Browsed by
Category: Points of Interest

Random Points of Interest

Is Minot’s Derelict Oak Park Theater Coming to Life?

Is Minot’s Derelict Oak Park Theater Coming to Life?

Oak Park Theater in Minot has been vacant almost as long as I can remember. I was born and raised in Minot, and I attended quite a few movies in this theater as a kid. I saw Jaws here (through my fingers, because my hands were clasped over my face every time that music started…. duuuuuuh duh), the forgettable ensemble movie Earthquake, Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and most notably, Stars Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in 1977. By the time The Empire Strikes Back hit theaters in 1980, Oak Park Theater had fallen out of favor and Cine 5 at Dakota Square Mall was the new place to see a movie. For most of my young adult life, I remember this theater, and the strip mall in the same parking lot, as a vacant, derelict facility in somewhat sad condition.

The building has been used off and on over the years since then (as a church, a pool hall, and a discount theater), but has stood largely unused of late with only the memories of locals to color the tale — remembrances of the sparkling, lighted star atop the pole out front, and lines of people stretching across the parking lot, waiting to get in. After a showing, moviegoers in the balcony could exit out the door on the south side of the building, and it was always a shock to push open the door and emerge on the metal staircase into the cool night air.

Oak Park Theater

The era of the multiplex called an end to Oak Park Theater, but unlike the Empire Theater in downtown Minot (which was a paradise paved to put up a parking lot), the Oak Park Theater has managed to avoid the wrecking ball all these years, and now, nearly four decades later, this old lady might be poised for a comeback.

Oak Park Theater

According to the Minot Daily News, a Minot businessman has plans to re-open the Oak Park Theater in June of 2016 after a sizeable renovation and expansion. Plans include adding a second screen, and the renovated Oak Park Theater will become a theater for discount movies, indie features, film festivals, and onscreen gaming.

Oak Park Theater

Do you have memories of Oak Park Theater? Please leave a comment below.

Oak Park Theater

These photos were taken in November of 2014.

Oak Park Theater

Photos by Troy Larson, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Lonely and Abandoned Wolf Butte Church

Lonely and Abandoned Wolf Butte Church

The Wolf Butte Lutheran Church is in a remote part of Adams County, North Dakota, about 45 miles south of Dickinson. It was once part of a Lutheran Parish that also included another abandoned church we’ve photographed, the North Grand Lutheran Church, south of Bucyrus. Regular services ended at the Wolf Butte location in 1988.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

The Wolf Butte church was unusual for its finish. The exterior appeared to be stucco, or some other kind of applied finish over a wood frame, with cedar shakes covering the upper portion. The bell had been removed from the steeple.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

The cornerstone had been removed from the church. I mentioned it to Terry, and after we left, we spent some time discussing where it might have gone. It wasn’t until we got home and examined our photos that we realized it had been placed in the memorial that stood outside the fence of the cemetery, and neither of us had noticed it. I’m not sure why it was removed, but if I had to guess, I would say it’s because the cemetery might remain long after the church has crumbled? If someone knows for sure, please leave a comment.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

The church was locked up tight and nobody was around to get permission to go inside, so we settled for photos through the windows.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

The headstone for Oscar Roe was replaced sometime recently with a marker made of sheet metal with cutout letters. It was quite unique, and I was impressed that someone had taken the effort and expense to give Mr. Roe, who was born nearly one hundred sixty years ago, a new, original marker.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

Terry photographed a small marker of a precious Harvey family baby, Clyde, who didn’t make it to his first birthday.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church and Cemetery

If you enjoy prairie churches, both active and abandoned, please check out our book, Churches of the High Plains, or ask for it at your favorite local book store or gift shop.

Wolf Butte Lutheran Church

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Backoo’s Lonely One Room School

Backoo’s Lonely One Room School

Backoo, North Dakota was founded in Pembina County in 1887 along the Great Northern railroad line, about five miles northwest of Cavalier, but little development occurred and the population never exceeded fifty. This lonely one-room school stands alongside the highway, just miles from the incredible beauty of the Pembina Gorge.

Backoo, North Dakota

Although it was an unincporporated community, a post office in Backoo operated from September 26th, 1887 until October 11th, 1988. This schoolhouse now sits among a loose cluster of farmsteads and rural businesses. It is prominently posted “No Hunting.”

