Lonetree’s Ghost Cathedral

Lonetree’s Ghost Cathedral

Australian adventurer and photographer Gavin Parker sent us these photos of Lonetree, North Dakota, a place that just barely came to be.

A settlement known as Lone Tree (two words) came into being in 1888 in the area that would become Ward County, Foxholm Township, in 1888, when this was still the Dakota Territory. A post office was to be founded that same year, but with Lone Tree’s fledgling status, officials thought better of it and canceled the plans. In 1890, a new post office was established, but it only lasted 18 months before it was closed and the few residents of Lone Tree had to travel by horse and wagon to Minot, 15 miles southeast, to pick up their mail. As the population grew in Des Lacs, a Great Northern Railroad stop only four miles down the track, mail service for Lone Tree was established there.

Lonetree, North Dakota

In 1902, enough settlers had arrived in Lone Tree that a third post office was established (with the name spelled as Lonetree, no space) and it would serve the town until closure in 1957. According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick,  the peak population of Lonetree was 75 residents in 1920.

Lonetree, North Dakota

According to a post made by an anonymous visitor in a ghost town forum, there were five remaining residents in Lonetree as of 2010. This ghost cathedral is one of the few historic structures remaining in town.

Lonetree, North Dakota

Do you know more about Lonetree, or this old church? Please leave a comment below.

Lonetree, North Dakota

Inside the main floor church sanctuary.

Lonetree, North Dakota

If you enjoy Ghosts of North Dakota, please consider placing a book order from our online store to help us offset substantial bandwidth and hosting costs. Your support is always appreciated.

Lonetree, North Dakota

Lonetree, North Dakota

A look in the basement of the church.

Lonetree, North Dakota

Lonetree, North Dakota

There are one or two more derelict places in Lone Tree.

Lonetree, North Dakota

Photos by Gavin Parker, original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 5,559 other subscribers

2 thoughts on “Lonetree’s Ghost Cathedral

  1. My father, Rev. Glenn Emmert, was pastor at the “Ghost Cathedral” in Lone Tree, ND, from 1944 through 1946. I and my brother were both born at a hospital in Minot while the family lived in Lone Tree. The following are excerpts from my mother’s autobiography where she describes their Lone Tree experience. I also have a picture of what the church (“Cathedral”) looked like in 1944 as well as pictures taken outside the house we lived in next to the church. It is difficult to tell if our house could be the 1887 house pictured on this Web site.
    Kathleen Emmert Reed

    “When the spring of 1944 came, a representative from American Baptist Churches asked if we would go to North Dakota to serve a church. We were elated. We would get fresh air! These were war days. Boys were being drafted all the time. Because Glenn was a licensed minister, he was not called. They left pastors at home to care for the wounded and the many loved ones who were hurting. We were about to start on a new adventure. North Dakota is a beautiful state! The village of Lone Tree had only a few scrubby little trees in it. The terrain was level so there was nothing to obscure the sunrise and the sunsets. Miles and miles of waving golden grain in the fall was always a thrill. We were so happy to get out of the city that we were willing to live with many inconveniences, and we had them! All the water had to be hauled in cream cans from the city pump about a quarter of a mile from the house. In the winter, we melted snow on the kitchen range that burned coal to wash our clothes. In the spring, a pond formed from melting snow so we could dip water from it for our laundry. Our entire four‐room house was heated with a coal-burning stove. The outhouse had big cracks in the walls that kept out very little northwest wind. Glenn did some repair work on that. The Great Northern Railroad track went by Lone Tree. Many of the cars carried troops. World War II was still at its worst. A mail sack was dropped off as the train went through. There was one small local train called the “Goose” that would stop when hailed. . . . We moved to Lone Tree about June 1, 1944. . . . On July 5th we went to Minot and bought a new wringer washing machine. That same evening we returned to Minot where our daughter was born on July 6th. After ten days in the hospital, they let me come home. This was the normal hospital routine at that time. . . . How did we make a living? Our salary was small so my country preacher sought other sources of income. And there were many advantages to pastors in those days. As I recall, Kathie cost us $14.00 for that ten‐day stay at the hospital, and doctors never charged pastors. We planted a garden and church people brought us produce from theirs. The second summer we were there, Glenn bought 100 baby chicks. They grew well on North Dakota grain, and we butchered them in the fall and canned them. With no refrigerator or freezer, everything had to be canned. One man in the church had a cow and supplied us with milk. Glenn also worked in the fields running a combine during harvest time. . . . On November 26, 1945, a cold winter day, our son was born. He was an 8‐pound baby, well and strong. The roads were very slippery and deer hunters were out in full force. We made it to the Minot hospital 18 miles away just in time! . . . The snow was piled high and got worse after I got home. I didn’t get out of the house with him for about two months. The banks were so high that I could not get over them to the church next door. Church was probably canceled part of that time. No snow removal equipment back then! . . . “

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 − five =