Nine years after our first visit to Sanger, North Dakota, we returned to see how things had changed. Imagine our surprise when we discovered Sanger is no longer a true ghost town. There had been no population when we visited in 2004, but today, Sanger is inhabited by two men, Ron and Dan, who moved to Sanger about four years ago. They have been renovating one of the existing homes in Sanger, and they’ve built several new structures as well. We had a nice chat with them and learned quite a bit, some of which you’ll see in the photo captions below.
As we approached Sanger from the north, we spotted this homestead on the side of the road and stopped to snap some photos.
Just as we arrived at our final turn to drive into Sanger, we saw a group of cattle in the distance, spread out across the road, blocking our path. I stopped the car and tried to decide how to proceed.
It was only a few moments before we realized the cattle were coming right at us and we were caught in the middle of a genuine North Dakota cattle drive, complete with cowboys on horseback.
Terry had a front row seat.
There’s always one curious one in the bunch.
The former Sanger County House. Dan told us although most people think this was a Post Office or Land Office, it was actually a boarding house. Travelers in the horse and buggy era frequently stopped here to rest for the night before continuing their journey at sunrise.
At the time we took these photos in 2013, we noticed the County House was deteriorating rapidly and that it would not likely stand much longer. It collapsed in 2015.
The house above was sitting on blocks when we first visited in 2004. We thought somebody might have had plans for it, but when we visited in 2013, it was still sitting there on blocks.
Above: The last time we were in Sanger, the home on the left was deteriorating. It is now undergoing restoration and expansion. The building on the right is a new structure which replaced another that was beyond saving.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2013 Sonic Tremor Media
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy