Deisem, North Dakota

All That Remains of Deisem

Since starting this website about North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places nearly ten years ago, suggestions about places to visit have been rolling in. One of the suggestions we’ve received on more than one occasion is a place called Deisem, North Dakota.

So in July of 2012, with fellow photographer and GND co-founder Terry Hinnenkamp, we set out for Deisem. Driving through LaMoure County just south of Jamestown, we turned onto what can only loosely be described as a “highway” — Highway 34, northwest of Edgeley. We discovered what was once a bright yellow line dividing two very narrow lanes is now barely visible, and gravel pokes through the asphalt in places. Traffic is nearly nonexistent.

We arrived to discover this church is all that remains of Deisem, North Dakota. The location is remote. We were on site for about a half hour on a Saturday afternoon and we didn’t see a single car pass by.

According to reports by fans on our Facebook page, Deisem was quite a happening town back in the day, and was home to a well respected general store which is long gone. There are various foundations hidden in the tall grass on the former Deisem townsite though, remnants of a town now lost.

This church was reportedly a Seventh Day Adventist church, and it is now in very tenuous condition. If it survives another heavy snowfall, we’ll be surprised. In hindsight, we were quite foolish to explore the inside at all, and we would strongly recommend you admire it from the outside if you should decide to visit. It could collapse at any moment.

According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Deisem was founded in 1880. The Post Office was established in 1907, but was closed for good when the store it was housed in burned to the ground on January 30th, 1943. The end came officially in 1984 when the railroad pulled up stakes.

As we left Deisem, I took one last look in the mirror, all too aware that we may have photographed a place called Deisem for what may turn out to be the last time.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

The outhouse is gone, but the hole in the ground remains, and as is often the case in abandoned places, there are other hazards which remain hidden in the tall grass. It wouldn’t be hard to step in the wrong place and twist an ankle or a knee.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

The remains of several crumbled foundations are nearby, near the rail line which pulled up stakes a long time ago.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

The view from the pulpit.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

Order Books

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

The stairway to the balcony.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

Looking down from the balcony.

Deisem, North Dakota

Deisem, North Dakota

This church is far beyond saving and will soon collapse, if it hasn’t already.

Deisem, North Dakota

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

Comments
15 Responses to “All That Remains of Deisem”
  1. john says:

    Any idea where the belltower ended up from this one?

  2. Linda Stevens says:

    OMG! Yeah, that thing could have come tumbling down around you. I’ve always wanted to turn an old church or school house into a home. I don’t think this is a good candidate, though, do you? LOL

  3. Ah, you are MUCH braver than I am. I always WANT to go inside but my dislike of cellars, especially visits that are unplanned, keeps me peeking in windows only.

  4. mai says:

    So sad to see historic buildings like this fall apart and vanish forever. Wish we could save all of the remaining buildings before its to late. I am Norwegian, so i guess its not much i can do about it though. Love to read about North Dakota because some of my ancestors went to North Dakota in late 1800 century and became settlers and farmers there. One of my ancestors survived the sinking of the Oceanliner Titanic, but stayed in America until his death in 1980

  5. M86 says:

    So fascinating! I grew up very near to the ND/SD border just south of this area, and wasn’t aware of this former town (then again, I’m only in my 20′s!). The photos are definitely bittersweet to look at!

  6. Sharon Klemm says:

    You guys are way more brave than me, especially going up to the second floor. Is the destruction of the church vandalism or the fact that it was abandon? Both? Good illustration of how our perception of being so safe and secure is merely an illusion. Nature is strong.

  7. Paul Charron says:

    Wonderful post. I enjoy her in all of her derelict beauty.

  8. Delores (Warcken) Mischel says:

    I can remember when I was quite young going to Deisem, ND to visit the mother of one of the hired men who lived as a neighbor to us. The only thing I remember is his name was Clarence Tosh and I think he has probably long since deceased. Of course, his Mom was “Grandma Tosh” and we had the best dinner and food at her house! Glad to see this picture, even as sad as it is!

  9. Brenda says:

    I grew up in this church and have many happy memories of it. So sad to watch it deteriorate over the years.

  10. Don Dowell says:

    Additional photos of Deisem are available here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=9809159@N03&q=deisem

  11. Dick Evans says:

    My great-grandfather, Ernst Carl Wilke farmed 160 acres at Deisem, North Dakota from 1909 to 1930…His children were Freda [my grandmother], Marie, Carl Fred [the pilot and partner of Bill Boardman, Emma's husband], Emma, Ernest, and Ralph. My wife and I took a trip to Edgeley/Deisem in 2011 and went to the site of the family farm. There was nothing there but the remains of the old family houses basement. It is so sad that a village such as Deisem has become extinct.

  12. Crystle says:

    Does anyone know if the church still stands?

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  1. […] church is all that remains of the rural outpost that was once Deisem. This is a former Seventh Day Adventist Church and it is severely structurally compromised. When it […]



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