Manfred: Six Years Later

By / May 14, 2012 / Manfred, ND

Manfred is a near-ghost town just off Highway 52 between Minot and Jamestown.  We visited Manfred previously in 2006, and decided to stop again for an overdue visit on our way to north central North Dakota.

Manfred is home to about five residents these days, and several of them are doing a fantastic job at buying up properties and securing/restoring them.  The Johnson Hotel was on the brink when we visited in 2006, but has since been repainted.  In addition, there was an old school in Manfred which we chose not to photograph last time because it looked as though someone had been living in it.  It is now undergoing a thorough cleaning, and the residents of Manfred have plans to restore the portico over the front stairs when they can raise the funds to do so.

We spoke with a few of the residents of Manfred and they told us they are considering various ideas to attract travelers to the town, including the possibility of having a campground nearby.  We certainly hope something like that happens, because Manfred is an attraction.  Of all the places we’ve visited in North Dakota, we have never been to a place where the residents are more determined to save what remains of their town.  We can’t express in words what a fantastic job they are doing.

Manfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaManfred, North DakotaWe’re told the previous owner of this schoolhouse tore up the floorboards on the right and sold them.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Piano and electric organ; necessary for any good schoolhouse production.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

The gorgeous and historic Vang Lutheran Church.

Manfred, North Dakota

The Manfred Heritage Museum. No admission charge.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Painted, ground floor windows boarded up, grounds cleaned, and boardwalk installed

Manfred, North Dakota

An upgrade is in progress on the front of this house.

manfred18

This house is a good example of how quickly nature can overtake properties left to themselves. Six years ago, the front of this house could be clearly seen through the brush.

Manfred, North Dakota

This Standard station has been a work in progress for years.  It’s lookin’ really good with those vintage gas pumps out in front.  You can almost picture a team of three guys coming out to check your oil, wash your windows, and fill it up.

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

Manfred, North Dakota

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

About Author

Troy Larson

Troy Larson is a father, husband, author, photographer, publisher and devoted cat person. Troy is the President of Sonic Tremor Media and co-founder of GhostsofNorthDakota.com

11 Comments

Linda Badin

The guys from American Pickers would probably love to get their hands on those old pumps & that Standard Oil sign.

Reply
Sharon Klemm

The school: turn it into a bed and breakfast. There is a converted 4 room school house in some little out of the way spot going toward Minot that someone converted into a B/B. The place is booked out two years in advance and it is gorgeous.

I must admire the spirit and determination of Manfred;s citizens. Just goes to show you what a group of people, no matter how small, can do when they get connected into a plan and then set about making it happen. They are doing spectacular work! Hats off,

Reply
Maria G

I believe the Bed and Breakfast you are thinking of, Sharon, is in Riverdale. You are correct — it is beautiful and a wonderful example of what can be done with some of these old buildings.

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Roberta Cotton

There is also a B & B just west of Manfred past Martin (Anamoose address) in the old White School. It is called Sage Hill B&B. The restoration work in Manfred is continuing and there has been work going on to restore the school. There are several buildings that the fronts have been restored.

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Beth (Breyer) Trabue

I took my son thru Manfred earlier this summer. My grandpa was born here (Donald Breyer) and my great grandpa owned that hotel at one time. The spirit is so alive in Manfred and all the positive energy radiates out of all those amazing buildings. I love the hotel but that schoolhouse was so charming and they did get that portico put up it looks beautiful. Made my boy sit on every step we could find, the post office is my fave pose of him, he’s 4. Anyway, I love this little town and I can’t wait to go back!

Reply
Donovan Larson

Haven’t seen the name Wanda Melchert anywhere in your reporting and Manfred would NOT be in the revived condition without her! To Wanda!!!

Reply
Troy Larson

You are correct. And Wanda has never sought recognition for herself, so thank you for giving some credit where it’s due.

Reply
Joy Nelson

Wow! What a difference in just a few short years. Have not been here in about 2 or so years. My dad grew up here, and alas is buried in the graveyard just out of Manfred. Bring back memories of when I would go to visit when I was younger. Nice Job to whomever completed these projects! :)

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