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Category: Sanger, ND

Oliver County
Vacant as of 9/04

Say Goodbye to the Sanger County House

Say Goodbye to the Sanger County House

We first visited Sanger in 2004 and quickly fell in love with the County House. Someone had told us it was the former post office in Sanger, but we visited again in 2013 and an area resident told us it was known as the County House — the remnant of a boarding house from the horse and wagon days. Back then, it was a two day journey between Minot and Bismarck, and the County House’s location in Sanger was a convenient stopping point for travelers to spend the night.

We watched for a decade as the condition of the County House got progressively worse until, last week, our friend Kelsey Rusch sent us a photo of the County House now.

Sanger County House

The Sanger County House is now just a pile of lumber. If you never got to see it as it was, here are a few of our photos when it was still standing.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, ND

Original content copyright © 2015 Sonic Tremor Media

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Beauty in the Ruins of Sanger

Beauty in the Ruins of Sanger

These photos are a collection of some previously unpublished things and artsy stuff from our 2004 visit to Sanger.  Beauty in the ruins.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Order Book Two

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

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

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

Ten Lost North Dakota Places

It’s always a thrill to see enthusiastic residents get involved in saving historically and culturally significant places in their communities, but in North Dakota’s vanishing small towns, the losses frequently outnumber the wins by a significant margin. It’s something we’ve seen time and again in over ten years of photographing North Dakota.

What follows is our personal list, by no means exhaustive, of ten significant North Dakota places that have unfortunately lost their battle with time.

1. The Opp House

This home stood in a field outside Lincoln Valley, North Dakota until the early-2000’s when it was razed due to safety and infestation concerns. It was the former home of the Opp family, who just packed up and left one day, leaving most of their belongings behind. It became a very early icon of our website and we’re saddened to see it go.

2. Hamberg School

A fire claimed this Hamberg School on April 1st, 2012. It was a beautiful place.

3. Stardust 17

We took these photos in August of 2011 and in the fall of 2012, they took down what remains of the screen at Stardust 17, the drive-in theater outside of Grafton, North Dakota.

Fillmore, North Dakota

4. Fillmore

The incredible near-ghost town we visited in 2006 is no more, most of it destroyed by fires of suspicious origin according to some local residents.

Sanger, North Dakota

5. Sanger County House

The Sanger County House, a former boarding house for travelers, and perhaps the most significant original remaining structure in Sanger, North Dakota, has collapsed.

6. Deisem

This church is all that remains of the rural outpost that was once Deisem. This former Seventh Day Adventist Church is severely structurally compromised. When it finally collapses, the above-ground remains of Deisem will pass into history.

7. Bentley Church

Less than two years after we photographed this church in Bentley, the steeple had collapsed. The webmaster of BentleyND.com [link broken] has added some photos recently which show the condition is now much worse.

Temple, North Dakota

8. Temple School

Contributor Mark Johnson visited Temple, a true ghost town, in 2004 and photographed this school. In the years since, the school has been moved and re-purposed as an addition to a home.

9. Fargo College

Fargo College opened in 1890 and blossomed into a sizable campus over the next few decades, including the Jones Hall building shown above, and later Dill Hall and a Carnegie Library. Finances took a nosedive however beginning with the Great Depression, and by 1964 all but one remaining original structure had been torn down. The only remaining structure is the former Watson Hall Conservatory of Music at 601 Fourth Street South, which is now the home of the Fargo Fine Arts Club.

moodys-1910-thumb

10. Moody’s Department Store

Moody’s was  a landmark department store in Fargo at the gateway to the west. This store stood on the corner of a city block in Fargo with the Waldorf Hotel one block away and the Northern Pacific Depot across the street — it was frequently the first stop for any traveler headed west on the railroad through North Dakota. The Moody’s store was a character in the drama that played out in the Great Fargo Fire of 1893 — home to a fire alarm box for which nobody could find a key. The city bought the building for so-called urban renewal in 1966, and the site is now home to the Bank of the West building, completed in 1973.

Bonus Place: Sanish, North Dakota

Upon completion of the Garrison Dam and the subsequent flooding of the Missouri River Valley to create the Lake Sakakawea reservoir, Sanish was abandoned in 1953 and the residents moved to higher ground. We photographed the remaining foundations when the lake was at extremely low-levels in 2005.

