Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

These photos of Christmas in Sanish, North Dakota come from Staci Roe, who came upon them in a hospital rummage sale and saved them from the trash. They are from the estate of Marvin L Knapp and the photographer is unknown.  Photos of the construction of the footings for Four Bears Bridge were in the same collection.

These photos were taken around sixty-five years ago, which means all but the youngest of the people in these photos have passed on, but on the off-chance you recognize anyone in these photos, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Christmas in Sanish

Look closely and you can see Santa Claus on the left, surrounded by the townsfolk of Sanish.  Perhaps Santa felt a duty to pay some extra special attention to folks who would be saying goodbye to their homes in just a few short years.

Christmas in Sanish

It was Christmas of ’47 or ’48, somewhere thereabouts, in one of Sanish’s watering holes… maybe The Round Up Bar, though we can’t tell for sure in these photos.

Christmas in Sanish

According to a commenter below, this couple would become husband and wife, Richard and Francis Mayer — their “happily ever after” just moved to higher ground.

Christmas in Sanish

The distinctive counter in this photo can also be seen in the photo of the cigar stand below, but it’s unclear whether the establishment in these two photos is the same place as the bar shown above.

Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

Going through these photos of life in Sanish, we notice a recurring theme… hardhats. There were many workers involved in the road and bridge projects that preceded the abandonment of Sanish, and we’ve seen many of them in this collection.

Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

The photo shown above has the caption below on the back. Not sure what it says.

Christmas in Sanish

Christmas in Sanish

This photo was the only one in the batch that had a date on it, 1948, and a name we can’t read.

Christmas in Sanish

Photos contributed by Staci Roe, photographer unknown
Original content copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

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12 Responses to “Christmas in Sanish”
  1. Nancy Zine says:

    With regard to the two photos of the counter – it looks like the same place to me. The picture on the wall looks to be the same in both photos.

  2. Sharon Smith says:

    I have a friend in Coeur d’Alene, ID that is from Sanish, ND. Wish she was on a computer.

    • Amanda Bean says:

      My aunt and uncle are in Idaho and identified the couple hugging as Richard and Francis Mayer, my grandparents (never met them, passed before I was born). Their happy ever after just moved to higher ground. :)

  3. Clifford Sorenson says:

    Those are wonderfull Pics, sorry I didn’t recognice anyone, as I had not been there in over 10 yrs.

  4. Sharon Gravos says:

    Omg I think that may be my dad’s name. John Meiers. I’m pretty sure when he was in Spanish it would have been to go to bar. Remember the bear?!

  5. J Brehm Wright says:

    The picture of moving snow with the tractor in 1948 was my dad, Walt Brehm. In 1948 (the yr I was born) they lived a half mile out of Sanish. He did several things ‘back in the day’ to make a living – including cutting ice blocks to sell for the ice boxes in houses then, hauling water to the cisterns around town, moving snow, cleaning government grain bins, and other odd jobs, while mother ran the dairy and sold milk at the same time they were getting started farming. Their hard work back then made life alot easier for their family of 3 girls.

  6. Loretta Zenker says:

    I know a Staci Doe, is she from New England, North Dakota ??

  7. Jim Quickstad says:

    There were a lot of Scandinavians who homesteaded in those counties. I can’t make out the first name on back of the picture but it could be Songsted which is Scandinavian.

  8. Liz Johnson says:

    This would have been Sanish in the time of my grandparents, Wally and Ida (Anderson) Berntson. Bennie (Wally’s dad) Berntson had a auto garage there.

  9. Lisa Aune says:

    The young man in the hardhat look like one of the Grendahl boys? There were nine of them. George had to move his family from Sanish to New Town.

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