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota

Backoo, North Dakota

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Vintage Views of Devils Lake

Vintage Views of Devils Lake

We’ve been collecting postcards and vintage photos for years with the intention of doing a book one day. Today, I discovered a couple postcards depicting vintage views of Devils Lake, and thought we should share these on the site.  The quality of the first postcard was so good, we were able to zoom and bring out some interesting details.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

This street scene depicts Fourth Street in Devils Lake, circa 1937.  There was no postmark on the card, but I was able to date the photo based on the movie listed on the theater marquee.  “Captains Courageous,” a movie based on the Rudyard Kipling novel, starring Freddie Bartholomew and Spencer Tracy, was released in 1937.  The movie would be remade in 1977, and again in 1996.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

The opposite side of the street is home to a Red Owl grocery store and Montgomery Wards.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Look at the beautiful art deco marquee on the Hollywood Theater.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

In addition to the Fourth Street scene, I found this vintage postcard showing the State Deaf School in Devils Lake. Year of this view is unknown, but construction of this building began in 1892.

Devils Lake, North Dakota, 1937

Original content copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Video: White Butte — The Highest Point in North Dakota

Video: White Butte — The Highest Point in North Dakota

Last summer, we had the opportunity to go back to White Butte for the first time since 2007, so we couldn’t resist the chance to go to the summit and get some GoPro video in HD.

White Butte is in Slope County, and of the fifty state high points, it is one of only seven that is on private land — North Dakota, Nebraska, Maryland, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Illinois. The rest of the states’ high points lie mainly within state or national parks.

We opted not to include any narration on this one, just the beautiful view from the summit of North Dakota’s highest point.

Stream this one to your TV if you have the capability. It looks great on a big screen.

Original content copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

More Historic Automobile Bridges

More Historic Automobile Bridges

This is part two in our series about historic North Dakota automobile bridges. In part one, we focused on Sheyenne River crossings in southeast North Dakota. This time, we’ve photographed historic steel bridges in East-Central North Dakota, on the Sheyenne, Goose, and James Rivers.

Some of these bridges are closed and abandoned, others are still in use, and one has been restored, but they will all share the same fate without human intervention, so we’ve chosen to document them here.

Norway Bridge

Norway Bridge

Norway Bridge

Norway Bridge spans the Goose River in Traill County, about halfway between Hillsboro and Mayville, North Dakota. It’s a Pratt pony truss bridge constructed by Jardine & Anderson of Fargo and Hillsboro in 1912 at a cost of about four thousand dollars. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is considered significant because its construction by a local contractor makes it rare considering most bridges at the time were built by larger firms like Fargo Bridge & Iron Co. and other out-of-state bridge builders.

Norway Bridge was our first stop on this trip and we arrived early in the morning, when frost was still present on the timber deck. The bridge still gets frequent use — we saw several vehicles cross just in the few minutes were were there.

————————

Viking Bridge

Viking Bridge

Viking Bridge

Viking Bridge

Viking Bridge is the oldest documented automobile bridge still-standing in North Dakota. It was built in 1885 by C.P. Jones out of Minneapolis and originally spanned the Goose River between Mayville and Portland, but in 1915, Jardine & Anderson were hired to move this bridge to its present location, about a mile and a half northwest of Portland, North Dakota, in Traill County. It served traffic until 2006, by which time it had deteriorated to the point that it was no longer safe.

In 2010, Viking Bridge was rehabilitated by architecture and engineering firm KLJ. Today there is a informative plaque on-site detailing the bridge’s history.

————————

Washburn Township Bridge

Washburn Township Bridge

Washburn Township Bridge

This abandoned Washburn Township bridge was one of our favorite destinations on this trip. It spans the Sheyenne River at a spot in Griggs County, about four and a half miles east of Cooperstown, but today it has fallen into serious disrepair. There’s a dam just a few dozen feet to the southeast of this bridge, and the sound of rushing water coupled with the beautiful location make it the perfect spot to drop a line, or just dangle your toes in the river. It’s hard to imagine how someone hasn’t led an effort to turn this into a public park yet.

————————

Tyrol Township Bridge

Tyrol Township Bridge

Tyrol Township Bridge

This Tyrol Township bridge is in Griggs County about nine miles northeast of Cooperstown. It is built from steel supplied by the Inland Steel Company of East Chicago, Indiana, a company which existed for 105 years from 1893 to 1998, when it was absorbed by a multinational. We don’t know the year of construction or builder of this bridge, so please leave a comment if you know more.

