Freda, North Dakota

Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota is a true ghost town in Grant County about 35 miles southwest of Bismarck.  Freda started out as a Milwaukee Railroad town, and once had a population  of 50 plus its own bank.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Today it is totally abandoned with the remains of its depot crumbling in the elements. There is one other structure next to the depot, and the ruins of several other buildings on the town site. There was also a grain elevator here at one time, but it was moved to Raleigh.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

We spoke to an area resident who didn’t even know Freda still existed. If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll probably drive right past it.

Freda, North Dakota

One interesting footnote: according to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, a meteorite fell in Freda in 1919 and is now displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

Freda, North Dakota

The photos above and below are from inside the depot.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

The building above looks like it may have been a store or perhaps a post office at one time.  Below, a look inside tells us harsh weathering has been going on for decades, and it looks like someone has scavenged some rusty tin from the back wall.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

The foundation of an unknown building on the east end of Freda.

Freda, North Dakota

Freda, North Dakota

This abandoned farm stands just about a mile or two north of Freda.

Freda, North Dakota

After two days on the road in the dead of summer, a lot of bugs have met their end on the front bumper  of my car.

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

16 Responses to “Abandoned: Freda, North Dakota”
  1. Matt Rothchild says:

    Freda…a mere speck on so many maps that I own…a fact that makes it all the more intriguing.

    I’ve wanted to visit it–and this part of ND–for a long time, but never had teh chance.

    The Freda depot is on the old Milwaukee Road branch line that split off at Mobridge, SD and terminated in New England, ND. The line was abandoned in the ’80’s when the fortunes of the entire Milwaukee Road tragically turned from bad to worse. The pride of the railroad for nearly a century, the Pacific Extension, was liquidated as the railroad tried to focus on being a regional railroad rather than one of the big transcontinentals. But years of mismanagement and poor accounting (it was found later on that the railroad was actually making money, but certain liabilities had been double booked) was more than could be overcome.

    The old Freda depot looks so out of place, as many of these buildings do, standing in the middle of the grassland, as if dropped there from the sky. BUt they continue to be living testiment to the people and ambitions of long ago and the confidence that believed that you could make something and get somewhere.

    How we need the return of this animal spirit.

  2. Ken Laches says:

    The red front building to the West of the Deport was a US Post Office. The Depot was moved about one half mile to the North from it’s original site along the Milwaukee tracks after the railroad was abandoned. There was a one room school house to the North of the current depot site that was either moved or torn down in the 60s or early 70s.

    The picture of the foundation labeled as unknown was a church. I don’t know the denomination.

  3. Jordan says:

    It would be interesting to understand the ownership of these abandoned places. Like who owns the abandoned government properties, like a post office? In many places there may still be a working town, but in others where the town is no longer functioning, what happened to all the rights of ways, parks, school district properties, etc.

    • Troy Larson says:

      Public places like roads and post offices frequently revert back to the county when a place is abandoned, unless purchased by someone else. Even private properties do so when the owner fails to pay taxes on the property.

    • Steven Bopp says:

      Most post offices I know of are actually owned by the city or a community organization of some kind, the USPS rents the space.

  4. susan says:

    My grandfather was born in Freda in 1917, his family farmed there for awhile. I am somewhat saddened to see that his birthplace is a ghost town. I was hoping to find more information about his family.

  5. Trudy Fraase Wolf says:

    My grandparents were the last residents of Freda and they lived in the old railroad depot. It had been moved away from the tracks. I remember visiting them as a child. The building beside the depot was a post office that my grandmother worked in long after the town was gone. To the north of the depot were the foundational ruins of the school and farther north of that was an old house that was still standing when I was a child. The adults told us that was the teacher’s house and that at one time, three teacher lived there.

    There were several ruins around that we explored as children. I remember my father, who grew up in Freda, driving us around the pastures telling us what buildings used to be where.

    I enjoyed seeing the photos and reliving the memories. I haven’t been back there in many years.

    • Kevin Udell says:

      I my great grandparents lived there,I remember visiting there also,swinging on the tire swing,Grandma getting pecked by chickens while getting eggs,checking out all the buildings. Great times.

  6. Stephen Berg says:

    We made it out to Freda last year. Amazingly, our GPS took us right to there. It’s quite peaceful and one of the more remote and beautiful places we visited. I always worry about trespassing, but nothing was posted.

  7. Judy Reese says:

    My mother (Rose Scholl),Ternes and my father Peter Ternes farmed in Freda. We moved to Bismark in 1960.

  8. John Lien says:

    I’m not sure what year Andrew Lien my Great Grandfather moved to Freda from Wisconsin, but he died there in 1927. His son, my Great Uncle Alfred Lien moved to Freda in 1913 and lived there until 1938. If anyone has any information, I would enjoy hearing about them. Thank you!

  9. E. Fraase says:

    Reply to all: My mother and father-in-law, Elizabeth and Fred Fraase, were the last residents of Freda. The depot, their home, and most of the property around it will be sold by the county for unpaid taxes. I never knew who owned the post office. Because the lean-to on the back of the post office was used by Fred Fraase, Sr. as a spot to store the “treasures” he found at auction sales, I always assumed to belong to the to him. Anyone who is interested to find out who owns the remaining lots from the Freda towns ite the Grant county Auditor/treasurer. I hope this adds to the knowledge about this old town and its demise.

  10. Ty says:

    Have you ever thought about visiting Fallon and Timmer? They are both south west of Mandan and in close proximity to Freda and Flasher. Fallon has a church, 1 other building and a few overgrown foundations left. Timmer has only 1 or maybe 2 buildings left and 1 or 2 torn down ones. Don’t credit me on this info cause I only got it from satellite view in google maps, but I plan on visiting these places (including Freda) within the next month or so.

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