Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

This is Judson, North Dakota, a small town in Morton County, southwest of Mandan. I discovered this church one day while I was messing around with Google Street View, so we made plans to stop for a visit.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson was the first stop on a trip in which we had planned to go all the way to Montana. We set out at the crack of dawn from Fargo and drove three hours and fifteen minutes west on Interstate 94. Access is limited today and the traffic sails by uninterrupted by small-town life. We got off at the Judson exit, glad to stretch our legs.

Judson, North Dakota

The two most prominent structures in Judson are the church and the school, which is for sale. It appears it has been used for a home at some point in the past, and it now wears the stickers of replacement windows. There’s a For Sale sign in the tall grass out front, obscured in the weeds, as if nature itself conspires to foil a sale and consume this place.

To hopefully save you the trouble of sending us an email, we do not know the asking price or have any contact information for the property owner.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

If you bought this school, this would be your view coming into your driveway.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

The previous residents had a skateboard ramp.

Judson, North Dakota

Anybody who buys this property will have to tackle some upgrades to this bridge because it’s not in great condition.

Judson, North Dakota

Judson, North Dakota

This church was featured on the cover of Churches of the High Plains.

Judson, 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.

31 thoughts on “Judson, North Dakota

  1. Wow, all these beautiful places. Please keep them coming.
    I would love to buy that school and bridge and live there.

    1. I recently saw that the school is still for sale. The owner is asking $219,000, I believe. I would buy it, but I don’t have that kind of money right now

  2. My parents were married in that church and my grandparents lived on the other end of the block. They were also the last ones that painted it. You can see that their ladders were not long enough to finish the job

  3. MY HOME TOWN. SPENT MANY HAPPY DAYS IN THAT CHURCH AND WENT TO SCHOOL IN JUDSON FOR 8 YEARS IN THE 50’S AND 60’S.. STILL HAVE SEVERAL FRIENDS IN THE AREA. I GET BACK OCCASSIONALLY AND ALWAYS DRIVE THROUGH TOWN, REMEMBERING ALL THE ADVENTURES WE HAD.

  4. As you look at the school picture, to the right on top floor was the “Big” grades. (5th – 8th), to the left was the smaller grades (1st – 4th) No Kindergarten in those days. The bottom floor to the right was a library and a common area that led to bathrooms and the boiler heating plant. The bottom left was an open room that at one time was made into a living space for the teacher in residence. When I was in 7th grade, the 8th grade girls tried to teach us to dance in that room. My Grandfather was the janitor there for many years. The area behind the “JUDSON SCHOOL” brickwork was the school office.

    1. So fun to read this, Keith I feel like I should know you or at least my husband should, Loren M.
      I drove by the school and church everyday on the bus headed to New Salem School as we lived south of Judson. It would be cool to fix the school up and have a nice wine bar/cafe in the area.

  5. I also grew up just south of Judson, actually neighbors with Renee! This was our daily sight anytime we traveled anywhere. I attended first grade in Judson and the school closed the next year. The teachers then were Mrs Kobs and Mrs Porsborg. I remember building forts in the trees at recess time to keep warm in the winter as we rarely were not kept inside for recess. Alot of great memories at this school. Oh and that HUGE slide that was on the playground and the swing set was awesome!

    1. JoAnn,
      Mrs. Porsborg was also my teacher, but then who didn’t have her for a teacher. She taught for many, many years and then taught in NS after that.

      1. It is with sad heart that I report that our teacher Mrs. Porsborg passed away on Oct. 24, 2015. She was 98 years old and had taught for 44 years. She influenced many students. I am glad I was able to visit with her one more time last July. She was as sharp as ever.

        1. Mrs. Porsborg was my 4th grade teacher in New Salem. I always wondered about her. She was the best teacher I ever had. She had a chart to climb to the moon for our book reports and gave us pencils with our name. I remember when the school closed and the kids all got bussed to New Salem. I remember going to camp with another lady in Judson at the church i want to say her name was Hildegard. Not sure. The kids were teased when they came to New Salem they were called the Judson Kelly Beans.

  6. I grew up in Judson and attended this school for 8 years. My husband Pat and I actually had the high bid to buy the school, not once, but twice, but the school board didn’t accept the bid, so it sat empty for years. We had big plans to make a home out of it – would love to see it today. There used to be garter snakes at the end of the wooden walk bridge, so every morning we’d walk to school, then take a heck of a run and jump over where we thought the snakes were – I was the “broad jumping champ” for years! Great memories – grades 1-8 all played together and the teachers were top notch. Mrs Porsborg still lives in Judson – taught my father too, what a wonderful educator and friend.

  7. My family comes from Judson. My great-grandfather settled there sometime in the late 19th century/early 20th century. My aunt was born there but then the family moved to Chicago in 1930. I visited Judson when i was 12…. Thanks for the photos

  8. The editor missed where the post office use to be . My dad use to help haul mail from New Salem , Judson , I think Mandan too and delivered it to the Bismarck Post Office . Some times that 1/2 ton pickup box with a shell on was pretty full of mail bags . This was before the gravel road was paved going into Judson .
    The Judson pool hall might be standing yet ,
    I remember riding along with my grandpa Giese during harvest season hauling wheat to the Judson elevator before it was closed . I must have been around 10 years old back then . Also watched it as the elevator was bought and moved out of Judson and now it stands north of Interstate 94 . That was a slow go that day .

  9. In the 1920s, before North Dakota Power & Light Co. built a line into Judson, there was a small light plant operated by one Bruno Just. Anyone know what kind of business he ran or what name the plant was operated under?

  10. I lived on a farm south of Judson. We rode bicycle to school as there was no schoolbus. I also had Mrs. Porsborg as ateacher. Hi to Keith as we were related.
    Darrell

  11. I’m so in love with this school. the upstairs is gorgeous as it was remodeled, but the basement is in shambles. I am beyond curious as to why the people left.

  12. My uncle, Robert Purfeerst, attended school in Judson I believe. He was born in 1929 or ’30. He often said the only reason he graduated 8th grade was because his aunt was his teacher!

    1. My Dad went to school with your uncle near Judson at the Spring Valley school . That school is now my dads garage.
      School was 6. miles south of Judson

      1. Thank you for your reply.
        That makes sense, Uncle Bob talked of a one room school house. He is my uncle by marriage. He married Leota Moos from New Salem, my mother’s twin sister. I think he said the teacher’s name (his aunt) was Millie??? I believe Uncle Bob was the only student in his grade.

  13. The guy that owns the school now is a Muslim and has animals mostly sheep and goats grazing in the school yard. He lives at or is working on the school to live in

  14. Karl Merting, I live in NY now but grew up in Judson at my Aunt Erna Wiechmans farm . my cousins father August Wiechman would take us down to town while he drank. I remember he would buy Jerry and me a bottle of beer which we would split. that was in 1945 before my dad got out of the army, re-married and I moved to NY. was there in 2002 for Jerrys funeral. Still consider myself a North Dakotan

    1. Knew
      Erna and Jerry when I was a kid my mom used to take us over there and we always went to her flower garden. The well water was always so cold and tasted good. We would drink it out of a green and white cup that was hanging there. My dad Martin combined for Jerry and the scariest ride I ever was him driving about 80 down the Judson road with his arms while he was lighting a cigarette trying to get to town before the Cenex station closed. I laugh now but was a scared high school kid then.

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