alfred-feature

Alfred, ND

Alfred is a near-ghost town in Lamoure county, southwest of Jamestown.  Alfred is unincorporated, hence official population figures are hard to come by, but there appear to be perhaps ten permanent residents in the actual town site with more in the surrounding rural area.  Alfred’s reported peak population was 150 in 1930.

Alfred has a well-maintained cemetery and a Seventh Day Adventist Church which was in session the day of our visit.  There were approximately ten vehicles parked outside, so there is plenty of activity for such a small town.  As we’ve seen in other towns like Alfred, the church will quite likely survive long after the residents are gone.

The northeast portion of Alfred is largely abandoned structures, near the lake and the former rail line (now gone).  The rest of the town is quite nice.  Alfred was founded by Englishman Richard Sykes, who founded five towns in North Dakota — Sykeston, Bowdon, Edgeley, Chaseley, and Alfred.

This is just north of town, across the lake from the Alfred town site.

There are actually three structures in this photograph. On the right is a garage, in the center is some kind of small, one-room structure, and hidden in the trees on the left is a full-size home. Interior shots are below.

This is the interior of the one-room structure shown above.

This is the entryway of the home hidden in the trees.

What would have been the living room at one time…

This is the former kitchen and dining room. There was a small hole in the floor, and the you could see through to the basement. The integrity of the floor is a little suspect.

This turnstile is something we hadn’t seen before. It still turns too. Pretty neat.

Photos by Troy and Rat, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Comments
31 Responses to “Alfred, ND”
  1. Carolyn says:

    Lived in Alfred as a child and my dad delivered gas — probably for the Farmer’s Union. ‘Janke’ is a name I remember; I believe he was a station master or perhaps had something to do with the elevator. Also, Renschler (spelling?) – they were neighbors. Thanks for sharing the photos even tho I was still very young when we moved from Alfred.

    • Deb says:

      Janke was my maternal grandmother’s maiden name. I don’t know if she had any family in the Alfred area though. She was from Hillsboro.

  2. Love the pictures. Been to Alfred a couple of times. My grandparents grew up near there. Nice little town.

  3. Matthew Rothchild says:

    Looks like the Farmer’s Union movement was strong there.

    As to the statement about the church surviving long after the residents leave, one extreme example of this of which I am aware is the case of St. John Lutheran Church of Deep, ND. The church is still used to this day and even boasts pretty strong membership for a country church. Deep, on the other hand, has been completely obliterated from the landscape. The old townsite, a couple hundred yards from the church, is now quite literally a farmer’s field. There are no traces of the townsite to be found at all.

    Deep lives on only in the memories of those who knew it…and on a page of my North Dakota gazetteer map.

    • Gene Masse says:

      Matt,
      Read your comment on Deep, ND. Could you give me a better description on the location? I did a search for the church and it appears it is in or near Newberg. Is there any kind of marker showing the location? Do you live in the area. Feel free to call me if you want. 701-527-0889.

  4. eadrenth@hotmail.com says:

    My husband, father-in-law and I pass through Alfred every year when we go deer hunting.

  5. John Worrall says:

    All of these ghost vignettes are terrific…and invaluable. GoND is my favorite blog. Please keep documenting the state of the past and the past of the State

  6. Gloria says:

    Yeah, my home town! Many, many fond memories of my town when we were growing up. What a great time we all had at the Alfred Centennial a few years back.

  7. Gloria says:

    Hi Carolyn… Had to reply after reading your post. Renschler… They had to be my aunt and uncle and their children. Janke (pronunciation john ke) was the depot agent for many years in Alfred. Oh those good old times. :) Taking the caboose on trips :)

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Gloria… I well remember the Renschlers… Donnie was about my age and we played together. I used to love to visit the Depot (I was only about 4) and loved Janice (I believe that was her name) Janke. Ah, the memories!!

      • Gloria Klundt Kro says:

        I just love this site! Great work.. Referring to a comment made by Cathy Schlenker about the renovated home in Alfred which was recently purchased and will be a leadership retreat center – This home was my grandparents home. Oh such great memories of that house my children and my sister’s children spent many days/nights staying with “great grandma & Mary.” Of course it is now renovated, but it was a great place, my sister & I spent many, many hours there and the big garden, flowers and strawberry patch. We ate more strawberries than picking, I believe. Alfred, a lively community in the 50′s & 60′s, no grass was growing on those streets when all the kids that lived in town and farms outside of Alfred would gather on “main street” – MEMORIES! @ Carolyn.. Don and his wife visited my sister & I a few weeks ago. Had not seen him in years…Too bad we can’t connect with e-mail, would like to hear all about your years in Alfred.

  8. Kristee says:

    Love the pictures. I grew up in Alfred. Many many fond memories. My husband and still own buildings and empty lots there. Some of the pictures are of properties that we own. Would really love to move back there someday – God willing. I will always think of Alfred as home!!!

  9. Sharon Miller says:

    A correction to the statement about the church mentioned….it isn’t a “Seventh day Adventist” church but the denomination who meets there are “Church of God, Seventh Day”. Both faiths are similar, yet there are differences but they each worship on Saturday. This church is quite active– too bad there wasn’t a picture of it included.