————————

Nesheim Township Bridge

Nesheim Township Bridge

Nesheim Township Bridge

If you were to approach this bridge from the south you would travel a road that is now barely more than a tunnel through the trees as it descends into the Sheyenne Valley.

Nesheim Township Bridge

This Nesheim Township bridge (not to be confused with “Nesheim Bridge,” which is next) is in Nelson County, just over three miles south of McVille, North Dakota.

————————

Nesheim Bridge

Nesheim Bridge

Nesheim Bridge was built in 1904 by Fargo Bridge & Iron Company, in Nesheim Township, Nelson County, about 2 1/2 miles southwest of McVille, North Dakota. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

————————

Dayton Township Bridge

Dayton Township Bridge

Dayton Township Bridge

Dayton Township Bridge is a tiny steel bridge on the Sheyenne River in Nelson County, about 28 miles southeast of Devils Lake. It was built sometime in the 1910s by the Fargo Bridge & Iron Company.

————————

New Rockford Bridge

New Rockford Bridge

New Rockford Bridge

The New Rockford Bridge, on the north edge of New Rockford, North Dakota in Eddy County, was once New Rockford’s main bridge across the James River. It was built by Fargo Bridge & Iron Co. in 1904. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, partly due to its Warren truss construction, which is rare in North Dakota. Unfortunately it is now closed to vehicle traffic and falling into disrepair.

We found the scenery of the marshy wetlands along this stretch of river beautiful, but we only had to look below the bridge to see bicycles dumped in the river. It would be really nice to see a rehabilitation happen here. As with several of the other closed bridges on this list, this could be a real attraction as a fishing bridge or public park if it was just given a little TLC.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Sunday Morning on the Prairie at Norway Lutheran Church

Sunday Morning on the Prairie at Norway Lutheran Church

Norway Lutheran Church is in Nelson County, forty-three miles southeast of Devils Lake, not far from the valley where the Sheyenne River carves its way through the North Dakota landscape. Terry and I were on an adventure to photograph old steel automobile bridges, but as always, we were scanning the countryside for other abandoned things and roadside curiosities to shoot. As we traveled down a gravel road, Terry spotted a weathered steeple sticking up above the treeline, and we made a short detour to this place.

Norway Lutheran Church

Norway Lutheran Church looks as though it has not been used in quite some time, but someone has taken the care to secure it from the elements by covering the former windows, and even took the time to paint them with faux-window frames for aesthetic purposes. Quite nice. The green shingles are peeling in places, though, and this church will need some TLC in the foreseeable future.

Norway Lutheran Church

It reached almost 60 degrees on this day in the second week of November. We couldn’t resist the urge to take advantage of the good weather.

Norway Lutheran Church

Norway Lutheran Church

Norway Lutheran Church

The cemetery is still well-cared for and regularly used. We saw some internments that were as recent as 2014. Quanbeck, a name that survives today with local landowners, was one of the more prominent family names in the cemetery. The cemetery is also listed at Find A Grave.

Norway Lutheran Church

If you enjoy prairie churches like these, please check out our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains. It makes a perfect gift, and every order helps us offset the cost of documenting these vanishing places.

Norway Lutheran Church

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Langberg’s Church That Became a School

Langberg’s Church That Became a School

This place is the Langberg country school, in Bowman County, just down the road from Nebo and Adelaide Schools, and only four miles from the border with South Dakota.

Langberg Township School

We’re told this place was originally a church and later became a school, and someone told us it was actually a residence for a time as well. If someone can fill in the details of that transition, we’d love to hear it in the comments below.  Today, it stands with its door open, waiting for someone to come along and rescue it from the sad fate that awaits all abandoned structures on the prairie.

Langberg Township School

Langberg Township School

This part of the state is very sparsely populated and antelope run wild on the prairie.

Langberg Township School

Langberg Township School

The ladder leads up to the loft in the bell tower.

Langberg Township School

Langberg Township School

Langberg Township School

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Nebo School on Borrowed Time

Nebo School on Borrowed Time

In Bowman County, about eleven miles south of Rhame, North Dakota, this place remains, if only on borrowed time. Known simply as Nebo School, this little structure is the ruin of a North Dakota country school. There is very little information on the web about this particular school, so if you have a connection to this little school, please post a comment below and maybe we can remedy that.

Read More Read More

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Abandoned Country School in Adams County

Abandoned Country School in Adams County

This Adams County country school is one of hundreds simply withering away in the elements across the plains of North Dakota, having served its purpose in educating the children of the earliest settlers.

