Underwater Ghost Towns of the North Dakota Missouri River

Underwater Ghost Towns of the North Dakota Missouri River

The construction of Garrison Dam flooded the Missouri River Valley and created Lake Sakakawea, something we’ve covered before in posts about Sanish and Four Bears Bridge.  We’ve photographed both a church and a home that once stood in Elbowoods — structures that were moved to higher ground to avoid the flood.

Here’s a graphic, based on a Google Earth satellite shot, showing the Missouri River Valley pre and post Garrison Dam, and the former towns which had to be evacuated. There are several more not shown on this map, including Expansion, Mannhaven, and Red Butte, which are all gone, or 99.9% gone anyway.  There are still a few things to photograph though, and we hope to surprise you with some stuff in the near-future.  Until then, please enjoy and share the graphic.

Underwater Ghost Towns

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

9 thoughts on “Underwater Ghost Towns of the North Dakota Missouri River

  1. We saw it for our self independence island .Past Indian hills the water was low old house .fence ,car and a coffin. Found some nice bottle and pots very cool.

        1. Let me re-state. They COE moved the old Sanish cemetery to New Town. Many of the residents of Sanish and Van Hook moved elsewhere – not to New Town. Only ignorant bureaucrats would think you could combine two towns that were very competitive.

  2. When I was 17, I left Florida and went to Minot, ND, to attend Northwest Bible College. After school, we moved to Makoti and I worked in Parshall in a nursing home. There was a 95 yr old woman, an Indian, (I forget which tribe) who would not allow ANY white person to care for her. She did tell me her father had been the chief of their tribe, and their lands, including their burial grounds, were all flooded ‘by the government’. She was angry still, and wouldn’t allow anyone except Indian aides to care for her. I remember, being 21 at the time, thinking “Wow. The things this woman has seen!” and wishing she would talk to me more, but my blonde haired, blue eyed self wouldn’t allow for it. I completely understood, though.

  3. This brought back all kinds of memories. As a small boy my parents would take the road through Elbowoods and cross the Four Bears bridge to get to my aunt and uncle’s house. Also, clicking onf Kief reminded me of speaking many times at the little Russian Baptist church in that community. My how they could sing.

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