We first visited Crystal Springs in 2005, primarily to photograph the abandoned school which is quite visible from the Interstate. We didn’t find out until later that we had neglected to photograph a portion of Crystal Springs which waits just north of the highway. So, on Memorial Weekend of 2013, we returned to Crystal Springs.
While many towns suffered when they were bypassed by an interstate, Crystal Springs’ decline was hastened when it was bisected by the interstate, effectively cutting the town in two.
The roof of the school has collapsed in places and the elements pour in.
Crystal Springs’ church and school are featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3.
The re-painting that someone began on the old church was never finished, and now the church is deteriorating again, the boarded-up front door kicked-in by vandals.
On the north side of the Interstate rests the former spring — a stopping off point for tourists in the pre-interstate era. We’ve heard many accounts from travelers who enjoyed a drink of cold water from the spring on a family trip through Crystal Springs.
UPDATE: A visitor to our Facebook page reported the spring had been restored with a grant and was running once again, but a more recent visitor in the summer of 2015 told us the spring is again dormant.
This abandoned house sits across the road from the fountain.
This is a former service station near the fountain.
Near the green house shown further up the page lies this collapsed wreckage of another home.
A close examination of this photo shows what happened to Crystal Springs. The road I stood on when taking this photo once connected to the road in the distance, just above the detour sign. Today, the interstate cuts through the middle.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2017 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