Adams County Country School

Most township schools like these, a single room structure constructed to conform with standard plans, were 18 x 32 and were staffed by a single teacher with students from first through eighth grade.

Adams County Country School

Consolidation and elimination of one-room schools began in 1908 when President Roosevelt appointed the National Commission on Country Life, and continued as automobiles became the primary mode of transportation for country residents, and mechanized farming reduced rural populations.

Adams County Country School

This school was posted “No Trespassing” so we didn’t get to go inside. It is located about six miles northeast of Reeder, North Dakota, not far from Wolf Butte Church.

Adams County Country School

To get notified when we post new places, go back to the homepage and plunk your email in the subscription box, or follow us on Twitter. Please note: you can no longer count on Facebook to show you our updates, so please use one of these alternate methods to subscribe.

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

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Little School on the Prairie

Little School on the Prairie

This little school is in Adelaide Township, Bowman County, just off Rhame Road, just a few miles south of Rhame, North Dakota. It is a particularly beautiful example of a two-room prairie schoolhouse in a very sparsely populated part of the state.

Adelaide Township School

Adelaide Township School

We’ve found it somewhat rare to find a little school on the prairie like this where the bell tower is still in good condition. Frequently, they have toppled by the time we arrive to shoot some photos.

Adelaide Township School

Adelaide Township School

We photographed this school as we were on our way south to Belle Fourche, South Dakota, with our eventual destination Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming.

Adelaide Township School

Adelaide Township School

Adelaide Township School

Adelaide Township School

A herd of antelope were having some fun in the morning sun in the field across the road. Most of them bounded away when we arrived but this one hung around as if to say, “Hey, what are you guys up to?

Adelaide Township School

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

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

The Badlands of Old Marmarth Road

The Badlands of Old Marmarth Road

In July of 2015, we visited Marmarth, North Dakota and had plans to proceed from there to Ollie, Montana to photograph the former school (it was no longer standing) on the way to the prairie ghost town of Carlyle, Montana. Our route of choice was Old Highway 16, also referred to as Old Marmarth Road. It was a route that would take us through the Badlands north of Marmarth, where the views are fantastic.

Old Marmarth Road

Although Old Marmarth Road is in fairly nice condition these days, it is not your standard scenic drive. It is a minimum maintenance road, and a sign at the south entrance advises you drive at your own risk. Although there are a number of ranchers who graze cattle on land adjacent to the road, there are no homes, services or businesses of any kind on the stretch we drove, and cell service is hit and miss even with the best carrier. You’ll drive over a dozen or more cattle guards in the road along the route, and there are no fences in places, requiring a slower pace and attentive driving habits, because it’s not unusual to encounter some cattle right on the road. We saw rattlesnakes on the road too, so if you drive here, be careful.

Old Marmarth Road

Old Marmarth Road

There are places along the road where you can see abandoned remnants of the old road, where travelers traversed the rugged Badlands of Old Marmarth Road in the horse and wagon era, sometimes crossing paths with new fangled machines called “automobiles.”

Old Marmarth Road

Old Marmarth Road

Old Marmarth Road

If you’re feeling adventurous, and yearning for something a little more visceral than the standard scenic overlooks of the Interstate System, Old Highway 16 is a good place to take in some North Dakota Badlands vistas.

Old Marmarth Road

One of the narrower stretches of Old Highway 16 as it looked in July of 2015.

Old Marmarth Road

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

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

The Majestic and Abandoned North Grand Church

The Majestic and Abandoned North Grand Church

The majestic and abandoned North Grand Church is in Adams County, ten miles southwest of Hettinger and just a mile north of the South Dakota border. It served this barely-populated part of the county for sixty years, from 1909 to 1969.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

I would describe this church as brick, although I’m not sure that’s the correct term. The blocks are larger than your typical brick and they have a textured surface that makes them particularly beautiful. If someone has some clarification on the construction of this church, please leave a comment below.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

We found getting to this church somewhat challenging. The nearest paved highway is five miles to the west, and even the dirt roads leading to this beautiful place are very lightly traveled. In places, it was just two wheel tracks with prairie grass growing up in the middle, but it was worth the trip. When we arrived, we shut off the car and got out, greeted with our favorite reward — the sound and smell of the prairie. Crickets chirped and the prairie grass swished in the light breeze. No traffic noise, no people, and our cellphones didn’t ring. Perfection.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

