The end always comes. As we’ve documented here, here, and here, our historic places are frequently losing the battle with time and the elements. The places shown here, two churches, a school, an Air Force installation, and a Nordic ski jump, were all photographed in the last decade or so, and now — in the blink of an eye really — they are gone. This is why we shoot ’em… because too many of them share this fate. Here are five more lost North Dakota places. …
Unfortunately, we have to do a post like this from time to time. As the years pass, many of the places we’ve photographed also pass… into history. Whether it be the wrecking ball, weathering, or disaster, many of the places we’ve photographed since 2003 are now gone. We documented some of the losses in 10 Lost North Dakota Places and 10 More Lost North Dakota Places, now, unfortunately, here are 8 More Lost North Dakota Places.
A visitor recently commented to tell us the Maza School apparently burned sometime in 2015 or 2016. As one of the few remaining structures from Maza, the end of this school effectively spells the end for Maza.
Bluegrass Store and Gas Station
Bluegrass, North Dakota, is a true ghost town, population zero, in Morton County, about thirty-five miles northwest of Mandan. Bluegrass is a former rural community that had a population of 20 in the 1920 Census, a relatively small peak population, but not surprising considering the railroad never came to Bluegrass. Sadly, this former store and gas station burned down in 2014.
Northgate Port of Entry
Northgate is a fascinating near-ghost town right on the Canadian border, about 70 miles northwest of Minot. It was originally founded one mile to the north, but moved one mile south to its present site. While the original town site retained the name North Gate (with a space) this town was renamed North Gate South, and then re-dubbed Northgate (without the space) when the post office was established in 1914. This building was once the Port of Entry Station, but was abandoned when a new Port was built. A person commented on our Facebook page to say the building has since been demolished.
Much of Leith, North Dakota
Leith‘s troubles have been highly publicized, so we don’t have to say much except that numerous vacant structures were demolished after a white supremacist bought up the property in an attempt to take over the town. This creamery is one of the buildings which no longer stands in Leith.
Lost Bridge was so named because in 1930 when it was originally constructed over the Little Missouri River, about 23 miles north of Killdeer, there were no quality roads leading to the site, and the bridge was seldom used. Paved roads came in the sixties, but Lost Bridge was demolished in 1994 and replaced with a modern highway bridge.
Brantford Public School
Brantford Public School still stands in this Eddy County ghost town, but not for long. One of the classrooms has collapsed and cracks can be seen throughout the exterior walls. Soon, Brantford Public School will be no more.
This church, known as Augustana Lutheran Church (and other names over the years) would have been a fantastic place for a business. It stood in a high traffic location, at the foot of Broadway, across from Sammy’s Pizza in Minot. Sadly, after years of dereliction, mold, and a close call in the 2011 flood, the church was demolished.
Most of Bucyrus
Bucyrus, North Dakota was struck by a wind-driven grassfire in 2010 and many of the abandoned structures in town, as well as a number of family homes, were destroyed. This home, on the west side of town, was one of the casualties. Thankfully, nobody lost their life in the fire, but Bucyrus will never be the same.
After being driven out of Leith, the same white supremacist allegedly tried to buy vacant properties in Antler, North Dakota. The city bought up a number of properties to prevent the takeover, and this former bank building was one of them. In early 2016, it was demolished.
Original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
We first became aware of Brantford some years ago when our friend Mark Johnson sent photos of Brantford in winter. In the summer of 2013, we visited Brantford for ourselves and found a very quiet, near-ghost town with an impressive but crumbling public school, among other things. These photos were taken in 2015 after we found ourselves looking for something to photograph when another location we had planned to visit didn’t work out.
As we drove into Brantford this time, we were surprised to see one of the classrooms had collapsed sometime between 2013 and 2015 after the exterior wall crumbled. It was a tangible reminder that exploring abandoned places is dangerous.
I bet this was loud when it came down.
Last time, we explored the inside of the school a little, but this time, we decided to take a closer look before we entered. After a brief walk around the school, it seemed clear to us that it is no longer safe to explore. The exterior walls are bowing on all sides and it is only a matter of time before the whole thing comes down. We would not recommend anyone explore the interior of this school anymore.
Goodbye, Brantford Public School.
Sometime in the two years since we last visited, there was a grassfire in Brantford. One of the houses which stood in 2013 was reduced to burned ruins, and the large red barn we photographed last time was missing too. Several other structures came within a few feet of burning.
A visitor to our Facebook page said Brantford is now a true ghost town with no remaining residents. There is a house in Brantford (not pictured) that appears to have been the last one that was occupied, with a satellite dish on the roof, but it no longer seems to be lived in. There are, however, families living in the area who still consider themselves Brantford residents. The Ludwig family lives not even a mile down the road.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media
Exploring the abandoned Brantford Public School in Brantford, North Dakota. This was Troy’s first time wearing the GoPro camera, and the moment he put it on, he forgot he was wearing it, so please ignore the ramblings and excuse the stomach-turning fast panning. We’ll do better next time.
Note: this video is available in HD.
We’ve known about Brantford, North Dakota — in Eddy County — for some time. Mark Johnson contributed some winter photos a few years back, and we posted some postcards as well, but this was the first time we got a chance to actually visit.
We saw only one home which appeared to be inhabited (it had a satellite dish on the roof), but we didn’t see a single person the whole time we were there. There were half a dozen abandoned homes, multiple foundations from buildings that no longer exist, the former Brantford Public School, and a church which was moved to a farm and then abandoned.
The view out the front door from Brantford Public School. Hundreds of little feet once strolled that sidewalk, but now it’s barely holding back the prairie; grass and weeds are poking through every crack.
Right inside the front door of Brantford Public School,
A former pump house
This was once somebody’s driveway.
There were thousands of bees buzzing around these hives, but they didn’t bother us at all.
We waded through chest-high grass in places to get to the beautiful church at the back of this farmstead.
This church appears to have been moved to this farmstead, for what purpose, we don’t know. The entire place is now vacant with only the bee colony on site.
Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC
Brantford was established in 1910, two years before the Great Northern railroad arrived. Brantford reportedly had 200 residents in 1920, but slowly lost population over the years until the post office was finally closed in 1973.
The following photos of Brantford today were contributed by Mark Johnson. His comments on the church shown below: “Church located immediately next to farm, note the steeple has been removed and is setting right in front of it. The location of this church is suspicious, especially looking at the aerial, it looks like it was moved to this farmsite.”
He goes on to say, “Definitely worth a return trip during non-snowy months to confirm what the summer residency is versus winter, and to get closer shots of these buildings.”