Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

This is Cayuga, North Dakota, in Sargent County near the South Dakota border. It was founded in 1887 in the Dakota Territory, two years before statehood.

I had been in South Dakota photographing some places, like White Rock and Brown Earth Church and I made a quick stop in Cayuga on the way home to get some photos. I was blown away by the number of abandoned places there were to shoot, but due to time constraints, I was only able to shoot a small number of them. (Terry and I returned later to get more.) Here’s a sampling:

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Looks like a sleepy Sunday evening in Cayuga, right?  There are actually about ten people sitting on chairs on the sidewalk in front of the bar, right behind the trucks parked on the left.  Impressive turnout considering Cayuga’s population in the 2010 Census was 27 residents.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

What kind of magical kingdom awaits inside this gate?  My mind can imagine wondrous things… but I didn’t feel like braving the shoulder-high weeds and robust woodtick population to find out.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

There were many, many more beautiful abandoned and unused things to photograph in Cayuga, and I can’t wait to go back again some day. Update: we returned and shot more of Cayuga.

Cayuga, North Dakota

Cayuga, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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29 thoughts on “Cayuga, North Dakota

  1. My Dad is from Cayuga and I recognize most of the buildings from visiting as a child in the 1970’s. I’ve asked my Dad to identify the buildings; I’ll post when I find out. I know the brick building was Kiefer Implement…think hardware/equipment repair shop. I remember buying 10cent bottles of coke and mountain dew from the pop machine. I’ve been inside the house with the stone addition many times; it was owned by Teofil Siemienski.

    1. Teofil and Lorraine Siemieniewski are my grandparents and it was nice to see their home again. Many memories.

  2. Toefil was my grandpa Pete brother. I think I remember the building with the green front as the general store. Bought lots of penny candy there. We went roller skating there every weekend in the winter time. Lots of great memories.

  3. A lot of my mom’s family grew up in this town. My grandmother (Stella Nelson) lived there until she passed away in 1979. She had 17 children, so there were a lot of people that came to visit her. As a child we went there every year to visit her. I also spent summers there with her as she was into making rugs and things. We would have family reunions there that would take up the whole town. I loved it there and I miss being there. You learn a lot in small towns like this. My grandmother had a lot of good friends in this small town. My grandmother’s house was just down the road from the hardware store on the corner.

  4. My mother was from Cayuga. She grew up on a farm and then her parents moved into town. We would vacation there every summer and I just loved Cayuga. When I was about 8 years old I got “lost” in Cayuga and some nice person returned me to my grandparents, Hans and Freida Kleingarn! My husband and I drove out from Pennsylvania about 3 years ago and I must say it made me sad to see so many houses unoccupied. Thank you so much for posting these pictures of Cayuga.

  5. Cayuga, was a great place to be raised! We had a grade school, (my sister was a cheerleader!) The Cayuga Coyutes We had a cafe, barbershop, blacksmith, general store, hardware, 2 bars, american legion hall, and a town hall, for rollerskating, get togethers,and.. chistmas plays. We had a sledding hill, and a little league, plus of course 4-H! We also had a Catholic Church, where I was an alter boy for 4 years, and we went to Catholic school in the summer for 3 weeks, (we called it sister school , because catholic sisters, habits and all instructed us, guess who got to be the alter boys, yes my twin brother, Ben and I, during the daily masses). We raided gardens, threw snowballs at cars, tipped over toilets! ( yes, Virginia, some people still had out houses) OOOOOYHOOO CAYUGA COYUTES!!!!!

    1. You forgot the creamy next to the restaurant,and I think there was a small bank where the seniors center is now.

  6. According to my Dad, Larry, here are the owners, starting with the brick building:

    1. Kiefer Brothers Implement

    2. Bud & Percy Isensee’s grocery store

    3. Kiefers from a different side

    4. Ray Mackovicz home

    5. Teofil & Lorraine Siemieniewski home

    6. Alvin & Connie Backer lived here in the 1960’s

    7. Tilly Slaby home

    8. Ben Cutler

    1. Bud and Percy were my uncle and aunt. They lived above the grocery store. The upper floor had once been a hotel. The bedrooms were down a long hallway with a brass number on each door.

      My Breker relatives have build a lodge not far from Cayuga.

  7. The little white building in front of the bar was the last post office, the big white building to the east was the grocery store. I remember going there when I was a kid and getting meat sliced. A little over a mile north of Cayuga where the railroad crosses the pavement was the town of Ransom, which was abandoned and most of the buildings moved to Cayuga.

  8. I’d like to know when Cayuga originally established its municipal utility. In 1944, the mayor (who also owned the elevator) needed 3-phase power to his elevator and since the village didn’t have the money to pay for an upgrade of the system from single-phase, he engineered the sale of the municipal utility to Otter Tail Power to get the needed upgrade in time for harvest!

  9. I believe I played on one of the last girls softball team in the 1980’s. Still have my jacket. So many people asked me how to pronounce it. Great memories in that small town.

  10. My grandparents farmed north of Cayuga and then moved into town. I vistied many summers and remember going up to the grocery store on the corner for 1 cent Bazooka Joe bubble gum. We had my grandparents 50th anniversary party in the hall and my Mom and Dad were married there.

    Thanks for bringing back such great memories!

  11. It is so sad when towns fade away and die. A lot of memories were made tho and none of these will die or be taken away. Thank God for that.

  12. I didn’t realize there was a Cayuga site until I was reading an article about a murder in Turtle Lake!
    I sent many summers there on my uncles farm, north of town. We would come to Cayuga many times. Our neighbors were the Petry’s and that farm ended up owned by my relatives the Kriz family. My mother was from Rutland.

  13. I worked in 78 and 79 for Border States Paving with a guy from Cayuga…Cannot remember his name,but I believe that he ran the paving plant….Does anyone know who that would have been?….I only worked for Border States those 2 years,but he may have had a career with them…Love to connect with some of the people that I worked road construction with,8 years were with Joe Mayo and son out of Cavalier,N.D.

    1. Hi Cliff. I ran across your question the other day. My son works for Border States Paving in Fargo. I sent it on to him which asked Dan. Dan thinks it was either Skeeter or Martin. He can’t recall last name (yet). Hope that helps you find your friends

  14. I had a good friend back in the 80’s who I think was from Cayuga. Her name was Jodie Backer? Does anyone know her? Would love to reconnect.

  15. I remember when I was a kid staying in Geneseo ND with my grandparents for the summer visiting my great aunts There I saw some of those places remember most of them full of people in the 70s.

  16. I did not know of this site. I grew up in Cayuga And try to go back every memorial day since I have retired. My parents and three of my siblings are interned in the cemetery. It is really sad how much of the town is gone

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