Charbonneau, North Dakota is in a very sparsely populated area of western North Dakota, in McKenzie County, about fifteen minutes west of Watford City. As far back as 1960, Charbonneau had already been de-listed from the Census, but according to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas A. Wick, Charbonneau was founded in 1913 and a peak population of 125 was reported in 1920. Charbonneau’s name was derived from nearby Charbonneau Creek, which was in turn named for the interpreter on the Lewis & Clark expedition, Toussaint Charbonneau.
Our friend John Piepkorn contributed these photos in 2010 with the following comments:
The attached pictures are from Charbonneau. It is a true ghost town west of Alexander and about a mile south of Highway 200 in McKenzie County. The post office closed in the 1960’s and is no longer there. The school in still standing, but the ceiling is starting to crumble. There is a small cemetery up on the hill as you enter the town from the North and a couple of grain elevators that appear to be in decent shape. There are also two houses that are still standing, one of which, I took a couple of interior shots, and also an interior shot of the school.
Charbonneau is just one of 18 places in North Dakota we classify as a “true ghost town”, a place where buildings still stand but the people have gone. See the rest of them here.
Photos by John Piepkorn. Original content 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