A visitor to our Facebook page reports this church was once part of a Lutheran Parish that included the Wolf Butte, Bucyrus, and Richland churches.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Lutheran Church is surrounded on all sides by crop land with barely a tree in site.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

The inside of the North Grand Lutheran Church is in better condition than some of the churches we’ve visited, like St. John’s in Arena, but not by much. There aren’t many years left in this place without human intervention, and the remote location makes that unlikely.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

Judging by the small number of graves, the cemetery has apparently been very lightly used. We saw mostly old stones from the WWII-era, but one was from as recently as 2006. Holden, Jeffers, and Hanson were some of the names we noticed.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

If you enjoy country churches, both active and abandoned, please consider ordering a copy of our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, to help us offset our considerable web hosting and bandwidth costs.

North Grand Church and Cemetery

North Grand Church and Cemetery

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

Join 4,988 other subscribers


Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Tonset Lutheran: The Church on the Hill

Tonset Lutheran: The Church on the Hill

We got these photos of Tonset Lutheran Church, near Lignite, from Dave Ramsey, who says:

Found this church near Lignite, ND. Open the door and walk on in. Sign a guest register and look around. The place was dusty and covered with dead flies. Other than that it looked you could hold a service there tomorrow. The cemetery was just as cool. So much history.

Tonset Lutheran Church

The bell tower was struck by lightning in 2002 and it took a heroic effort on the part of local residents, and the Tonset Lutheran Church Historical Society, to rebuild the steeple.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Regular services ended in 1968.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church is named for Tynset, Norway.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

Tonset Lutheran Church

If you enjoy prairie churches, please consider our book, Churches of the High Plains, out now.

Tonset Lutheran Church

Photos by Dave Ramsey. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Inside Sheyenne River Academy

Inside Sheyenne River Academy

We visited the former Sheyenne River Academy, in Wells County just a few miles northeast of Harvey, in 2012. We were unable to find anybody at home when we visited, so we were unable to get permission to go inside.

However, John Mosher recently posted some photos of the abandoned remains of Sheyenne River Academy to our Facebook page and graciously gave us permission to post them here.

Sheyenne River Academy

John says, “More pics of the Sheyenne river academy by Harvey ND for you guys and gals. I had permission to check it out by the way. Floors are unsafe and the building is in disrepair but it was cool!!

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy opened in 1904 and used this site until 1976 as a Seventh Day Adventist secondary school. See photos from our first visit and learn more about this place here.

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Do you have our coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains?

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Sheyenne River Academy

Photos by John Mosher. Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Doctor Dibb’s Lost Gold Mine

Doctor Dibb’s Lost Gold Mine

Some of the earliest European travelers through Dakota Territory were in search of gold. Stories of gold mines in Montana and Idaho drew prospectors from all over with the promise of wealth and prosperity. Dr. William Denton Dibb, credited by the Quarterly Journal of the University of North Dakota (Vol. 13, 1922) as the first pioneer physician in the Dakotas, wanted his share of the gold.

goldIn 1864, Dibb left Minnesota as part of a wagon train bound for the gold fields of Idaho with Captain James Fisk (a man who would become infamous for his encounter with Sitting Bull.) Near Deep Creek in Bowman County, they reportedly discovered gold.

According to Dibb’s account, they stopped their wagon train and camped on a hill that had drawn their attention because it showed evidence of previous mining efforts. It is a curious detail in the story since there is no record of anyone ever mining in the area prior to their arrival. (It should be noted however that a settler named William Gay reported finding placer gold in the nearby Grand River a few years later, in the area known today as Haley, ND.) Dibb investigated an abandoned mine shaft and discovered a gold vein so rich that he and several others were reportedly able to extract several hundred pounds of gold. Locals reported Dibb suddenly appeared to be affluent.

The story diverges at this point. According to one source, Dibbs worked the mine for several months, then left for Montana, never to return. Another account claims the men concealed the opening to the mine when they left for Montana, but when they returned later, they were unable to find the mine entrance. The story of Doctor Dibb’s mine was pieced together in the early 1900s when copies of his journals were discovered. His story has been told and retold many times, and like a game of telephone, the facts have been muddied by the generational handoff. One version of the story even says the treasure was silver instead of gold. In the interest of full-disclosure, the Minnesota Historical Society, upon examining copies of Dibb’s journal in 1923, determined that the tale was likely a hoax — a fantastic fiction woven into the story at a later date by someone other than Dr. Dibb.

