At one time, there was a “town” near Hurricane Lake, in the northeast corner of Pierce County, about 7 miles northeast of York, North Dakota. It was a “town” because it had a post office, but in reality it never had a sizable population. Hurricane Lake was founded early in relation to many of the towns we visit — in the 1880s — and was a stage coach stop, never having had the benefit of a railroad line to boost development. There was a hotel at the north end of Hurricane Lake to serve travelers on the stage line, but the post office shut down in 1905 and today there is nothing left of the original Hurricane Lake. At present, the area is home to the Hurricane Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and this crumbling church and still-used cemetery are the only man-made signs of the settlers who once lived in the vicinity of Hurricane Lake.
The Hurricane Lake Church is rapidly approaching the end through a combination of weathering and salvage operations. The roof is open and the weather has obviously been intruding for quite some time. The bell was removed from the steeple some time ago, and the windows and planks along the sides of the church have been removed, presumably for some unknown reuse.
We would have liked to photograph the cemetery, but it was extremely wet. There is an entry for Hurricane Lake Cemetery at Find A Grave.
Inside, Hurricane Lake Church is naturally air-conditioned. It seems inevitable that Hurricane Lake Church will reach its end sometime in the near future.
In the lower right corner of the photo above, plywood that once covered the windows.
The basement of Hurricane Lake Church was full of water on the day we visited, likely from the snow melt of the early spring.
The whole time we were at Hurricane Lake Church, the birds in these trees were nearly deafening with bird song. They did not seem to like our presence. They would cackle together for minute after minute, then it would suddenly get quiet as they took flight together, only to land and begin their chorus again.
What do you know about Hurricane Lake Church? Please leave a comment.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2017 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