A Slow-Motion Disaster in Ghost Town Aylmer, North Dakota

A Slow-Motion Disaster in Ghost Town Aylmer, North Dakota

If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to look at these photos and assume this place was struck by a powerful prairie tornado. Grain bins are ripped open, the roof of the former bar has caved-in, and the building leans at a precarious angle. Pieces of several structures have blown down and lie decaying in the grass some distance away with their rusty nails pointed skyward, waiting for an unsuspecting explorer to test their tetanus shots with an errant step. Nobody would blame you for believing Dorothy and Toto just blew away minutes before, but the reality is, it’s been a slow-motion disaster in ghost town Aylmer, North Dakota.

Aylmer, North Dakota

The slow-motion disaster is the weather that comes with the passage of time. We first became aware of Aylmer when Sara Schindler sent us some photos in 2011, and when you compare her shots with ours, it’s apparent that even six years of weather can have a dramatic impact on an abandoned place.

Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer (we’re told it’s pronounced Elmer, like the glue) is in Pierce County, less than a quarter mile from the McHenry County line, about thirty miles southwest of Rugby. It was founded as a Great Northern Railroad town sometime around the turn of the century, and although it once had as many as 45 residents, it never incorporated or had a post office. Today, although the original townsite is empty, there is a nearby farm with a resident or two, so it’s technically not a true ghost town… yet.

Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer, North Dakota

A look inside

Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer, North Dakota

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Aylmer, North Dakota



Aylmer, North Dakota

Aylmer, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2017 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 “A Slow-Motion Disaster in Ghost Town Aylmer, North Dakota

  1. I love seeing photos of old homes, If those walls could talk,, all that history behind those walls,, how sad that nothing was preserved, and no one to take those places over.. just to sad.. keep up the good work..

  2. Hello Troy,
    I look at every Email message sent about GND.
    I have 3 of the original volumes. (I was stationed at both Fortuna & Finley AFS). I do ask: is your cap from Ohio State? It looks like their colors. Thanks.

  3. My husband’s Grandfather owned the tavern and store years ago. He can identify the building in your pictures. My husband moved to Wisconsin about 60 years ago.

  4. Hello Gents. I would like to ask a couple of questions. It says my email address is already subscribed for email notifications of anything new. I haven’t received an email notification from you folks in years.

    Why is Facebook not showing your posts to us followers.

    You have the nicest, best site of all states in the US.

  5. Thanks so much for the Aylmer pictures. The nearby farm you may be referring to is our Family Farm where my grandparents homesteaded in 1907. On July 1, we are celebrating that event with a big reunion. My Cousin and his wife reside there. I understood that there was mail delivery there. My relatives got on the train there to come see us while my Family lived in Bremen. We called the train the “Dinky”.

  6. Oh, yes, I remember the town of Alymer. It was the next railroad link once the “dinky” went through Clifton, ND and dropped off the mail to the local all around store owned be the Goerge Hager family. The mail was dropped off and also picked up by that little train. It seems to me there was even a day when Truman?? went through ? I can’t say that for sure. Just seems a memory. I was young at the time.

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