When we planned our trip in early October of 2014, we realized we would be in the area of Deisem and made plans for a return visit. Deisem’s former church, the lone remaining structure, was in such terrible shape last time we were there, we didn’t know whether it would even be standing when we returned.
There it was, right along Highway 34, northwest of Edgeley, still standing but looking like more than two years had passed since our last visit.
Once you get past the sadness for a place forgotten and left to wither in the elements, there becomes a certain magic to abandoned places like the church in Deisem; the last remaining structure from this tiny vanishing rural settlement. Angled rays of sunshine beam through the windows, and golden dust motes swirl in the light when your shoe scuffs a wood floor laid down by craftsmen nearly a century ago. The silence is deafening, and for a few more moments at least, the place still stands.
The trains once came through Deisem, but the tracks were torn up long ago. You can still see the telltale ridge of the railbed, running from southwest to northeast through this section of land.
The building that was the Post Office and Store burned down on January 30th, 1943, and the loss spelled the end for the rural settlement that was once Deisem.
This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.
You can definitely see how the floor on the left has sunk considerably since our last visit.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota. @NorthDakotaTroy