Brinsmade, North Dakota was platted in Benson County, just west of Devils Lake, on October 7th, 1889 as the Northern Pacific Railway expanded progessively west, carrying settlers and their families to their eventual homes on the plains. It officially became a city in 1904.
According to the 2010 Census, Brinsmade is now home to 35 residents in 13 households.
Brinsmade’s most prominent features today are the abandoned grain elevators.
Brinsmade is the central locale in Richard K. Hofstrand’s book, “With Affection, Marten,” a fictionalized account of his ancestor Marten Hofstrand’s immigration journey from Sweden to North Dakota. It is an exceptional glimpse at what it was like to be a settler in the early days of North Dakota.
For those interested in more history of Brinsmade, there is an out-of-print book by Susan Rolle Foy, “Memories of Brinsmade, North Dakota,” published in 1976. I have not read it, but I’ve been told it’s full of interesting information.
The remains of an unknown structure.
According to “North Dakota: Every Town on the Map, and More” by Vernell and Louise Johnson, Brinsmade was named for Reverend S. Brinsmade, congregational minister of Beloit, Wisconsin. The town site was located on the original homestead of John Erickson.
The remains of a sidewalk where there are no longer any businesses or homes to visit.
The school did not appear to have been used for classes in quite some time. Update: Site visitor Kevin Lunde reports the school was built in 1959 and only used for ten years as the last class was excused in 1969.
You can support our efforts to photograph North Dakota’s lost and vanishing places by ordering our latest hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains. Makes a stellar gift!
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright 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