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Thank You for 15 Great Years

Thank You for 15 Great Years

Fall of 2018 officially marks 15 years since we began documenting North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places. I’ve previously written about how we got started (by accident). We photographed our first three places in 2003 and started the website in early 2004, and in that time we’ve driven more than 65,000 miles and traveled through every county in North Dakota in search of abandoned and vanishing places. We’ve photographed true ghost towns with zero residents and vanishing small towns with a handful of residents remaining — places like Merricourt, Corinth, and Haley among many others. We’ve photographed abandoned places of interest including San Haven Sanatorium, Fortuna Air Force Station, and the Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel to name a few. As we’ve photographed these places, we’ve learned a lot about North Dakota and its history and we’ve tried to share as much of that with you as best we know how. Our photography has gotten a little better over the years and my ability to put it into words has grown too. And we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.

North Grand Church
North Grand Church

We’ve sacrificed plenty to do this over the years. We’ve run three cars to ruin with all the extra miles (one of those stories is here), we spent about ten years paying for every fill-up, meal, and hotel room out of our own pockets, not to mention our substantial webhosting and bandwidth costs, and we missed any number of family gatherings because we used a holiday weekend as an opportunity to escape from our 9-to-5 and hit the road, but we’ve enjoyed every minute of it and we would do it all again.

Recently, I discussed Ghosts of North Dakota with my friend and long time partner-in-roadtripping Terry Hinnenkamp, and we both agreed that it is time for these dads to take a break. We still love fooling around with our cameras as much as we always have and love a good roadtrip, but our multiple trips per year have occasionally taken on the feeling of “obligation” — something we do to keep followers happy, to keep our Facebook page growing, to keep North Dakota’s vanishing places in the stream of content that flashes past all of us every day. If you’ve ever had a hobby that turned into a chore, you probably know the feeling.



When we started photographing North Dakota’s abandoned places, we were one of very few people doing it (Andrew Filer is someone who’s been doing it for a very long time), and we may have attacked it with a little more fervor than most, but today, there are a LOT of artists and photographers dedicating their efforts to this great state and covering it in their own unique way. Don’t believe me? Check out the work of Jack Dura, who photographs North Dakota places in his travels as a journalist for the Bismarck Tribune, MJ Masilko, an artist who paints the places she photographs, and John Piepkorn, who has contributed tons of galleries to Ghosts of North Dakota over the years. There are others, too, more than I can mention. Zachary Hargrove of Furious Skies, Nate Reynolds of Lost Places on the PrairieTim Riley of Whispers of the Past, Bob Hoffman of Country Candids and many, many more. With so many people doing it, we’re confident there will still be a stream of glorious North Dakota content for you to enjoy… click the links and follow all of those artists, you won’t be disappointed.

San Haven Sanatorium
San Haven Sanatorium

This has all led up to this, an official announcement. Terry and I are on indefinite hiatus from photographing North Dakota’s lost and withering places. The website will stay right here, and you’ll likely still see an update from us now and then, and probably contributor galleries popping up from time to time. There may or may not be another Ghosts of North Dakota book in the future, and who knows, sometime down the road, Terry and I might decide it’s time to take it up again. We’ll see. Until then, thank you. Your continued reading has meant everything to us over the last 15 years.

Troy Larson and Terry Hinnenkamp
Ghosts of North Dakota

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

Five More North Dakota Sites You’ll Love

Five More North Dakota Sites You’ll Love

If you’re like us, you enjoy all things North Dakota. Here are five more North Dakota-related sites you should check out.

Wild In North Dakota: They might be the most followed North Dakota-oriented site on Facebook with over a quarter-million followers. Wild in North Dakota is a non-profit organization dedicated to the “promotion, education, and awareness of the wild horse herd” in Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
Facebook | Website

1897 Red River Valley League: This excellent site chronicles the 1897 Red River Valley Baseball League which featured teams from Fargo, Grand Forks, Moorhead, and Wahpeton-Breckenridge. “The league featured future major league players, local heroes, reckless characters, economic unrest, and spirited rivalries.”
Facebook | Website

Dakota Death Trip: This fascinating site highlights the hardships our ancestors faced by examining the lurid. Through these stories of tragedy and misfortune, we learn a lot about the reality of life on the plains. Sometimes sad, other times humorous, you’ll get lost in Derek Dahlsad’s Dakota Death Trip for hours.
Facebook | Website

Fargo Underground: An underground chronicle of the happenings and events in North Dakota’s largest city via a super-clean, easy-to-navigate website, constantly updated with photos and videos. If you want to know what’s happening in Fargo, this is a good place to start.
Facebook | Website

Bismarck Cafe: Also known as BisMan Cafe and Bismarck Pride, this site features the latest news and happenings from the Bismarck/Mandan metro, plus historical data and photos from our state capital.
Facebook | Website

Photo by Terry Hinnenkamp

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

Ghosts of North Dakota is Vanishing

Ghosts of North Dakota is Vanishing

If you’re one of the 114-thousand people who follow Ghosts of North Dakota on Facebook, you may have noticed that you’re not seeing us in your news feed much any more. There’s a reason for that, and it is prompting changes we’d like you to know about.

