The last time we visited Chaseley, North Dakota, was in June of 2005, and it was a spur of the moment stop that we hadn’t planned. We took a few photos but didn’t run into anybody wandering about, so we moved along to the next stop without learning much about this tiny town in Wells County, right in the middle of North Dakota.
On the way home from a trip to western North Dakota in July of 2017, however, we decided to make another stop in Chaseley, and we’re glad we did, because we got to meet a couple Chaseley residents and learn a lot more about this slowly vanishing place.
We stopped in front of the home shown above, where a young man named Bailey was getting ready to do some painting in advance of a big Chaseley reunion that was just a couple of weeks away. He said he was doing the work for a lady who owned the property and, after we had chatted for a few minutes, he said “Here she comes right now.”
Terry and I introduced ourselves to the property owner, a delightful lady named Dorothy who owned a number of properties in Chaseley, a town which once had 125 residents. We asked Dorothy how many people live in Chaseley today and she said, “Six, if you count me.” She told us she has struggled with some health challenges and lives in Georgia about six months of the year.
Dorothy told us the building shown above was once the grocery store in Chaseley.
When we visited in July of 2017, it marked twelve years since we had last visited Chaseley, the longest gap between visits to any place in the history of this project. It had been so long that we had very little memory of our first visit, and we had to go back and review our photos from 2005 to refresh our memories on what we had photographed. Above: In 2005, the grocery store looked much worse. See more from our 2005 visit.
Behind the old grocery store there is an abandoned home and a former one-room school.
This little red storage building was once a one room country school.
Above: a view inside the former one-room school, today used for storage.
Dorothy told us the grand white home shown above was once a banker’s house, so inside, it is finished with gorgeous hardwoods and fine touches throughout. I might be mistaken, but if I remember correctly, I believe Dorothy told us planning was underway for this house to be moved somewhere else.
Above: a view from the porch.
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