Discrepancies aside, if Doctor Dibb really did discover treasure in North Dakota, then Doctor Dibb’s lost gold mine is a ghost of North Dakota — still there, hidden away for more than 150 years, waiting for someone to come along and rediscover it.

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Abandoned Fort Buford

Abandoned Fort Buford

Fort Buford dates back to the days of the Dakota Territory, decades before the map was crisscrossed by a spiderweb of railroad lines. Founded in 1866, Fort Buford was a strategically chosen point near the best highways of the day — the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. The original fort was reportedly constructed using some recycled parts from Fort Union and Fort William.

Read More Read More

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church is in Eddy County, about seven and a half miles southwest of Sheyenne, North Dakota. Two other places we’ve photographed — Bremen and Hamberg — are just a short drive away.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

An obituary for Astrid Nelson Salmonson published in the Fargo Forum in 2002 reveals interesting details about Mrs. Salmonson’s young life in Grandfield Township, and the history of this beautifully constructed church.

She was born on the prairie, February 7th, 1909. Her father, Anders Gustav Nilson, had helped build this church, and she was baptized and confirmed, in the Swedish language, in this building. Astrid agreed to marry Vernon Salmonson in 1935, and their wedding ceremony was the first held in this church.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

This church is part of the Sheyenne Lutheran Parish which includes about a half-dozen other congregations in the area. Sheyenne Lutheran Church celebrated a centennial in 2007, and the article from the Benson County News sheds a little light on this church’s history.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

This church was so beautiful, we plan to feature it in a future book. Check out our Ghosts of North Dakota hardcover coffee table books.

Augustana Swedish Lutheran Church

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

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

The Ruins of Munster Country School

The Ruins of Munster Country School

This is the second time we’ve visited the Munster country school, in Eddy County, a short drive northwest of New Rockford. We originally set out to photograph this place in October of 2012 under the assumption it was still intact, but 2012 was one of the driest summers on record, and when we arrived, we found the school had recently burned.

Munster Country School

Almost three years later, we happened to be driving by after another potential site didn’t pan out. We weren’t really paying attention to exactly where we were, so when we crested a hill and saw the school on the side of the road, we were shocked at it’s condition. Once the fire consumed the wood support structure, the brick remains didn’t stand a chance, and in just a couple short years the site is well on its way to becoming a ruin, living now mainly in the memory of the students who attended here.

Munster Country School

Munster Country School

We have significant hosting and bandwidth costs hosting this website. Enjoy these posts? Please support us by ordering our Ghosts of North Dakota hardcover coffee table books.

munster15-5

See a photo of the Munster country school before it burned.

munster15-4

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

The Flooding of Grahams Island

The Flooding of Grahams Island

Captain Duncan Graham was a Scotsman who came to North Dakota after getting started as a fur trader for Hudson’s Bay Company. Graham believed there was profit to be made in the trading business, and he founded a trading post on the island that now bears his name. Though the date is in dispute, Graham is believed to have inhabited the island around 1810 to 1817; far earlier than the flood of homesteaders to come six decades later.

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

Grahams Island is a state park today. The south side of the island is an anglers’ and campers’ paradise, but the north side of the island is a sadder story. Devils Lake is a closed basin and has been subject to fluctuating water levels. The decade between 2005 and 2015 has seen some of the highest observed water levels ever, and there are at least four farms along the north shore that are now abandoned and partially submerged. The roads that once led to these family homes are now submerged, leaving a beautiful landscape of man’s work slowly giving way to nature.

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

grahams-island2

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

One of the few structures with some heritage still-standing on Graham’s Island. It looks like a former country school.

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

We were thrilled to see it looks like someone is actively working to restore this school. There was a scaffold set up along one exterior wall and the window frames had been stripped and nicely repainted, hopefully in advance of getting new windows. It would be great to go back in a few years and see this place all fixed up!

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

Do you have our Ghosts of North Dakota books? Get ’em here.

Graham's Island, Devils Lake, ND

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



Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Forgotten Minot Church

Forgotten Minot Church

This vacant church stood at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave NW in Minot, at the bottom of North Broadway, right across the street from Sammy’s Pizza.  It was locked-up and posted, so we weren’t able to go inside, but by all outward appearances, this place was largely forgotten.

Abandoned Minot Church

We photographed this place on the spur of the moment on a Saturday morning, and I found myself wondering and thinking about it for the rest of the day. In a town the size of Minot, at a high traffic intersection like this, with a shortage of space due to the oil boom, I couldn’t imagine how someone hadn’t purchased this property for immediate redevelopment as some kind of renaissance landmark.