Over the last two years, Facebook has implemented a new algorithm that “squelches” posts from Facebook Pages (not personal profiles) so that most followers don’t see them. The effect has been dramatic on “organic reach.” Our posts used to regularly get 500 shares or more, but now we’re lucky if we break 100. Our posts used to reach 25 to 50 percent of our followers at any given time. Now, we reach one to two percent.

It’s important to note, this “squelching” of our organic reach affects more than just GND. We have seen dramatic impacts on posts that were meant to promote others’ endeavors. We once plugged another Facebook page about ghost towns and abandoned places, similar to ours, and their fan count multiplied ten-fold in three days. They went from 300 to 3,000 fans. Just recently, we tried to plug another gentleman’s website, a blog where he has posted hundreds of fascinating stories about North Dakota, and Facebook’s algorithm made sure that only a thousand people saw it, and he only got 75 new likes out of the plug, which is a shame, because his website is awesome, and we’re sure you would enjoy it.

Why would Facebook do this? Because they want us to pay to reach you. We’re not really comfortable with extortion, so changes are coming.

Here’s what you can do to stay connected to Ghosts of North Dakota.

  • Subscribe to Ghosts of North Dakota email updates. We’ll email you when we update the website with more abandoned places. Subscribe.
  • Follow us on Twitter. When we go on photo shoots in the future, our live updates from the road will be posted on Twitter, not Facebook. So if you want to follow along live, you’ll have to follow us on Twitter.
  • Check the Ghosts of North Dakota Facebook page. Although Facebook is preventing our messages from reaching your newsfeed, you’ll always see our most recent posts by just checking our page every day.
  • Share, comment, and like. Facebook’s new algorithm is sensitive to posts you interact with. In other words, if you don’t share it, comment on it, or like it, Facebook assumes you don’t want to see it.

Update: Several people have asked us to point this out. If you want to make sure you always see our posts on Facebook, visit our Facebook page from a computer, and under the button that says “Liked” select “Get Notifications” and/or “See First,” as indicated by the red arrows in the photo.

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

Order Churches of the High Plains

Order Churches of the High Plains

Churches of the High Plains is a 120 page, hardcover, coffee table book featuring photos of churches, both active and abandoned, across the High Plains of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Manitoba. Churches of the High Plains is part travelogue, part photo essay, and all history appreciation, and includes comments from the photographers, historical tidbits, stories from current and former church members and staff, and a lot more. A wide variety of faiths are represented in this volume, including Catholic, Lutheran, Congregational, Methodist, Seventh Day Adventist, Greek and Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, and more.

See the photo index.

See a preview

$34.95 in-stock Order below. Or get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



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

Free Shipping on Orders $99 or More

Free Shipping on Orders $99 or More

Ghosts of North Dakota now offers free standard shipping on orders of $99 or more from our online store — hardcover coffee table books, retro tin signs, premium coffee, gift sets, postcards and more!

free-shipping

(Priority and international shipping not included. Merchandise total must be $99 or more, not including tax.)

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

Video: Memorial Weekend Trip 2013

Video: Memorial Weekend Trip 2013

After getting suggestions from several people that we start doing videos again, we decided to ease back into it and we did just a little bit of video on our trip over Memorial Weekend.  We stopped doing videos some years ago, mainly because there are only two of us, and when we go on a trip, we’re usually busy enough taking photos.  Video has never been our forte’ but we understand it provides a little glimpse inside our trips, so we’re happy to oblige.  We’ll probably do more in the future.  Enjoy.

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

The Bucyrus Fire Relief Effort

The Bucyrus Fire Relief Effort

Bucyrus, North Dakota was decimated by a wind-driven wildfire on October 17th, 2012.  Nearly all of Bucyrus was lost in the fire.  Thankfully, two dozen residents of Bucyrus were evacuated before the fire and there were no injuries.  However, Bucyrus’ residents have lost their homes and possessions.

We spoke with Adams county emergency management and they provided us with the following relief information.  Please do what you can to help these families in their recovery effort.

Monetary donations can be sent to:

Bucyrus North Dakota Disaster Relief Fund
c/o Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union
PO Box 1020
Hettinger, ND  58639

To offer other kinds of assistance, please check with:

Bismarck Red Cross
4007 State Street
Bismarck, ND 58503
(701) 223-6700

Adams County Emergency Management:

701-567-4598

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