream at Ma’s Cafe, hockey games under the street light by the church. It is a tradition now for us to attend the 4th of July parade and picnic in Forbes every year. It doesn’t last very long but the memories are sweet!

  27. Tanya (Zahn) King says:

    Sherrie, I went to school in Forbes through 9th grade…one of my best friends was Donna Casey:) I have a lot of memories in that little down….My great grandpa Henry used to walk all over the town once they moved in from their farm…everyone knew everyone (that can be good and bad:))….wish the family all my best.

    • Donna (Casey) Clarksean says:

      Tanya we had many good times growing up in Forbes, till the school closed. So hard to see the school in such a poor condition. Went to school from k thru 10th grade. My mom Violet Casey was the secretary for many years.

  28. Bob Sheldon says:

    I also enjoyed seeing these pictures. My mom, Shirley Pett Sheldon (1929-2009), grew up on a farm 2 miles east of Forbes on State Line Road, one farm away from the white Lutheran church (West fork of the Elm River flowed thru our ranch). My grandfather, John Pett moved to the area in about 1918 or so. I spent about a month every summer in the 60’s and 70’s in Ellendale and Forbes so I recognize all these buildings. I live in suburban Seattle, and shared this link with a friend’s mother who also lives in my town. She’s a Wolff and her grandparent’s house is the small cottage featured in one of the photos.

  29. Kathleen Bennett (BERTSCH) says:

    I really enjoy seeing the photos of Forbes. I graduated in 1972. I wonder how many residents in in Fargo today;;;April 1,2014.
    The Peaple’s Store is very good. They have very good German Sausage. They make their own.

  30. Kathleen (BERTSCH) Bennett says:

    This is so great to see all of this & yet sad the way a lot of small towns are fading. Schools consolidated etc.
    I love reading all the comments of what other people from around the area have to say about the town/school etc. I really like going in The People’s store . They have great German sausage etc. THANKS! You ( YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) do a great job of making it!
    I graduated in 1972 and left the area from Fargo in 1983 with my husband & 2 children ( BOY/GIRL) for a life in the Air Force. ……so we were in Upper Michigan, The Netherlands ( WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE) ,,,then Grand Forks AFB, and last but not least ( NOT OUR CHOICE) San Antonio, Texas.
    Anyway since all of that ….my husband retired ( MAJ.) Air Force in 2000 and we moved back to Fargo in 2002 to be closer to family. My parents live in Ellendale & my two sisters live in Watertown, SD Robert works full time at the VA hospital up here in FGO. and I work as a lunchroom supervisor at Centennial Elementary going on almost 12 years now. I LOVE IT!……very good staff.

  31. Lee Brotherton says:

    Glad to see so much interest in this site. It’s a wonderful way for those of us with ‘Forbes roots’ to share the memories.

  32. Marcia (Merkel) Schneider says:

    My Grandparents Jake and Flossie Merkel lived in Forbes for years. I did my student teaching under Phylis George while staying with my grandparents. Many memories with them in Forbes. Going to see Grandpa and Grandma always meant we would get to go down to the cafe and get ice cream. Grandpa handed over dimes and told us to get double dips, but we had to bring one back for him as well. Think I got my love for ice cream to this day from my Grandpa Jake. My Aunt Marion and my late Uncle Mile Martin still have the home that was my grandparents.
    I was raised on a farm 10 miles East of Forbes.
    Was so neat to go back in time on this website.

    • Marcia (Merkel) Schneider says:

      My Grandparents Jake and Flossie Merkel lived in Forbes for years. I did my student teaching under Phylis George while staying with my grandparents. Many memories with them in Forbes. Going to see Grandpa and Grandma always meant we would get to go down to the cafe and get ice cream. Grandpa handed over dimes and told us to get double dips, but we had to bring one back for him as well. Think I got my love for ice cream to this day from my Grandpa Jake. My Aunt Marion and my late Uncle Mike Martin still have the home that was my grandparents.
      I was raised on a farm 10 miles East of Forbes.
      Was so neat to go back in time on this website.

  33. Christine King Watne says:

    I have recently learned that my Aunt Marcella Garrett was born in Forbes in about 1918. She was my mother’s older sister. My grandparents, Ralph and Cora Garrett, ran some kind of boarding house/hotel in Forbes around 1918. By 1920, they had moved to Cass Lake, MN. My mother was born in Cass Lake, MN, in 1920. I don’t know how many years my grandparents lived in Forbes and would be interested in any information about the boarding house/hotel they ran. I am originally from Anchorage, AK but in retirement my husband and I relocated to Cooperstown, ND. I hope we can visit Forbes in May and learn more of the history of the town.
    Christine King Watne
    Cooperstown, ND

    • Lee Brotherton says:

      There are a couple of books I have on Forbes history. They are stored at our summer place in Wisconsin. When I get there in the spring I’ll look for the Garrett name and let you know if I find anything.

  34. Ken Mock says:

    Does anyone know the Mock name from Forbes, ND. My Great-Great Grandfather Wm. James Mock lived there with his son and his sons wife. His son was named Garfield and I’m pretty sure they had children. My G-G Grandfather is burried in Ellendale.

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