Abandoned Minot Church

Normally, when we go on a shoot, we post some shots from the road, and before we even get home, people have filled in all the details of the places we’ve photographed. But not with this place. Out of nearly a hundred comments, nobody knew the name of this church.

Abandoned Minot Church

This church is featured in our book, Churches of the High Plains.

Abandoned Minot Church

Charissa Arneson posted a photo of the church, taken from the Broadway bridge during the disastrous flood of 2011. You can see the top of a huge earthen dike in the foreground, the church’s ultimate saving grace.

If you know the name or any of the details behind this church, please leave a comment below.

Update: This church was founded in 1906 as First Evangelical Swedish Lutheran Church, later to become Augustana Lutheran Church.

Update 2: A visitor to our Facebook page says this property was listed for sale at $575,000.

Update 3: This church was demolished in the summer of 2015.

Original photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC



Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Beaver Township School

Beaver Township School

This is the Beaver Township Country School/Township Hall, on Mud Lake in Benson County, about 23 miles southeast of Rugby, just a short drive south of York, North Dakota.

Beaver Township School

The location of this school, right on the water, is very beautiful, however, there were 40 mph wind gusts the day we visited, making it a very chilly visit, indeed. Terry and I were both reminded what it must have been like to attend school in a little building like this in a howling snowstorm. Brrr.

Beaver Township School

Beaver Township School

Beaver Township School

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



Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Two Minutes Until Winter

Two Minutes Until Winter

It was November 7th, 2014 and it was two minutes until winter in Josephine, North Dakota when we briefly braved forty mile per hour winds to get the photos you see here.

Josephine, North Dakota

I consulted Douglas Wick’s North Dakota Place Names book, which says Josephine, North Dakota was founded in 1901 on the site of an earlier pioneer settlement known as Genin. Josephine was named for Josephine Lindstrom Stickelberger, one of North Dakota’s first female physicians.

Josephine, North Dakota

It had a population of 30 once, but today, Josephine is a ghost town with only two elevators and the accompanying office remaining on site.

Josephine, North Dakota

We returned to Josephine in 2017 and got some photos from much closer. See them here.

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.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

As we ventured toward Minot for a book signing event, we decided we would try to sneak in some shooting time at a few different locations along the drive, but this was not a place we knew about beforehand — we just happened to drive right by it, on highway 30 in Albert Township, just north of Maddock, North Dakota and couldn’t pass up such a picturesque church.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This is the former Immanuel Lutheran Church. Founded in 1887 and closed “in God’s Service, July 1st, 2001.”

Immanuel Lutheran Church

The church was locked up tight so we couldn’t go inside, but a visitor to our Facebook page says a lot was removed from inside after this church closed.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This was a very windy and cold November day. Two days later, the first significant snowfall of the season hit a large portion of the state.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This church is featured in our hardcover coffee table book, Churches of the High Plains, which, by the way, makes an excellent gift. 🙂

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Someone definitely took great care to design a great roadside monument for passing travelers to enjoy, including a photo of the church in brighter days, and the bell.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

This is the second church to wear the name Immanuel Lutheran Church. See the comment section below for the tragic story about the first Immanuel Lutheran Church and a lightning strike that claimed the church and the lives of several men.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Immanuel Lutheran Church

There are some pretty old headstones in the cemetery — pioneers who rest in peace at this quiet spot on the prairie.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Abandoned in the Sheyenne River Valley

Abandoned in the Sheyenne River Valley

This is an abandoned farmstead right along the Sheyenne River Valley Scenic Byway, just a few minutes south of Valley City, North Dakota.

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

We passed this farm once before and we couldn’t get close due to a wet field.

abandoned farm

This farm is often visited by photographers. We’ve seen photos from lots of other people who have visited this place, likely due to it’s incredibly beautiful location nestled in the rolling hills of the Sheyenne River Valley, just off the scenic byway which is one of the state’s most beautiful drives.

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

The driveway which once led to this farm no longer exists, making this an isolated outpost on what was once a wild prairie.

abandoned farm

There was at least one collapsed structure on-site, and a small house, separate from the main home.

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

abandoned farm

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



Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Remote and Abandoned: Albion Township Country School

Remote and Abandoned: Albion Township Country School

This is an abandoned country school in Albion Township, Dickey County, about eight miles northwest of Ellendale.

