Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, North Dakota is a ghost town in Morton County, about 35 miles west of Mandan, just a few miles south of Interstate 94 — a place so hauntingly beautiful, we chose the photo above for the dustjacket cover of our second book.  Sims is a place people have been telling us to visit for nearly ten years, but it took us this long to find a way to work it into the schedule.

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Several structures remain standing in Sims — the old house you see here, plus the still-active Sims Scandinavian Lutheran Church and accompanying parsonage.  There are two more structures just to the north of Sims, but they’re on the other side of a now closed bridge, and posted “No Trespassing.”

Sims, ND

The Sims town site is abandoned — that is to say nobody actually lives there, although there are residents in the area, and the church is a landmark.  There is a comprehensive website dedicated to Sims and nearby Almont here.  Make sure you check out the publications — fascinating reading in pdf format.

Sims, North Dakota

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims was featured in our second book, Ghosts of North Dakota Vol. 2.

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

Sims, ND

sims3

The view from the cemetery, looking down on the Sims town site.

Sims, ND

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

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

20 thoughts on “Sims, North Dakota

  1. My great grandfather built that house – sad to see it gradually falling down – thanks for the great photos! My grandmother and mother were baptised in the church

    1. Hi! I`m form Norway and read this site sometimes. I wonder , who owns the houses you see here that your relatives long time ago built? Are they still in the family? Have people just leaved the towns becasue there was no more jobs? What happened with all the farms and farmers in North Dacota? WHo own them now and why do noone try to build up some of it again?

      1. Most of these abandoned towns in ND were former boom-towns, when whatever temporary economic boost they were profiting from dried out, people all left. To answer your question about farming: agriculture is still tremendous in North Dakota and always will be, you are merely seeing the effects of land ownership changes

    2. I was wondering if you could give some names of people living in that house? I did a Ghost investigation and kept getting the name Rachel? They said “Rachel, we love you”. I do not know a Rachel. Could you please let me know any information on the people that lived there. Thank you.

      1. My mother-in-law grew up in Sims and her brother still attends the church there. Found this story about the pastor’s wife, Bertha:

        leescott58.wordpress.com/2009/07/08/a-bit-from-the-book-spooky-north-dakota/

        Not sure who Rachel was but maybe a sister?

      2. did you look at the census reports for Sims for 1910-1940 and see if any Rachels come up? My husband’s family built the house and lived in it for a few years until the mother died around 1902 but no Rachel – there names were Andrew and Anne (Underdahl) Anderson, children Anne, Ella Marie and Hilda (my husband’s grandmother)

      1. no, my grandmother Hilda Anderson married Peter Wilhelm (Bill) Peterson from Carson and my mother is Ann Peterson Gardner – the family moved to Fairview, Mt in early 1930’s and she married Leonard Gardner and they are my parents and they lived all their lives in Fairview and I and my siblings graduated from there. We were related to some in New Salem on the Peterson side but do not know much about the Andersons

  2. The care put into this house, the planning and building, is so obvious even in this state of decay. Sometimes I wonder why we walk away from so much, but we do. I can only image that house in its hey-day. Even now there is something quite gorgeous and compelling about it.

    The scenery is beyond wonderful. I hope that ND does not allow the energy industry to ruin this beautiful landscape.

  3. Great pictures, guys! Sims is one of my favorite spots to photograph. When I lived in Bismarck I drove out there nearly every week. It is such a beautiful area!

    A while ago I found this website (http://www.sims-almont.us/). It is full of information and pictures Almont and the surrounding area, including Sims. If you click on “publications,” then “75 year history book,” there is a link about the Sims and Curlew area, including a picture of the Anderson/Gray house pictured above in both 1890 and 1980 (http://www.sims-almont.us/publications/almont75years/08%20Sims%20and%20Curlew%20Pages%20133-138.pdf)!

  4. As an Easterner, and one who has been in North Dakota, passing through on Amtrak, the vast open plains simply appeal to me with the beauty. The photo taken in the house looking out the window, stirs my imagination as to what the residents thought when they looked out that window. The long road, the treeless hills, and blue sky just scream North Dakota.

    What a great website, not only for native ND folks who remember or visit, but for us other folks who wonder what life was like many years ago in the scattered small towns and villages in the state. The plains accent the loneliness of the abandoned towns.

    Thanks for the time and effort put into this work to preserve what is left.

    Bruce in Virginia

  5. Is the church still having regular services since this post was made, or has that changed? Does anybody know?

    1. Yes, we are members of the Sims congregation. One week we go to Sims, the next week Almont. You should come by one of these Sundays. Service at 10.

  6. Looking at this place tomorrow. I’ve just read through pages of history. Amazing that only the house and church is left, there was a lot more to the town at one time.

  7. My Grandfather,Tollef Christianson, built a home southwest of Sims( it still stands), and helped found the Church ..

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