Venturia, North Dakota is located in McIntosh County, just north of the South Dakota border, forty-five miles east of the Missouri river, about nine miles southwest of Ashley, North Dakota. Like most shrinking rural communities across the state, Venturia was founded as a railroad town, but today the tracks are gone.
We visited Venturia on an overcast day of intermittent sprinkles, and we were excited by the photo opportunities but we needed a break from the rain. It took us a few minutes of sitting in the car, waiting for the rain to pass, before we realized the neon sign on the bar behind us was lit — OPEN. We decided to go pay a visit.
Inside, we met Don, the owner of the “Duck Inn,” a bar (on the left, above) that could also double as his living room. We had a beer and he showed us his 104-year-old pool table. Don told us he was born and raised in Venturia, then left to see the world before returning home to become the town barkeep. Although we were the only people in the place, he said he was expecting a good crowd of people from surrounding towns since it was Memorial weekend. Terry bought a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Duck Inn and Waddle Out.” According to Don, there were 21 people in Venturia. According to the 2010 Census, the tally was 10.
The former Venturia depot was on Main Street, about a block and a half south of the tracks.
According to “North Dakota: Every Town on the Map and More,” by Vernell and Louise Johnson, a disagreement over what to name the town was resolved when a pioneer builder proposed the name “Ventura,” a moniker he saw on the side of a railroad box car. The villagers added the ‘i’ and the town became Venturia.
Above, the Venturia Fire Department and Community Hall, also known as “The Doghouse” (see comments).
Venturia is a community founded primarily by immigrants, Germans from Russia.
In a busier town, someone would have sold the doors shown above for a pretty penny by now.
The now abandoned Venturia Lumber Company.
The old grain elevator still stands next to the former railbed, but the tracks are long gone.
It’s always cool to see the remnants of infrastructure, like a fire hydrant, peeking out of the tall grass.
What do you know about Venturia? Please leave a comment below.
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