Albion Township Country School

There was a short stretch of gravel road that was pretty rough on the way to this place, but we got rewarded with the sound of pure prairie once we arrived — We arrived shortly before sunset and we were greeted by crickets and wind through the grass.

Albion Township Country School

Albion Township Country School

We visited this school on the spur of the moment after we discovered a church we intended to visit nearby turned out not to be what we expected. As a result, we didn’t do any advance research about this place and we know very little about it. If you know anything about this country school, please leave a comment below.

Albion Township Country School

This school isn’t far from several other places we’ve photographed, like Merricourt, Venturia, Monango, and Forbes.

Albion Township Country School

Albion Township Country School

Albion Township Country School

By modern standards, the facilities were less than ideal in this small school. By prairie school standards, these would have been luxury accommodations — meaning, not an outhouse!

Albion Township Country School

Albion Township Country School

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

We were on our way home from an adventure shooting abandoned places in the Bakken oil patch when we drove right past this place. Like usual, Terry spotted the place first and through the trees we saw three or four buildings, yellow prairie flowers, and a red roof, just off the highway.

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

We made a quick diversion from our route home and thirty seconds later we had ducked down the overgrown former driveway into this little island of beauty, totally surrounded by a shelter belts of trees.

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

Abandoned Fort Berthold Farm

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

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Abandoned Roadside Church

Abandoned Roadside Church

This abandoned country church is located in Rat Lake Township in Mountrail County, about fifteen miles southwest of Stanley. This church stands right alongside ND 1804 in a little-populated part of the county. The entire township has a population of 28 and the countryside is quiet, green and rolling.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

We hadn’t planned to stop here, we just saw this church on the side of the road and made a quick pit stop to shoot it.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

There’s a small, overgrown plateau next to this church, a “parking lot” so to speak, but looking at it, you can totally imagine the days when wagons delivered parishioners on Sunday morning.

Rat Lake Township, North Dakota

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

Ghosts of North Dakota, Volume 3

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Cartwright Tunnel and Fairview Lift Bridge

Cartwright Tunnel and Fairview Lift Bridge

This is a small sampling of photos from our visit to Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel in July of 2014.

If you’re interested in the history of this lift bridge, which was only raised once, you can check out our previous gallery featuring photos and captions from our friend R. David Adams, or you can read more about it at the MidRivers page, which has nice background on both Fairview and its twin, Snowden Lift Bridge.

Fairview Lift Bridge

There’s a campground in the shadow of this bridge where we intended to camp during our visit, but when we arrived, we found the place off-limits. We’re told some people had been abusing overnight camping privileges, so camping is no longer allowed.  We ended up in a jam and had to settle for last minute accommodations at a primitive campground some miles away.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Today, the bridge is a tourist attraction and a popular spot for watersports among locals. The bridge and tunnel are both handicap accessible. The gate shown above marks the west end, just above the parking lot.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

The sky was clouded by smoke from forest fires on the day we were there.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

This island is right in the middle of the Yellowstone river, which is one of the longest un-dammed rivers in the western hemisphere. William Clark devoted some time to exploring this river during Lewis & Clark’s return journey from the Pacific Coast. Just miles from here, it empties into the Missouri River.

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Fairview Lift Bridge, North Dakota

Cartwright Tunnel

The decaying ruins of the Cartwright tunnel were shored up and reconstructed between 2004 and 2006 by the North Dakota Army National Guard and Friends of the Fairview Bridge.

Cartwright Tunnel

Cartwright Tunnel

 We did not realize how big this tunnel was from photos. When you’re there in person, it is huge.

Cartwright Tunnel

The hike, from end to end, took us about 8 minutes.

Cartwright Tunnel

A neighbor’s dog accompanied us on our hike.

Cartwright Tunnel

Cartwright Tunnel

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

Do you have our hardcover, coffee table books?

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, copyright © 2016 Sonic Tremor Media

Join 4,988 other subscribers

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.

Highland Township Country School

Highland Township Country School

We just happened across this old country school in Highland Township, Hettinger County. It’s just west of the Neuberg Congregational Church, about thirty miles southeast of Dickinson.

Highland Township School

Order Books

Highland Township School

It’s not scientific, but we’ve found the general rule is: the more remote the place, the less vandalism we see. Terry and I both thought this school had a remarkable number of window panes still unbroken.

Highland Township School

Highland Township School

Photos by Troy Larson, copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Troy Larson is an author, photographer, gentleman adventurer (debatable) from Fargo, North Dakota, and co-founder of Ghosts of North Dakota.