Berlin, North Dakota

Berlin, ND

Berlin, North Dakota is a small town in Lamoure County in southeastern North Dakota.  Although many of the structures which once existed in Berlin are now gone, there are some impressive structures still standing.

Sabrina Hornung contributed a few photos of Berlin in 2011.  In the summer of 2012 we were able to get to Berlin and capture these photos for ourselves.

US Census Data for Berlin
Total Population by Place

1910 – 137
1920 – 130
1930 – 135
1940 – 132
1950 – 124
1960 – 78
1970 – 76
1980 – 57
1990 – 32
2000 – 35
2010 – 34

This old fire station is in quite good condition. Hopefully someone has plans to maintain and/or restore this because the old fire stations are rapidly disappearing from North Dakota’s dwindling small towns.

Berlin Legion Post 206

This is the former bar and service station.

Pete’s Ponderosa looks much worse on the inside than it does on the outside, as you’ll see below.

The ceiling and the floor of Pete’s Ponderosa — both caved in.

The former blacksmith shop.

Order Books

Berlin, North Dakota

Berlin, North Dakota

The old horse-drawn fire wagon is still inside the station.

Berlin, North Dakota

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

23 Responses to “Berlin, ND”
  1. Carol Just says:

    Lovely photos! I have a history of Berlin dating 1976 in my library. When I have a chance I’ll be happy to give some commentary to correspond to the photos. I grew up 1/2 mile north of Berlin and attended 8 grades of elementary school there. My parents purchased and resided in the old Catholic rectory on the north edge of town in 1968 and lived there for 30 years. Perhaps you would also like a listing of resident surnames?

    • Troy Larson says:

      Carol, if you post that information and those surnames as comments, it would be appreciated and quite helpful. You’ll probably get some family history buffs showing up due to searches of those surnames. Thank you!

  2. iane Ellingson Freih says:

    I was born and raised in Berlin.My father, Glenn Ellingson owned the Gas Station from 1938 until his death in 2009! The Station is still open with Darryl Ellingson the owner. Good place to have called “home”. Diane Ellingson Freih

  3. Sharon Klemm says:

    Old fire station and blacksmith’s shop are really cool. This place struck me as the kind of place you can hear yourself think. I like it.

  4. Clarence Van Ornum says:

    Diane Elingson do you remember me? Carol, I do not remember you but I took your sister, Marcella to the prom and played baseball with your brothers and cousins Harold, Walter, Dennis, Clarence, Myron and Donald

  5. I was thru here a few years ago on our way to Lamoure from Mike’s salvage yard in Wishek,loved it…Terry and I stopped at an old service station that still had the engine bay (pit in the concrete floor)where they walked under the car,no lift,just a place in the floor to do the service work…Old style glass counter with candy and chips,old style racks for selling oil etc.,what a trip back in time,two guys were still running it,don’t remember if they still sold gas or not…Did you see that too?..

  6. Diane,it was your Dad and brother running the gas station now that you mention Ellingson….My best friend in H.S. in Adams,N.D. was named Dick Ellingson so the name did ring a bell..His brother Roger was married to a Dianne…both brothers are dead now….another friend named Wade Swenson was married to a Gayle from Berlin,thinkin’ her last name was Nelson,not sure tho.

  7. emmett says:

    My mother, Beatrice Swenson, grew up in Berlin. Her parents Anton and Hannah Swenson spent most of their life in Berlin. My grandfather Anton was good friends with the, then to be, Senator Milton Young.

    I have an old post card that gives a bird’s eye view of the town. I can submit it to you if interested.


    • Miguel Shockman says:

      My grandpa Ivan Shockman was born in Berlin. I have been trying to find out more information where the farm was located. Any info helps.

      • Tim O'Reilly says:

        there are a couple of Shockman families in the area – one about 1/2 to 1 mile north of town, plus others who may remember

  8. John Dewald says:

    I visited that old blacksmith shop in the 50’s when my uncle Miles Horsager was the owner/operator.

  9. Tim O'Reilly says:

    We lived in Berlin from 1999 to 2010 – a beautiful small town, excellent place to raise children. The gas station is still open, and what Glenn can’t fix Bob Cox might be able too at his new mechanics shop down the street.

  10. John Stangeland says:

    Sooooo…what happened to all the many original posts???

  11. elizabeth keith says:

    in 1967 or so, maybe early 1970-71 my dad took us to Berlin for the fireworks.. 4th of july.. complete with roller skating in the big white building i think. a old fashioned 4th celebration. potluck bbq watermelon eating contest and the biggest fireworkd i had ever seen…. it stands out in my childhood memoroies.. there was an airfield close by there? or at least the field where the machines would have contests.. with the big belts.. arghh. i am getting old.

  12. Liberty says:

    I absolutely love what you all do! thanks for sharing ND history with us, this town really caught my eye having the old horse drawn carrage inside the old fire station – stunning! does any body have insite on why people just up and leave? I have explored dozens of abandoned homes around Jamestown/Montpelier area and, its like thye really did just up and leave, most of them still have year books, toys from children, food, tvs, ect… why leave all that behind? I have always wondered how some can just up and leave there home with all of there stuff still inside? Its heart breaking too see, My mind is so curious I just wanna know the story behind all of the abandoned buildings!

  13. Paddy Young Harris says:

    I grew up on the Young farm across the railroad tracks. My dad was Duane (Toad) Young and my grandfather was Milton Young. The farm remains in the family and is beginning its 5th generation of farmers. Many of Berlin’s buildings were burnt down the year I was born – 1947, so I was told. I remember the old school house, and the spooky (and cold) tunnel between the school and the gym. I remember walking on the railroad tracks into Berlin to get the mail from Adele Horsager, and buy candy at Matt and Edith Rausch’s store. Mom once owed Matt over $300 one month for all the candy and pop her kids bought at his store! We were in trouble. The caboose was a fun ride into LaMoure from Berlin, or from Berlin to Edgeley.

  14. Julie Ireland(Gohman) says:

    Yes I remember going to the 4th of July celebrations as a kid and riding the kittycars and pony rides. Watermelon seed spitting contests and the cool fireworks. I grew up going to roller skating on Friday nights and met my Husband there. Riding to town in the graintruck with dad for pop and a candy bar was also a favorite of mine. I was there the day after the elevator burned ..My father helped build that elevator.

  15. Bob Zickuhr, I graduated from Berlin H.S. in 1957. We had one of the larger classes of 8. A couple of years later they consolidated with La Moure and Edgeley. I enjoyed the old pics. The Oasis, Glen Ellingson’s garage and Matt Rausch’s grocery store were places where people would congregate to catch up on the latest news as well as doing business. At one time I remember Berlin had a couple of grocery stores and a bank. My mother, Telva Kennedy worked there for a while.
    Great place for kids to grow up. No day care needed, as everyone knew everyone. If you did anything mischievous or out of line, your parents likely heard about it before you returned home.
    After my father retired from farming, he sold insurance, so he kept in contact with many friends and neighbors that way. Would not trade growing up there for anything, as it gave us a good work ethic and moral upbringing.

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