Northgate is a fascinating near-ghost town right on the Canadian border, about 70 miles northwest of Minot. It was originally founded one mile to the north, but moved one mile south to its present site. While the original town site retained the name North Gate (with a space) this town was renamed North Gate South, and then re-dubbed Northgate (without the space) when the post office was established in 1914.
Above: The former Northgate Port of Entry building. The road to the east of Northgate is the highway which formerly functioned as the port of entry, but it is now closed and well-posted by US Customs and Immigration. The new border crossing is about a half mile west.
Not wanting to attract the attention of US Customs and Immigration by driving toward the border on a farm road, we took a long walk down the road to get pictures of the former Port of Entry building. We got within twenty feet of the Canadian border.
As mentioned by a site visitor in the comments section below, the building in the background of the photo above is the former Canadian Port of Entry building, on the Canadian side of the international border. The road to the right of the building shown above was gated when the former border crossing was closed.
We visited another former border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.
Update: we’ve been told this building has now been demolished. The old Port of Entry is now gone.
This is the view from inside the Port of Entry building. The town outside is the original North Gate.
The town in the background of the above photo is North Gate, on the site of the original town platted in 1910. It is now in Canada. It’s unclear how may people live there. We did not see any activity. We’ve been told the Canadian government was planning to demolish what’s left of North Gate, if they haven’t already.
To get quite specific, in the photo above, the asphalt road in the foreground is US territory. The grassy ditch just beyond the road (where the railroad crossbuck is planted, just on the other side of a barely visible barb-wire fence) is the US-Canadian border. The dirt road and homes at the rear are in Canada.
A couple years later, we visited another impressive abandoned border crossing in Noyes, Minnesota.
Terry ventured onto the road to take this photo, but we escaped without any customs and immigration entanglements.
These elevators are along the now closed highway which originally crossed the border.
There were a lot of places built in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century that were affected by changing policies at the international border. One of them, St. Nicholas Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Caribou, Minnesota, was featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.
We met a not-so-tactful Northgate resident who first asked if we were lost, and then informed us they didn’t like strangers poking around in their town. All in all, an eventful visit.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 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