The Last Days of Brantford

The Last Days of Brantford

We first became aware of Brantford some years ago when our friend Mark Johnson sent photos of Brantford in winter. In the summer of 2013, we visited Brantford for ourselves and found a very quiet, near-ghost town with an impressive but crumbling public school, among other things.  These photos were taken in 2015 after we found ourselves looking for something to photograph when another location we had planned to visit didn’t work out.

Brantford, North Dakota

As we drove into Brantford this time, we were surprised to see one of the classrooms had collapsed sometime between 2013 and 2015 after the exterior wall crumbled. It was a tangible reminder that exploring abandoned places is dangerous.

Brantford, North Dakota

I bet this was loud when it came down.

Brantford, North Dakota

Last time, we explored the inside of the school a little, but this time, we decided to take a closer look before we entered. After a brief walk around the school, it seemed clear to us that it is no longer safe to explore. The exterior walls are bowing on all sides and it is only a matter of time before the whole thing comes down. We would not recommend anyone explore the interior of this school anymore.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Goodbye, Brantford Public School.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Sometime in the two years since we last visited, there was a grassfire in Brantford. One of the houses which stood in 2013 was reduced to burned ruins, and the large red barn we photographed last time was missing too. Several other structures came within a few feet of burning.

Brantford, North Dakota

A visitor to our Facebook page said Brantford is now a true ghost town with no remaining residents. There is a house in Brantford (not pictured) that appears to have been the last one that was occupied, with a satellite dish on the roof, but it no longer seems to be lived in. There are, however, families living in the area who still consider themselves Brantford residents. The Ludwig family lives not even a mile down the road.

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Brantford, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

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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 “The Last Days of Brantford

  1. So sad I went to this school until it closed. It’s been a couple years since I was there, didn’t know it was falling down.

  2. These pictures reminded me of the poem Ozymandias which talks of how we are powerless when faced with the wrath of time. No matter how great we are, we are all going to be eventually forgotten. In a few decades all of these buildings will be gone and it will be as if they never existed.
    These pictures from North Dakota reminded me of the poem. Quite sad. I’ve never been to ND but I sure would like to go there one day.

  3. When I was young my family visited my Great-Grandmother Mae Ludwig, and Great Uncle Paul Johnstone who lived there. I remember being so amused by the fact that they didn’t have running water, and they still had an outhouse only. Years later they added a cistern so they had running water and indoor toilet, but that was years later than I would have expected. At the time we visited the town was already mostly deserted, no businesses that I recall even back then.

    1. My family lived right across from Mae and Paul nice people I still remember putting a May basket on Mae’s step and also getting caught I was pretty young too. If people remember May baskets things people did back then. Love Brantford Simple times then!

  4. My daughter is 7 now, but when she was 4 she began the May basket tradition. Now back in Grand Forks, she delivers May baskets to all her grand mother’s neighbors, who remember and appreciate the day. I don’t know anyone else who still does this, though. Sad.

  5. I absolutely find ghost towns amazing I would love to drive around the state to see what all is out there. I even enjoy the books out there that show towns and old artifacts if they could talk. Amazing.

  6. I was just in Brantford about a week ago. The school still stands as pictured. From what we can tell, little has changed with the exception of the property north of town on 13th street NE. Either here or another site there were photos of a church. It seemed that it was moved onto the farmstead property long ago. The steeple was cut off and it was set to the side. The church was something we wished to photograph, but its gone. Not only that but everything is gone. Besides to drive entrances over the ditch there is nothing to be found. The large number of tree, buildings, foundations, equipment – all gone and in place is tilled land. Rather unfortunate.

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