If you enjoy posts like this, please check out our hardcover coffee table books in our online store, or pick them up in a store near you.

See also: Building Four Bears Bridge

See also: Ten More Lost North Dakota Places

Sanger: No Longer a Ghost Town

Sanger: No Longer a Ghost Town

Nine years after our first visit to Sanger, North Dakota, we returned to see how things had changed.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered Sanger is no longer a true ghost town.  There had been no population when we visited in 2004, but today, Sanger is inhabited by two men, Ron and Dan, who moved to Sanger about four years ago.  They have been renovating one of the existing homes in Sanger, and they’ve built several new structures as well.  We had a nice chat with them and learned quite a bit, some of which you’ll see in the photo captions below.

Sanger, North Dakota

As we approached Sanger from the north, we spotted this homestead on the side of the road and stopped to snap some photos.

Sanger, ND
Just as we arrived at our final turn to drive into Sanger, we saw a group of cattle in the distance, spread out across the road, blocking our path. I stopped the car and tried to decide how to proceed.
Sanger, North Dakota
It was only a few moments before we realized the cattle were coming right at us and we were caught in the middle of a genuine North Dakota cattle drive, complete with cowboys on horseback.
Sanger, ND
Terry had a front row seat.
Sanger, ND
There’s always one curious one in the bunch.
Sanger, North Dakota
The former Sanger County House. Dan told us although most people think this was a Post Office or Land Office, it was actually a boarding house.  Travelers in the horse and buggy era frequently stopped here to rest for the night before continuing their journey at sunrise.
Sanger, North Dakota
At the time we took these photos in 2013, we noticed the County House was deteriorating rapidly and that it would not likely stand much longer. It collapsed in 2015.

Sanger, ND

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, ND

Sanger, ND

Sanger, ND

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, ND

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, ND

Sanger, ND
The last time we were in Sanger, the home on the left was deteriorating. It is now undergoing restoration and expansion. The building on the right is a new structure which replaced another that was beyond saving.

Sanger, ND

See all of our Sanger Galleries.

Photos by Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp, © 2013 Sonic Tremor Media

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More views of Sanger

More views of Sanger

These photos of Sanger were sent in by David L. Anderson, dates unknown.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

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Sanger, North Dakota

See also: Photos from our first visit to Sanger in 2004.

See also: Sanger – No Longer a Ghost Town

Original content copyright Sonic Tremor Media LLC

Sanger, ND

Sanger, ND

Oliver County
Vacant as of 9/04

Sanger, North Dakota is located in Oliver County, on the west bank of the Missouri River. It was a true ghost town when we visited in September of 2004, but  that would change by 2013.

Sanger was also known as Bentley, ND when it was founded in 1879, named after the town doctor W. Bentley, who was also a member of the territorial legislature.  Bentley was considered the county seat until 1884, when the county seat was moved to Center, ND and the town was re-named Sanger, for Henry Sanger, the owner of the townsite.

We received an email from Bob & Caryl Rutten of Bismarck which told of two people who may have been Sanger’s final residents. It read in part:

Sanger was in fact occupied in the late 1970’s (I believe) through the early ’80’s by Linda Whitney and David Christie, two ND visual artists who trained at UND and moved out to Sanger to set up studios. We used to read about them in the Bismarck paper now and then back in the day.

In addition to all the houses in Sanger, there are several empty lots which clearly had homes or buildings at one point. Sanger’s layout is still recognizable with the vacant homes lining what used to be the main streets.  Visiting Sanger in person, it’s easy to imagine riding up to the town in a horse & carriage. Unlike many ghost town sites in the state, there seems to be very little tampering and vandalizing of the town site.

See more of our Sanger stuff here..

**Source Material – North Dakota Place Names – Douglas Wick

Sanger, North Dakota

For years we’d been told this was the former Post Office in Sanger, but the residents we met in 2013 told us it was The County House, a boarding house for travelers in a time when a trip from Minot to Bismarck took several days.

Sanger, North Dakota

We’ve been looking for old photos or postcards that show Sanger back in the day.  If you have any to share, we’ll gladly post them here for everyone to see.  Just contact us.

Sanger, North Dakota

Order Ghosts of North Dakota Books

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Check out the sweet old appliances.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

We’re told this house was moved from somewhere else and placed on this lot in Sanger, but nothing ever came of it. Years later, it would still be here.

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

Sanger, North Dakota

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