I was on the road to deliver some books this morning and I decided to stop in Sheldon because I’d seen the old bank once before and I wanted to shoot it. It’s not a ghost town, not even close, the population in 2010 was over 100, but I’m always on the lookout for good photo opportunities in small towns.
Sheldon, North Dakota is in Ransom County, about 33 miles southeast of Valley City.
I was ready to take off after I snapped a few shots but as I was driving away, I noticed a few other notable places and decided to shoot a little more in Sheldon.
This old depot caught my eye right away. Sheldon was founded in 1881 and the Northern Pacific railroad arrived in 1882. In your mind’s eye you can almost imagine travelers waiting here for their train.
The depot is locked up tight with shiny new locks, and the present owner is using it for storage.
Sheldon has an interesting story about the failed attempt to drill an artesian well to serve the local roller mill in 1906. The foreman was too busy in a card game to oversee the final installation of the casing, so he gave an assistant instructions on how to finish the well without him, with catastrophic results. When the valve was opened, water sprayed 200 feet in the air and all attempts to fix the well failed. It was eventually abandoned.
You can almost imagine the old railroad agent arriving here before dawn under the light of the lamp over the door to prepare for the days’ travelers.
Former home of the Sheldon Shadows. The mascot name was spelled out in colored shingles on the roof, but weathering has started to peel the roof resulting in the (perhaps apropos) blurring of the name on the roof.
A local told me they have pretty good food at D’s Dear Stand in Sheldon.
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. @NorthDakotaTroy