Forgotten Minot Church

Forgotten Minot Church

This vacant church stood at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave NW in Minot, at the bottom of North Broadway, right across the street from Sammy’s Pizza.  It was locked-up and posted, so we weren’t able to go inside, but by all outward appearances, this place was largely forgotten.

Abandoned Minot Church

We photographed this place on the spur of the moment on a Saturday morning, and I found myself wondering and thinking about it for the rest of the day. In a town the size of Minot, at a high traffic intersection like this, with a shortage of space due to the oil boom, I couldn’t imagine how someone hadn’t purchased this property for immediate redevelopment as some kind of renaissance landmark.

Abandoned Minot Church

Normally, when we go on a shoot, we post some shots from the road, and before we even get home, people have filled in all the details of the places we’ve photographed. But not with this place. Out of nearly a hundred comments, nobody knew the name of this church.

Abandoned Minot Church

This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Abandoned Minot Church

Charissa Arneson posted a photo of the church, taken from the Broadway bridge during the disastrous flood of 2011. You can see the top of a huge earthen dike in the foreground, the church’s ultimate saving grace.

If you know the name or any of the details behind this church, please leave a comment below.

Update: This church was founded in 1906 as First Evangelical Swedish Lutheran Church, later to become Augustana Lutheran Church.

Update 2: A visitor to our Facebook page says this property was listed for sale at $575,000.

Update 3: This church was demolished in the summer of 2015.

Original 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.

26 thoughts on “Forgotten Minot Church

  1. I lived in Minot for twenty-five years. I think I remember it being a Mormon church or an offshoot of the LDS church, but I may be wrong. I have never seen the inside, even though I passed by it almost every day. Hopefully some day you can get permission to shoot indoors!

    1. I also remember it having a round sign above the door that said something like the Reformed Church of the Latter Day Saints…

  2. Many, many years ago this used to be the Augustana Luthern Church. Our neighbors belonged to it and I remember going there to a Christmas program when I was a little girl.

  3. I remember this church as I lived in Minot 15 years and worked at Sammy’s Pizza passed by it every day….so sad to see it run down last time I seen it was 2009….Just as Charles said I think it was a Mormon church.

    1. From 1969 until the mid to late 1990’s the church belonged to the Reorganized Curch of Jesus Christ of Latter a Day Saints. I grew up in that church. My dad was Pastor or several years. We are not Mormon. We finally had to sell the church because of a dying membership and could not afford the upkeep it needed. It was a beautiful building.

  4. I believe that this property is owned by RE/MAX Realty of Minot. They had their headquarters in the building to the west of the church.. Both buildings were severely flooded in 2011. The last group I remember being in the building was the Reorganized Latter Day Saints. If you contact the RE/MAX office in Minot, located in the same building as Broadway Bean and Bagel, you may be able to get permission to enter the church.

  5. Jeremy Boyce (who owned the Remax next door) owns the property, he was going to develop it into a restaurant before the flood hit.

  6. It was a Re organized Church of jesus christ of latter day saints (Mormon) not to be confused with the LDS (Mormon church. The re organized church (which is a off shoot and not supported or approved by the LDS church) had few members and I believe was the last church group to use the building,.

    1. This was Joe Ballantyne’s church. He was my 8th grade science teacher at Sawyer and died on Christmas break in 1971 while shoveling snow. He was a Morman LDS preacher too and this was his church up to the time he died. His wife was the special ed teacher in Sawyer and his daughter was a classmate of my brother George. They were from Missouri and upon retirement his wife moved back to Missouri. Their home in Sawyer was along the river just north of the railroad tracks.

  7. I remember the church being hit hard in the flood of 1969. I may be wrong but I don’t remember it reopening at least as a church.

  8. My dad, Joe Ballantyne, was pastor there (reorganized church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints-not Morman). We cleaned up after the flood of 69 and reopened until I think the 1990’s (not positive of dates as I moved away) when it closed for lack of members. It was then included in a small historic park in that area when a dike was built and the river rerouted.

  9. Don’t go near that church! It’s haunted by a troubled spirit. My friends brother used to belong to a group that would have ceremonies there every other month. He would tell me about all these crazy experiences they would have. Typical door slamming and such. It is rumored that a gal who was into witch craft was put to death on that very property but her spirit remains.

    I was always under the impression never to go there. So I recommend noone else does either.

    1. That is so not true! I grew up going to church there. From 1968 until the late 1990’s the church belonged the Reorginized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (NOT MORMON). Yes, Joe Ballentyn’s church. We had to close because of a dying membership. The church is NOT HAUNTED! There has NEVER been witch craft performed in the church!!! It was a beautiful church and I have very fond memories growing up there. Shame on you for trying to disgrace the memory of such a beautiful place!

  10. I used to be part of Augustana Lutheran Church before the flood ended the congregation. For a while it was, as you said, the church that became Augustana Lutheran Church. Then it was a Mormon Church. For several years now it has been private property.

    1. In 1969 it was bought by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, NOT Mormon church. We owned it until the late 1990’s. Had to sell because of dwindling membership.

  11. The church was the first home to Our Redeemers Lutheran Church on the corner of 3rd Ave. NW and North Broadway. Was from 1960’s was there in 1969 for the 1st flood and other minor ones Was owned for a time by the RLDS @ 80’s was vacant during the flood of 2011 as far as I remember.

    1. I grew up in this church when it was Our Redeemers Lutheran Church, was confirmed in this church as well. So many fond memories, but none of it being haunted by a spirit! It was a very beautiful church and at Christmas time, was decorated inside so beautifully! Sad that is had to be torn down.

  12. Yes the last occupying church was the Church of Jesus Christ LDS – possibly reformed LDS or a splinter from the main church in NW Minot. They vacated in the mid to late 1990’s and has been vacant since. (a circle outline above the door shows where a plaque indicating that it was an LDS church once was). In the late 1980’s there was a front page photo in the Minot Daily showing workers placing the cross on top. Augustana Luthern occupied to the mid-1960’s before their move to University Ave. From what my father told me the building escaped flooding in 1969, but no such luck in 2011

  13. Old maps of Minot show that prior to th ’69 flood and Corps of Engineers re-routing of the river to straighten it, the river used to be on the other side of the church. Someone once told me that because of that “re-route” it cannot be built on and is why most of the property around there is vacant.

  14. This church building was demolished on Aug. 9, 2015. Minot Daily News article on Aug. 10, 2015
    gives more information on church history, last ownership, etc. Current owners abandoned efforts to repurpose building for different usage.

  15. I grew up in this church. In 1969 it was bought by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We are not Mormon. Yes, Joe Ballylentyne was our pastor for many years. So was my dad, Bob Gauper. Unfortunately, due to a dwindling membership, we had to sell the church in the ’90’s. It was a beautiful building in it’s day, and those of us that attended have very fond memories of services, weddings and vacation bible schools held there!

      1. I think my husband & I were the last wedding to be held in our church. Wonderful memories of growing up in that church.

  16. Leland Everson I believe I remember it as a Lutheran church. I lived in Minot from 1959 – 1968. It was just around the corner from the Mu Sig frat house I lived at (when it was located on 5th Ave). I went there for training classes when the Billy Graham movie “For Pete’s Sake” came to town. The Mormon history threw me a little but that wasn’t until 1969. We’d moved to Minnesota by then.

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