Originally called Denney, this unincorporated community was founded along the Great Northern Railroad in 1887. The name was changed to Barton in 1893. Barton is in Pierce County, about twelve miles northwest of Rugby. In the 2010 Census, it was listed as having 20 residents.
We chose to visit Barton after a vocal visitor to our Facebook page suggested it on more than one occasion. It turned out to be a great suggestion — Barton has abandoned buildings on both sides of its former main street–Barton Street.
Update: We’re told the Barton Sportsman’s Club was torn down in Summer of 2013. If anyone can confirm, please comment below.
There was once a school in Barton, and the town had over two hundred residents at one time. If someone can tell us what building these steps once led to, we’d love to hear it in the comments.
This old home reminded us of Little House on the Prairie. You can almost imagine weathering a blizzard in this little place, with a fire in the wood stove and a kettle of hot soup to keep you warm.
We’ve heard from one resident of Barton who seems to have a problem with the use of the word “abandoned” in describing some of the buildings, preferring to describe the structures as being “in disrepair” instead. In our opinion, it’s splitting hairs.
Merriam-Webster Definition of Abandoned: left without needed protection or care
Abandoned is not intended to mean unowned. If a building is no longer used for the purpose it was originally intended, if its windows are boarded up, if its gutters have fallen and the roof has caved in, if it has weeds and grass growing up around it, or if its been vandalized and never repaired, then it’s not a big stretch to call it abandoned, whether things are stored in it, and whether someone owns it or not. Abandoned also doesn’t mean people are welcome to walk right in, or take things.
This would be a great place to spend a peaceful moment waiting for a bus, if there were any buses running in Barton. As it is, it looks as though someone had a bonfire here.
The owner of the outhouse had a good sense of humor.
At the time of our visit, this old shop was on its last leg.
This photo of Barton Lutheran Church was featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains.
Barton has a very impressive city park which hosts (or hosted) Haakenson family reunions every year for a time.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 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