  10. Les says:

    I just received an email from Gloria about this site and in looking at the pictures of my home town of Alfred that takes me back many years to when we lived there. One of the responses was from someone named Carolyn and she mentioned our family name of Renschler. My father also delivered Gas in Alfred for many years until we moved to Jamestown. I like to make the comment that when our family moved to Jamestown the population in Alfred was cut in half but that was probably not true. At that time there were still people living there although it was not a vibrant town that it once was. I visit the town once a year to place flowers on the graves of relatives and in driving thru the town we meet very few people so if there are 10 there at this time we don’t see them.

    • Carolyn says:

      Small world after all. As I stated in my reply to Gloria (above), I do remember spending time playing with Donnie (I expect his name was really Donald) Renschler. I was only about 4 but we played and wandered freely about the town. I remember getting into trouble with my mom one day as Donnie and I were out and he had to show me a snake in a mud puddle…. got mud on my new coat….. OH MY!

  11. Margery says:

    Looks like the 2nd pillar was put up to justify adding the turnsty. Love it. We held 4-H meetings there in the 1990s.

    • Margery says:

      *turnstile*

      • Cathy Wilkinson Schlenker says:

        Thanks for posting the pictures of our beloved, Alfred. My mother-in-law lived & attended school in Alfred, as a child (when her father pastored our church). Our large family still attends church in this beautiful & peaceful little town which overlooks the lakes. It is a tranquil place of peace w/a hint of paradise!.

        You must have been here before the worship service started because the Church of God (Seventh Day) has an average attendance of about 60+ people [many young families] . Even more attend each fourth Saturday (when we have a fellowship meal and afternoon music program). This past Saturday [fourth Saturday in September, annually] was our yearly, Harvest of Thanks celebration. We had about 200 people in attendance for church. We serve a delicious meal which is followed by numerous talented people who participate in the vibrant musical afternoon program. The evening was a great time of visiting, games, food, a hayride & bonfire.

        I understand that you were trying to capture the “ghost town” image, but it is too bad that you didn’t take any pictures of the nicer homes, the renovated school building and our very nice church with its new fellowship hall. Alfred is far from dead!

        One of the older & beautifully renovated homes has recently been purchased for the purpose of having a Pastoral/Ministry Leadership Retreat Center, called Still Waters Prairie Retreat. It, in conjunction with the school house, will also be available for weddings, family reunions, retreats, etc… We have exciting plans for the future of Still Waters Prairie Retreat.

        I invite some of you that used to live in or near Alfred to come back to see the town now. Alfred may be small and somewhat isolated from the stresses of the world, but that is what makes it such a wonderful place to visit and relax!

  12. Lucille Gould says:

    I am fairly new to Alfred. I moved here 13 yrs ago from St. Paul, Mn. I live in the old post office. We have the official Alfred Zoo.

  13. Lucille Biss says:

    Anyone remember the Holwegs and the Hennes?

  14. Lucille Gould says:

    The town of Alfred does not belong to the Church of God, 7th Day. I have nothing against the church, but they don’t make the rules that I choose to live by. Live and let live

  15. Tom S. says:

    I met a very nice girl from there, L. Podahl (spelling?). Dated a few times then lost touch during my days in Vietnam. One of the nicest girls you could ever meet. Was down in the area just yesterday hunting and saw the sign on Hwy46 but was in too much of a hurry to drive through. After finding this site, I wish I would have.

    • Lucille Gould says:

      Was her first name Mary ?

    • jr says:

      I think your talking about my cousin linda podoll her dad name was Harold her sister name was connie . and yes she was a very nice person im sorry to say but she passed away almost 3 years ago her sister is still in the area.

      • Tom S says:

        So sorry to hear that. She was quite special and very fun to be around. Our band was playing in Streeter one night and she wanted to break up with her then boyfriend. She ask if I would pretend to be her date for the night and ended up dating for a short time before I had to leave for Nam. I remember selling my car to one of her friends from Streeter before I left for Nam.

  16. Tom S. says:

    Her name was Linda. She told me that she had a sister. Maybe her name was Mary.

  17. Jerry Suko says:

    My Father who is now 97 hauled grain to this elevator using a team of horses. Cant wait to show him these pictures and hear his comments.

  18. Lucy B says:

    Was her dad Blacky or Harold? I think Blacky had a bar there back in the early 1950′s.

  19. Mark G says:

    I have great memories of visiting my grandparents, Fred and Bertha Lehr, in Alfred. They lived in a neat little house that is still occupied today, at least it was about 4 years ago. Every summer I would spend a week or more with them and rode the tractor with him to the pasture on the outskirts of town where he kept a few head of cattle. He supplied milk and eggs to the grocery store, which was run by Ed and Martha Brenneise. As I recall, they had a freight elevator in the store. I also walked ‘downtown’ with him everyday to get the mail from Mrs. Donovon at the Post Office. On Sundays we went to the Baptist Church. I had cousins who lived out in the country, but eventually they moved to Jamestown, Fargo and Lodi. It was a neat little town, very friendly and clean. I hope it doesn’t completely disappear.

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