Browsed by
Category: Lostwood, ND

Mountrail County
Inhabited as of 5/10

Letters to Lostwood

Letters to Lostwood

We visited Lostwood, North Dakota in 2010 and found, in addition to a few farms in the neighborhood, only a well-cared for church and a boarded up school as the only real remains of Lostwood.

However, Tim Steele recently sent us some photos with the following comments:

I have two photos of the Steele Store and Post office in Lostwood.  Can anyone help me with dates or any info on the Post Office.  These pictures came from my grandfather’s photo album. I know they are older than my dad and he was born in 1931.

Webmaster’s note: According to North Dakota Place Names by Douglas Wick, the first Post Office was established in 1907 with Samuel Steele as Postmaster. The Post Office was moved five years later in 1912.  If you look closely, you can see an unweathered, unpainted section of wood around the front door, almost as if there was once an entryway attached to the front of this building.  Pure speculation but it might be an indication that this photo was taken after the building was moved in 1912…?

Steele Store & Post Office, Lostwood, North Dakota

Order the Book

Steele Store & Post Office, Lostwood, North Dakota

Photos contributed by Tim Steele

Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Lostwood: Where Time Moves Slowly

Lostwood: Where Time Moves Slowly

What’s in a name? In a place like this, maybe everything. Our initial interest in Lostwood was aroused by the name… Lostwood. It brings to mind images of an old-fashioned, silent town, lost in a haunting copse of elms and knotty oaks; a place where time moves slowly and the residents wouldn’t have it any other way. With a name like Lostwood, we felt compelled to visit and see for ourselves what remains.

Lostwood, North Dakota

We arrived to find Lostwood a captivating remnant of a prairie settlement, if somewhat lacking in the elm and oak tree department. In truth it is a ghost town in the sense that very little remains here to show a population of 100 residents, Lostwood’s all-time high, reported in 1920. Only a well-kept church and a boarded up school appear to be original structures. On the other hand, there are several inhabited homes in the area, and those folks likely consider themselves residents of Lostwood.

Lostwood, North Dakota

Lostwood School was featured in our first book, Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 1.

Lostwood, North Dakota

This school is so evocative in real life. Just bending on one knee here to take a photograph, it’s easy to have a moment of nostalgia while imagining students coming and going, carrying lunch pails and dressed in the clothing of the era.

Lostwood, North Dakota

There are population figures for Lostwood township in the US Census, but none for Lostwood as a town. According to “North Dakota: Every Town on the Map and MORE,” by Vernell and Louise Johnson, Lostwood was first known as Chida, then renamed for the lake nearby, which had been named Lostwood Lake by settlers after a load of wood was lost there in a blizzard.

Lostwood, North Dakota

Douglas Wick’s North Dakota Place Names offers an alternate explanation for the name Lostwood. About 1900, a settler cut some wood and left it here to dry, but a nearby family used it to heat their home over the winter, and when the settler returned in the spring, he discovered the wood had been “lost”.

Lostwood, North Dakota

Lostwood is perhaps better known as a duck and waterfowl breeding area and migratory and nesting bird sanctuary. The surrounding Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge is partly made-up of the Lostwood Wilderness,  “a region well known for numerous lakes and mixed grass prairie”. Lostwood Wilderness “ensures that the finest duck and waterfowl breeding region in North America remains wild and unimproved”. It was created by an act of Congress in 1975.

Lostwood, North Dakota

Tim Steele sent some photos of Lostwood’s post office back in the day, and we’re trying to figure out what year the photo was taken. Can you help?

Lostwood, North Dakota

The church is quite nicely kept in Lostwood and we’re told it still holds services and hosts other events on occasion.

Lostwood, North Dakota

Lostwood, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media